What does Romans 8:1 mean?
ESV: There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
NIV: Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
NASB: Therefore there is now no condemnation at all for those who are in Christ Jesus.
CSB: Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus,
NLT: So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
KJV: There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
NKJV: 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.
Verse Commentary:
Romans 8 is one of the most powerful and popular chapters in all the Bible. In it, Paul describes with great detail what it means to live as Christian, both now and for eternity. The chapter begins, as well, with one of the most comforting statements in all the Bible.

The previous chapter ended with Paul crying out in frustration about his wretchedness and asking who would deliver him from his "body of death." He answered by giving thanks "to God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 7:25). Now he states absolutely why the gospel is such good news for all who believe.

The Greek words translated as "there is therefore now no," as in the ESV, are very emphatic. The literal phrasing is Ouden ara nyn katakrima, which accomplishes two things. First, it ties this statement to the claim made in Romans 7:25, according to the word "therefore." Second, it definitively states a permanent, present, and complete lack of "condemnation," from a Greek word meaning "a sentence" or "penalty." In crystal-clear language, the Bible indicates there is absolutely no condemnation for those of us who are in Christ Jesus. None. Zero. Paul's statement leaves no room for even a tiny bit of condemnation to sneak in.

In short, if you are "in Christ Jesus," God will never, ever condemn you for any sin whatsoever. The condition of this statement, however, is crucial: salvation is for those who place their faith in Christ (Romans 3:23–26). There is no other way (Acts 4:12), and those who reject this salvation will not be rescued from condemnation (John 3:18).

How can this be? Paul has already built the case in chapters 3—5 of this letter to the Romans. When we place our faith in Christ, God so closely identifies us with His Son that He gives us credit for Jesus' sinless, righteous life, and He accepts Jesus' death as payment for our death-deserving sin. Paul put it this way in 2 Corinthians 5:21: "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

So if God is judging us on the basis of Jesus' righteousness, how could we ever be condemned? God would never condemn Jesus, so He will never condemn those who are seen by God as being in Christ. And how do we come to be "in Christ"? Only by faith (Romans 5:1, Ephesians 2:8–9).
Verse Context:
Romans 8:1–11 begins with an enormous declaration about the grace of God: There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. After describing how this is possible, thanks to the life and death of Jesus, Paul compares two kinds of life. One is life in the Holy Spirit, for those who are in Christ, the other is a life lived according to the flesh. Those in the flesh, meaning non-Christians, are hostile to God. Christians have the Spirit; those who do not are not Christians. Because the Spirit is in us, we will be resurrected from the dead as Jesus was.
Chapter Summary:
Romans 8 begins and ends with declarations of the Christian's absolute security before God. There is no condemnation for those in Christ, and nothing will ever be able to separate us from His love. Having believed the gospel, we now live in the Spirit of God. That allows us to call God Abba Father. We suffer with Christ, and we suffer along with all creation while we wait for God to reveal us as His sons. With the help of the Spirit, we are confident that God is for us and loves us in Christ.
Chapter Context:
In Romans 7, Paul revealed his frustration of trying to do good only to be thwarted by his sin. He begins Romans 8, though, with the triumphant statement that there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. We live in the Spirit, and we relate to God as a child does to a father. The Spirit helps us in this season of suffering along with all of creation while we wait for our adoption to be complete with the redemption of our bodies. We are confident, though, that God is for us and nothing can separate us from His love.
Book Summary:
The book of Romans is the New Testament's longest, most structured, and most detailed description of Christian theology. Paul lays out the core of the gospel message: salvation by grace alone through faith alone. His intent is to explain the good news of Jesus Christ in accurate and clear terms. As part of this effort, Paul addresses the conflicts between law and grace, between Jews and Gentiles, and between sin and righteousness. As is common in his writing, Paul closes out his letter with a series of practical applications.
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