The Holy Spirit in you is greater than Jesus beside you. When we talk about living the Christian life we commonly call that “living in the Spirit.” What does it mean to live in the Spirit? There are several key steps to really living in the Spirit. The first step is critical because it is . . . Know your position.
Where you start is critical to begin the process to where you are going. If you don’t start from the proper position or starting point your whole journey will be off or at best delayed. To truly live in the Spirit you must first know your position. Paul says in Romans 8, “1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2). Your position when you are in Christ is summarized in two words . . . no condemnation. To be “not condemned” is a legal term.
It means, “to be free from any debt or penalty.” Nobody has any charges against you. This is huge because it means God has nothing against you! He looks at you and finds no fault and nothing to punish you for. Before you get too excited, it gets even better than that. Sometimes we read this as having no condemnation for the moment. Almost like being in and out of court having to constantly defend yourself.
The phrase Paul uses doesn’t simply mean that Christians are just “not condemned” but is much stronger. He says that for Christians there is no condemnation at all. It’s not that we have moved out from under it for a while and it could return. The word Paul uses means it doesn’t exist anymore! So many times we want to limit the meaning of “no condemnation” to our past and present. But Paul is saying that for the believer condemnation does not exist at all even into the future. Past, present and future there is no condemnation for the Christian!
It is critical that we always remember that fact . . . If you are a Christian there is no condemnation for you past, present or future! But what if you do forget that, 1 there is now no condemnation (Romans 8:1). First thing that happens if you forget is to feel far more guilt, unworthiness and pain than you should. You feel the need to “prove yourself”. As a result you become overly sensitive, defensive, no confidence in relationships, addictive behaviors take over, and you lack confidence and joy in your prayer and worship.
The second thing that happens if you forget is less motivation to live a holy life. When you don’t understand the permanence of “no condemnation” your motivation to live for God comes from the totally wrong source. Instead of being motivated to love God from the proper and much more powerful source of love and gratitude you are only motivated by fear and duty. When you live in love and gratitude you experience freedom. But when you live in fear it puts you in a position of bondage.