1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus,
There was no one who knew the Old Testament law better than the first century Jews. Their customs encapsulated it, their days embodied it, and their religion embraced it. They lived by it, judged by it, and as much as their earthly authority allowed, condemned by it. For the Jews, the law gave them a sense of identity and security.
In and of itself, there were no problems with the law, except for one: nobody could keep it. As a result, the reigning issue was that the law wouldn’t—couldn’t— give them what they needed most: a right-standing relationship with a holy God. Instead, it only made their sin even more apparent. Despite this unending knowledge of their sin, the Jews only responded by doing what the law required—leaving little room for a true heart transformation.
Now that we have the whole of scripture at hand, it’s easy to balk at the notion that we would have been like the Jews. Yet while our identity and security may not hinge on the law of Moses, we do hold ourselves to our own microcosm of a law, standards we allow to project condemnation both on ourselves and on others.
This is often seen in our expectations. We are quick to label ourselves as inept, or another person as inconsiderate, when things don’t go our way. This became glaringly obvious with the onset of the events of 2020. The abrupt ending of, well, everything, created a startling displacement of our expectations. We thought we would be going on that vacation, our kids would be going to that camp, and our extra bonus would be going into that separate bank account.
Our expectations immediately became something we couldn’t live up to, and condemnation set in. If we didn’t feel like a failure, we felt like someone else was failing us. We like having our plans. But even more, we like when our plans cater to our personal kingdoms, where we write our own law. But only when our law is overpowered do we see the true state of our own hearts.
This unveiling happened to the Jews when Christ called them on their self-exaltation, and it happens to us when He draws us away from ours. To be in Christ is to give up allegiance to ourselves, our desires, and yes, the self-imposed “laws” to which we cling. In Him there is no condemnation, earthly or eternally. In Him we live and move and have our being. In Him we have peace with God, and therefore, we have peace.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Is it difficult for you to be at peace? If so, why?
- What are some ways you face self-condemnation when you don’t live up to your own expectations?
- How can you separate yourself from your expectations in order to maintain peace about where the Lord has you right now?
Pray for local partner ministry Youth Encouragement Services. This ministry serves two specific neighborhoods in Nashville with after school tutoring, games, a devotional, skills training, a hot meal, and help with navigating life issues. YES is a safe and encouraging place for students over years—often the YES staff helps students apply for college and beyond. Pray for the gospel to be shared and lived out daily at Youth Encouragement Services.