This devotional first appeared in https://www.islandsadventist.org
Scripture: There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1 (NKJV)
Observation: No condemnation. The good news of the gospel is that Christ came to condemn sin, not sinners (John 3:17; Rom. 8:3). To those who believe and accept the generous provisions of the gospel and who in faith commit themselves to lives of loving obedience, Christ offers justification and freedom. There may yet be deficiencies in the believer’s character, but “when it is in the heart to obey God, when efforts are put forth to this end, Jesus accepts this disposition and effort as man’s best service, and He makes up for the deficiency with His own divine merit” (EGW ST June 16, 1890). For such there is no condemnation (John 3:18). [The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 6. 1980 (F. D. Nichol, Ed.) (559–560). Review and Herald Publishing Association.]
Application: One of the most moving stories from the life of Jesus is found in John 8. It’s worth reviewing it today:
But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” John 8:1-11 (NKJV)
The Jewish law made it clear that both the man and the woman who were caught in the act of committing adultery were to be stoned. In this case, only the woman was brought to Jesus. It’s clear that it was a set up on their part so they could trap Jesus with His own words. Regardless, when they could not, with a clear conscience, stone her, Jesus pronounced those precious words, “Neither do I condemn you.” Since then, those words still bring us comfort and hope. The apostle Paul also echoed the same sentiment with the words of our Scriptural passage for today (Romans 8:1), so that we could live with the assurance that it is not just the woman caught in the act of committing adultery whom Jesus did not condemn but also every one of us, while sinners to the core, but in Jesus forgiven and not condemned.
If Jesus, in His purity, does not condemn us, how can we, fallible humans that we are, pretend to be more righteous than our spouse or children or parents and condemn them when they have failed, or even failed us? May the words that come from our lips be: “Neither do I condemn you.”
A Prayer You May Say: father God, thank You because in Your love You do not condemn us but instead shower Your love to each of us, forgive us, and asks us to share the same forgiveness to those around us. Help us to be more gracious, to condemn less, and love more.
Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.