I am only going to touch on this today and save most of it for the next two weeks. Two simple points:
First, not everyone can say, "There is now no condemnation over my life." Only those "who are in Christ Jesus." Some are in him and some are not. Paul assumes this everywhere in his writings. There are those "in Christ" and there are those "outside." Paul is not a universalist. He says explicitly in Romans 9:3, with grief, that there are those who are "accursed, separated from Christ." The opposite of the precious phrase "in Christ" (en kristõ) is the terrible phrased "[separated] from Christ" (apo tou Kristou) Where are you? In Christ? Or separated from Christ?
The second point is this: only by being in Christ does Christ's condemnation become your condemnation. If you want to be able to say now and at the last judgment, "There is no condemnation for me, because Jesus endured it for me," then you must be "in Jesus." If you are in him, what happened to him, happened to you. If you are "separated from him," you have no warrant for saying that what happened to him happened to you.
If you say, "Ah, but he died for the whole world. He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world." Yes, indeed. And what that means is that there is infinite room in Jesus. Christ is not a small hotel. There is room for everyone. And everyone is invited and commanded, "Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden. . . . Let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. . . . The one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out" (Matthew 11:28; Revelation 22:17; John 6:37).
But what if you don't come? What if you don't believe? What if you don't receive the free gift? Jesus tells us in John 3:36, "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." The wrath of God – the condemnation of God is taken away in Christ. Not outside Christ.
So where are you? In Christ? Or outside Christ? Free from condemnation? Or under condemnation? You don't have to stay under condemnation. There is room in Christ. There is always room in Christ. And Christ's word to every sinner is, "Come! Trust me! Enter! I will be your life, your righteousness, your pardon, because I have been your condemnation."[Desiring God Radio, 1/26/07]
Monday, January 29, 2007
He said this in his Podacast on Friday, and it bears deeper consideration: