Updated: Jan 2
By Luke Lancaster
Rom. 8:1 says, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
Some Protestants will say that this statement applies to whether we sin or do not sin, that whatever sin we do, we do not receive any condemnation. However, that really isn’t what Paul is getting at. Paul has described in Rom. 7 the experience of man trying to follow the Mosaic Law, and how the mind wants to follow God and His ways, but the body keeps lusting, coveting, etc. The body keeps sinning and causing condemnation from the Law. How does somebody get out from under the Law?
The answer is Jesus. He frees us from the body by offering Himself as a sacrifice for all sins (Rom. 8:3), and when that is applied to us at baptism (Rom. 6:3-4), we are no longer condemned. Christ’s Spirit comes to live in us (Rom. 8:4), so that it is possible to “fulfill what the law requires” (see Marshall). The Spirit empowers us with Christ’s love to follow the “law of the Spirit of life” (Rom. 8:2). So, instead of being under the Mosaic Law and it’s condemnation, we are freed from it and become under a new Law, the Law of “Spirit of life”. That Law does not condemn us, for we become enlivened by the Spirit and obey Christ.
However, even after entering into this status of “no condemnation” (Rom. 8:1), Christians still have “some kind of freedom to decide which master they will follow; the Spirit sets them free to live by the Spirit, but they must make the decision to submit to the Spirit” (see Marshall). For if we consciously follow the ways of sin, Paul makes the status of “no condemnation” conditional: “if you live according to the flesh you will [spiritually] die” (Rom. 8:13). So, as Christians, we cannot say that the possibility of losing our salvation is out of the question, but rather, that condemnation is still possible, we just need to continually submit to the Spirit to ensure that it does not occur.