No Condemnation: What Does It Really Mean?

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No Condemnation: What Does It Really Mean?
No Condemnation: What Does It Really Mean? will help you to grasp hold of Bible truths designed to set you free as a truly forgiven child of God.

No Condemnation: What Does It Really Mean?

You may have read this passage of Scripture before:

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1)

This passage says there is therefore no condemnation against you, if you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, and, if you walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

All right. This sounds a little bit complicated. Let us try and unpack this a little.

A lot of people suffer from feeling condemned for their past mistakes. Let’s say your son got burned on the stove, and it could be traced back to bad parenting. You did not sufficiently warn your son about not touching the stove. Now your son has a big burn, and you are feeling very guilty for that. Because of the burn, your son was traumatized. Because of the burn, your son could not attend some other function, and other things happened. It is a compound effect. You are feeling terrible over this. You wish it had never happened. However, it did. What do you do now?

First, I’m assuming you are a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you are not, then you need to deal with that, first. But let’s say you are. You are a believer, and a follower of Christ. Technically, the first thing to do, if you have not done it already, is to confess your sin to God. The Bible says:

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

This verse has many valuable applications. One of them is for such a time as this when you have done something that you have perceived is your fault. At worst, you willfully acted negligently (I hope not, but just saying). At best, you made an error in judgment, and could have done better. You did not intentionally mean to cause any harm. But it happened. And you realize you could have done better. We are going to call all of this, and any of this, “sin”. Sin simply means you have missed the mark. So whether deliberately, or unintentionally, you missed the mark.

As long as your heart is right (even if it was not before this time), you can go to God, and repent, and tell him you are sorry for your sin. This is true confession. It must be heartfelt, meaning it must be genuine. If this is the case, then 1 John 1:9 (quoted above) applies to you. You can confess your sin to God (by acknowledging to him what you did, without trying to hide it), and then ask him to cleanse you of all unrighteousness.

Don’t be shy. Be specific on the details. Make sure you cover all of the bases, because later on, the devil may come back to try and accuse you, and say you didn’t really confess it. So make sure your confession is complete. You will know it is complete, when you have run out of options to confess for that particular sin. Confess away. Repent, and ask him to forgive you for all of it. Don’t leave out a thing.

Confess Your Faults One To Another

There are times when you may need to confess your faults, or sins, one to another. This can lead to your healing. The Bible says,

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16)

The word for “faults” here is used for “sins” requiring forgiveness (in Ephesians 1:7) and for offense by which death began to reign on the human race (in Romans 5:17). Thus, it applies for serious sins, as well as for any type of fault which you may want to confess.

Whether or not you confess your sin to another person, you should always confess it God. The advantage of confessing it to another person, or a small intimate group where you feel comfortable sharing it with, is that they can offer your prayer support, encouragement, and comfort. Some sins are best handled by being very open about it, with some others.

Remembered No Longer

OK. Now you have done it. Great. By confessing, and repenting of that sin, and asking God to forgive you, because of what Jesus did for you in dying on the cross, you are now 100% forgiven. You may not feel like it, but you are. It’s important to understand that you do not walk by your emotions or your feelings. You walk by faith. Faith is what is pleasing to God. So you must accept the fact that you are forgiven, based on your faith in God’s word. Specifically, you have faith that what he says is true is really true. And that means that 1 John 1:9 (quoted above) is 100% true. You are now completely forgiven. Your sin is washed away, and it is as though it never happened. God blots it out. He remembers it no more. Do you believe that? You should. Because that is what the Bible teaches.

“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake; and I will not remember your sins.” (Isaiah 43:25)

So if God no longer remembers your sins, why do you remember your sins? Is it because you think you did not confess them fully and that God did not hear you the first time you confessed them to him? And that is why I am saying, “Do a good job at confessing them.”

God will indeed forgive you, based on his word in 1 John 1:9. This verse should actually help a lot of people, and eventually will help you, if it has not already done so. It is very important to understand the implications of this verse, because God wants to forgive you, rather than stand over you with an invisible whip, or some type of threat. The idea here is that God wants to forgive you fully. Note, it is important to confess fully, because in the Bible, Jesus talked about the Pharisees who did not acknowledge their sin. We read,

Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth. (John 9:41)

Therein is the problem. If you actually did sin, but you are not willing to confess it as sin, then you are not cleared in God’s sight. The “no condemnation” of Romans 8:1 (quoted at the start) is for those who are willing to confess their sin, not for those who are trying to hide it.

Now there is a belief, among some Christians, that the “no condemnation” of Romans 8:1 applies to all Christians, irrespective of the circumstances. But contextually, that does not fit. Let us find out why. The passage says:

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1)

Notice the condition set forth in that passage which we read in the King James. It is not there in many other translations, but the King James is correct, and it is also repeated in verse 4 in all other translations:

“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1)

In other words, it is certain that this passage is for those who are walking not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

So if it is your mission, and will, to obey God, and you are doing your best to do that, and you have confessed all known sin, and there is nothing that you are trying to hide, and you are not playing the hypocrite, or being deceptive, or are in sin, or any type of rebellion against God, then you should not be afraid. God’s hand is upon you. You do not need to condemn yourself. Neither should you, because Christ has set you free.

However, others, like perhaps your friends, or your enemies, or your relatives, might not be so forgiving. They might remind you ten times of your sins previously committed. You are going to have to “man up” or “woman up” to the task of believing God’s word above the word of men, or women, who may be speaking condemnation into your life, because of past sins committed (whether real or imagined, they believe you committed them, and are condemning you for it). Well, you will need to stand strong and gently but firmly refute their condemnation. In that case, this verse applies to you:

“No weapon that is formed against you will prevail; and you will condemn every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of Yahweh’s servants, and their righteousness is of me,” says Yahweh. (Isaiah 54:17)

Time and time again, you may feel the urge to condemn yourself. Time and time again, you will need to refute that, by declaring that you are not under condemnation, because Jesus Christ has set you free.

When “No Condemnation” Does Not Apply

You cannot expect there to be “no condemnation” if you are not willing to walk after the Spirit and obey God. Let us look at the following passage:

“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” (Galatians 5:24-26)

As a believer, at any time, I have the option to choose to walk after the Spirit or the flesh. Today I might be doing well, and tomorrow I might choose to walk after the flesh. That is my choice. Christianity is not only a one-time decision, it is a way of life that needs to be lived out on a day-by-day basis.

If I come under a spirit of condemnation, I am no longer walking according to the Spirit. I need to repent of that, quickly, and start to walk according to the Spirit. What is it that I need to repent of? A sin which I committed long ago, which I already repented of? No. That was already dealt with. I am not under condemnation for that past sin, which was fully confessed. Then why am I feeling condemned for it in the present? Well, that would be because I am no longer believing the truth about who I am in Christ. I need to repent of my unbelief (which is trapping me) and I need to apply Isaiah 54:17 (quoted previously). Please go re-read that, and apply it.

The Condemnation of Peter

I like the story of Peter. Even though it is a true account of something that he did that was wrong, it helps us to understand that as a Christian who has already been redeemed and forgiven for his past sins, it is possible to stand condemned on account of present, not past, sins.

I did say present. That’s important. I’m not referring to past sins that you already repented of.

“But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.” (Galatians 2:11)

The above is from the King James. Another version (the World English Bible) puts it like this:

“But when Peter came to Antioch, I resisted him to his face, because he stood condemned.” (Galatians 2:11)

In fact, when I checked out about 50 English translations of the Bible1, about half of them used the word “condemned” here. This passage is about a sin of Peter, in which he began to side with the Jews, and pull away from the Gentile believers. He fell into hypocrisy, which is why Paul opposed him and why Peter stood condemned. That’s pretty serious.

Peter was at the point where he was still in his sin, and needed to be confronted. That is why he stood condemned. After all, he was not walking according to the Spirit, but according to the flesh. So this should make sense.

When in Romans 8:1 it says that there is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, it does not mean that we can never fall into condemnation again, but rather that there is no condemnation with reference to past sins committed, that have already been repented of.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

A woman was drinking while pregnant. Because of this, her son was born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, which is a very serious condition. The mother, realizing her wrong, repented of her sin, but her son still has the condition. What should the mother do? Should she emotionally beat herself over the head because of her past sin? She has to live with that sin.

God’s word is clear:

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

That includes all sin.

Since the mother confessed her sin, she is now forgiven. Forevermore, the devil (and others) may want to condemn her, because of what she did (in the past), but she should respond by saying, “I am a blood bought child of God. I am not under condemnation, because I am living for the Lord.” So it is with all of God’s children. We should not condemn ourselves over past sins. Know when to stand up! Do not admit defeat over something that has already been confessed and forgiven by God! That is not a defeat, but a victory!

The Challenge

The challenge now arises every morning when the mother wakes up and looks at her son, and sees some disfigurement in him, because of the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (it is usually very visible on the child). She is reminded about what she did. The devil is also quick to remind her, through condemning thoughts.

“Look at what you did!” the devil says.

How is the mother to respond? Day by day, she receives messages like these. Sometimes, they come from people around her, who sneer at her. Is she to receive all of this condemnation without refuting it? She will be a wreck, controlled by people’s opinions, if she does that.

What is God’s opinion?

“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake; and I will not remember your sins.” (Isaiah 43:25)

So that is God’s opinion. He remembers it no more. Then what of the disfigurement that she can see in her son? This now becomes an opportunity for a miracle!

An Opportunity for a Miracle

In the Bible, we read,

“But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” (See Romans 5:20-21)

In short, sin is an opportunity to see God work a miracle of grace (of course, we do not sin that grace may abound, this is addressed in Romans 6:1-2). The miracle of grace can take many forms. First, by God’s grace, he can completely heal that child who has been disfigured, internally and externally, as a result of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. God can literally do a miracle (by his grace) and wipe that disease away. God is a healer, and he can do it. The mother should, in my estimation, have faith for God’s healing power. We all should. We should not limit God. I’ve seen God perform miracles, and he can heal that child.

Second, the mother should declare her freedom in Christ, every time she sees her son (which will be often). By doing this, she is reminding herself of God’s goodness to her the unmerited favor he has chosen to give to her. She needs to be humble enough to be able to receive it.

Sometimes a lack of humility, or a lack of faith, will prevent us from receiving God’s grace. How can God perform a healing miracle on her son, when she does not have the humility or faith to be able to take God at his word concerning her own forgiveness for sins previously committed? Therefore, she needs to go back to Romans 8:1 frequently, and confess, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

Lighten up, woman. You made a mistake. It’s not too great for God. After all, is this not the same God who created the heavens and the earth, the dry land, and the sea, the sun, the moon, and the stars? Did he not create Adam and Eve from the dust of the earth? Could he not, if he wanted to, do the same today, with your own son? It would take him a second to restore him completely. This is how powerful God is.

There is no sense in condemning yourself. After all, you are only hindering God in performing a healing work for your son, by abiding in unbelief.

All right. I need to repeat that. You are only hindering God in performing a healing work for your son, by abiding in unbelief.

An Urgent Call

So then the call is actually quite urgent to actually take God at his word. When we live our life, we are not to walk in fear, but in faith. It is faith that prepares the way for miracles, not doubt. After all, if you abide in fear and doubt, and God were to perform a miracle on your behalf, would it not mean that your fear and doubt would “take the glory” for the miracle that was performed? Therefore, we need to abide in faith in the Lord. Then, God himself will get the glory when the miracle is performed.

Different Types of Miracles

The miracle, however, may take different forms. In one case, it would be a miracle for God to restore your son completely. And he certainly will in eternity. But if for the time being, which is comparatively short, God chooses to delay, then you can still move forward in faith, and rally people together to pray for your son, and others like him. Why not start a prayer group, praying for women who have given birth to children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome? You can see where this is going. It is going to a very good place, in rallying people together, to pray and seek God’s face.

This is what God has wanted all along. Move in the right direction and see what God will do, and you might be rather surprised. God might not only heal your son (eventually), but he also might bring you into contact with a whole host of other people who need support.

You might be destined for leadership, after all. Perhaps it was not in the way that you had first imagined, but it does not matter. Just follow the Spirit and let him guide you. He will. He wants to. However, what he does not want you to do is to beat yourself over the head for past sins previously committed, which you already repented of. No, he says, “Do not do it.” Do not keep beating yourself over and over again. That’s the devil’s trick, and God says, “You must not do that.”

There are many other examples that could be given, as I am sure you are well aware. You or someone you know might have had an abortion. You confessed it, now move forward. You might have done someone awful, which led to the demise of another person. Maybe you did not even intend it to happen. But it happened. And someone else is now badly affected. How can you move on? In exactly the same way.

Seven Things

Let us now go over seven things you can do right now, to open the door for God to use you mightily, and to bring into that place of perfect rest.

First, you must develop that relationship with God by saying “yes” to entering into a personal relationship with him through Jesus Christ. That will mean you are now “born again” to a living hope. You are now a child of God.

Second, you must confess all known sin to God and ask him to forgive you. This is actually incidental and is not required for salvation. But as soon as you are reminded of a sin, it is time to confess it. I’m not saying you should not do it before that. You may get reminded of your sins rather quickly. Confess them as God allows them to be brought to your mind. But do not allow yourself to come under a spirit of condemnation for past sins already confessed.

In some cases, God may also be asking you to make restitution which would mean pay back what you stole, and give more besides. You might want to read my testimony, “A Cleansed Heart,” to learn more about that.

Third, make sure you are involved with other believers, who can support you, with whom you can meet regularly, for fellowship and prayer. This is extremely important! Many times you will see how God uses these meetings to establish you, steer you, and help you to become that person that he has called you to be. I cannot emphasize this enough. You need to be involved in (at least) a weekly home group. This is so important and so often forgotten.

Fourth, establish a daily prayer habit, as well as Bible-reading habit. People call this “devotionals.” Make it your habit to meet with God preferably in the mornings, before you start your day. The Bible also tells us to meditate on God’s word (the Bible) “day and night” (see Psalm 1). The word of God needs to become part of your life, because God will guide you and lead you through it. And he will use you to teach others.

Fifth, learn what your giftings are. Start reaching out to others. You can have an impact in some way. You can start to reach out to others with God’s love. As a believer, you have been called as an ambassador for Christ, to take this good news to others!

Sixth, watch out for the devil’s traps. One of his traps is temptation which you can avoid by practicing everything I have just stated before this. Second, he is called the accuser of the brethren, and one of the main ways he works as the accuser is to accuse you of past sins, which were already forgiven. Well, if you are not sure, then you had better confess them fully! God is faithful and righteous and will forgive you fully for them. You have been called to walk free in Christ, and it is essential that you do this.

Seventh, be mindful of your doctrine and make sure that what you are believing truly lines up with God’s word.

I have presented you with seven things that you can do. Start doing them today, and watch God move you to the place where he wants you to be. You can live in freedom and experience freedom like never before.



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