Romans 8, one of the best-loved chapters in the whole of Scripture…
The phrase Paul uses in verse 1 is much stronger than simply saying we are not condemned; it is that there is no condemnation at all—no possibility of it. Not only are we not condemned, we can never and will never be condemned.
In chapter 7, Paul showed us that Christians still wrestle with remaining, indwelling sin—“what I hate I do” (7 v 15). Yet at the same time, Christians now experience a real disgust over sin—“what I hate I do.”
But there is more to say. Although they sin, for those who are “in Christ Jesus” there “is now no condemnation”—first, not because of their own obedience (chapter 7 has shown that no Christian obeys as they should), but because of the work of God’s Son and God’s Spirit (8 v 2). And second, because the Spirit now works to do what we cannot—overcome sin. The work of the Spirit is what chapter 8 is about.
In his Son, God has defeated the legal penalty of sin—death. But this is not all: through his Son’s work, God now sends the Spirit to his people, to wipe out sin in our lives. “The righteous requirement of the law” can now “be fully met in us” (v 4). How can this be? Because we “do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.”
Verse 4 is telling us that everything Christ did for us—his incarnation, life, death and resurrection—was “in order that” we would live a holy life. Jesus’ whole purpose was to make us holy, and able to live holy lives.
This is the greatest possible motive for living a holy life. Whenever we sin, we are endeavoring to frustrate the aim and purpose of the entire ministry of Christ Jesus. If this doesn’t work as an incentive for living a holy life, nothing will.