In Christ Jesus
Bible Reading: Romans 8
Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
1 Corinthians 1:30, “But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus (NASB).”
As is made clear in 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9, not all will escape condemnation. Those who “do not know God” and “do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus”…”will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.”
It is therefore necessary that we exercise great care that we might clearly understand how a person enters this blessed condition, whereby they can fear no condemnation. As we see in our text, that condition applies only to those who are “in Christ Jesus.” What is meant by this phrase?
Before we look for that explanation, let’s first consider what our passage does not say. It does not say that there is therefore now no condemnation for those who have said the sinner’s prayer, or have walked the aisle, or are a good person, or are religious, or who have been raised in a Christian family, or go to church regularly, or read their Bibles and pray, or have been baptized, or confirmed, or have been given their last rites, or any other such thing. Some of these things are good things that every good Christian should do and some of these things might very well accompany a person’s conversion experience, but by themselves they don’t serve as a legitimate basis for assurance of salvation.
John 1:12-13 provides one of the best explanations of how a person is saved (and not saved). Note what it says: “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” How does a person become a child of God? Not by any human means (1 Corinthians 1:30)! You cannot be physically born into it or inherit it from someone else (“not of blood”). You cannot work to earn it (“nor of the will of flesh”). You cannot even decide it yourself (“nor of the will of man”). God is the One who gives a person the right to become a child of God, and He does so on His terms. What are His terms? “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” Those who are born again to become children of God are those who have received Jesus by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).
The one trusting in Jesus is “baptized into Christ Jesus” (i.e., intimately united with Him) and with Him in His death and resurrection (Romans 6:1-4). That person is said to be a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17), in whom Christ lives (Galatians 2:20)! So, to enjoy the benefits of what Christ has accomplished on the cross, a person must be brought into a personal relationship with Christ. It is our union with Him that makes all the difference. Just as Noah and family had to enter the ark to escape the flood, so a person must enter into a relationship with Christ if they are to escape condemnation. That happens only by grace through faith in Christ and His finished work on the cross!
Just as Noah and family had to enter the ark to escape the flood, so a person must enter into a relationship with Christ if they are to escape condemnation.
Matthew Henry has commented on this: “It is the unspeakable privilege and comfort of all those that are in Christ Jesus that there is therefore now no condemnation to them. He does not say, “There is no accusation against them,’’ for this there is, but the accusation is thrown out, and the indictment quashed. He does not say, “There is nothing in them that deserves condemnation,’’ for this there is, and they see it, and own it, and mourn over it, and condemn themselves for it; but it shall not be their ruin. He does not say, “There is no cross, no affliction to them or no displeasure in the affliction,’’ for this there may be, but no condemnation. They may be chastened of the Lord, but not condemned with the world. Now this arises from their being in Christ Jesus; by virtue of their union with Him through faith, they are thus secured.”
NOW I BELONG TO JESUS
Jesus my Lord will love me forever,
From Him no pow’r of evil can sever,
He gave His life to ransom by soul,
Now I belong to Him.
Now I belong to Jesus,
Jesus belongs to me,
Not for the years of time alone,
But for eternity.
Once I was lost in sin’s degradation,
Jesus came down to bring me salvation,
Lifted me up from sorrow and shame,
Now I belong to Him [Chorus]
Joy floods my soul for Jesus has saved me,
Freed me from sin that long had enslaved me
His precious blood, He came to redeem,
Now I belong to Him. [Chorus]