No Condemnation

Nov 03, 2016
Charles Hodge

We read in Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
Condemnation is not the opposite either of pardon or of reformation. To condemn is to pronounce guilty or worthy of punishment.
To justify is to declare not guilty, or that justice does not demand punishment, or that the person concerned cannot justly be condemned.
When, therefore, the Apostle says in Romans 8:1, “There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,” he declares that they are absolved from guilt; that the penalty of the law cannot justly be inflicted upon them.
“Who,” he asks, “shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? God who justifies? Who is he that condemns? Christ who died?” (Romans 8:33 and 34).
Against the elect in Christ, no ground of condemnation can be presented. God pronounces them just, and therefore no one can pronounce them guilty.
This passage is certainly decisive against the doctrine of subjective justification in any form.
This opposition between condemnation and justification is familiar both in Scripture and in common life. Job 9:20: “If I justify myself, my own mouth shall condemn me.” And Job 34:17 says “And will you condemn him that is most just?”
If to condemn does not mean to make wicked, to justify does not mean to make good. And if condemnation is a judicial as opposed to an executive act, so is justification.
In condemnation it is a judge who pronounces or who declares the person arraigned free from guilt and entitled to be treated as righteous.

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