NOW Is the Time
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” – Romans 8:1
Last week, I had the wonderful experience of meeting with two other churches in town for a Saturday morning leadership conference. Six different speakers – three pastors and three laypersons – spoke for fifteen minutes each on different aspects of the word “Harmony.” I’m sure you’re impressed by the fact that pastors and members from three different churches in the same town actually get along well enough to fellowship on a Saturday, and you should be. However, the real miracle is not that three churches got together, but the fact that not one speaker went beyond their fifteen minute time limit and spoke for twenty minutes. And three of those speakers were preachers! I know you think I’m making that part up, but I was there and it’s true, my hand on a Bible so help me God.
Still, after three hours of fellowship, questions, comments and lots of laughter, this one Scripture from Romans stands out in my mind. Like you, I’ve heard this verse hundreds of times, reminding me that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” However, the part that really struck me was the word “now.”
You see, I’m all ready to stand before God after I’ve died and, knowing that Jesus has washed away my sins, enjoy eternity in His presence. My faith assures me this will be the case.
But what about now? NOW there is no condemnation, Paul says. NOW I stand before Him clean. That’s hard to wrap my brain around.
But in case I think the NOW in Romans 8:1 is a fluke, I read in Colossians 1:22, “But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—if you continue in your faith.” Did you see that word “now” again? It seems God is trying to tell us that today, now, at this very moment and in this present time, even as I’m watching the words appear on my computer screen, I’m am reconciled with Christ, I’m without blemish, free from accusation and there is no condemnation in my life.
And if you have faith in Jesus, the same goes for you.
If this is true, why do I spend so much time condemning myself, putting myself down and telling myself I’m a sinner, a worm, a failure in God’s sight, convinced if He really knew the type of person I am He’d lock the door to heaven and not let me in? I see so many mistakes and ways I fall short when I compare myself with God’s holiness, I can’t help but hang my head low.
But that is my estimation of myself (or the devil’s, if you prefer), not God’s. Donald Grey Barnhouse said, “It is impossible for God Himself to find a flaw in the righteous position of any believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.” God sees Jim, a sinner for sure, but a sinner salvaged and set apart by the grace and work of Christ Jesus. He sees me through the death and resurrection of Jesus, and seeing me in that light, I am not condemned, but now, at this very moment in time, stand without blemish and without accusation at the very throne of God.
So here’s my plan. From this point forward, I’m going to practice my NOW position. Now I’m not condemned; now I’m without blemish; now I stand in front of God clean and righteous, with no fear He’s going to find out I’m coming to His house and change the locks. NOW this is the Jim God is pleased with and loves to death. NOW, I think that is something I can get used to.
I’ve been trying to get this message across to my fellow believers several years, but it seems to fall on deaf ears. We hear so much that we are sinners, which is true, but we are forgiven. We have the propensity to sin which is not the same as being an ignorant, habitual sinner. We are NOW holy, righteous, and free. In a sense we are perfect in Christ, though we will not fully realize our perfection until we are finally home.
I’m with you Jim:
Oh, your article deserves an AMEN!