What is Condemnation? To understand the biblical meaning of the word condemnation, we first need to recognize society’s context of the rule of law and the nature of justice. For example, when someone is accused of a crime, a legal process begins to determine what law, if any, has been broken. When finished, a verdict of either innocent or guilty is handed down by the court. If the individual is declared guilty, that person is legally condemned and usually subject to some sort of punishment; if that person is declared innocent, that person is set free and no punishment as set forth. The results, in theory at least in a perfect world, is that justice is served in the rule of law is upheld.
The word condemnation is transcendent in both cultural and spiritual matters. When people have been negatively suppressed by their peers or community, regardless of whether or not this suppression is justified or not is not the issue (1 Corinthians 5:4 – 5; Luke 4:28). Instead, it’s the time when those people are convicted by their conscience of an inappropriate attitudes, thoughts, or actions, the Bible defines this as spiritual condemnation (Romans 2:14).
As creator, lawgiver, Savior, and Sovereign Master overall God is the merciful judge of all humanity. His divine judgment is necessary because of the sin that originated with Adam and Eve against God (Genesis 3). This sin against God has lead to a spiritual alienation or a relational breakdown, which then logically followed suit with a spiritual death for all humanity. This sin or relational breakdown is known as our Adamic nature. In other words, it's our nature that we inherited from our first parents Adam and Eve. Even though rebellion through our Adamic nature has continued for generations in human history, God with His great love and mercy has instituted His plan of redemption through His son Jesus Christ (Romans 5:12 – 21). His heart is not to condemn but to graciously call His elect out of their Adamic nature.
God took it upon himself to accomplish this purpose through condemning sin in His sinless son, Jesus Christ. Through the legal transaction the Father has justified those who have trusted in His son Jesus Christ, freeing them from condemnation (Romans 3:25; 2 Corinthians 5:21). This justification and the legal transaction of our sin on to Jesus Christ and our purification by His blood, or atonement is the good news of the gospel. However, for those who refuse to repent and are not called of God to accept His gracious gift of eternal life in Christ are already condemned and face eternal punishment at the last judgment (John 3:16 – 18; Revelation 20:11 – 14).
As the elect in Christ, we have been freed from spiritual condemnation by the grace of God. As we have been given this blessing, we are called to live in a manner that reflects our spiritual freedom (Galatians 5:14). Living in such a manner can include the following examples:
- We should be motivated to give our lives to the God in worship. We should not be forsaking gathering of believers on a regular basis (Hebrews 10:26 – 27; Romans 12:1 – 2).
- We should be growing in our walk with Christ through self-examination as we grow in faith, hope, and love (1 Corinthians 11 – 13). More specifically, we should be constantly evaluating our character development and relational skills as we become good stewards of our time, talents, and spiritual gifts.
- When we do sin, which we will never stop doing until we are made holy in Christ with Christ in heaven, we need to repent, confess, and seek forgiveness in Christ (James 5:15 – 16).
- As one who is set free from condemnation we should be compelled to pray for and then share the good news with those who have not yet been set free. We should have compassion for the loss and the needy (Matthew 25:31 – 46). This compassion means that we will live to serve others and share Christ with people outside the faith whenever and wherever we can (Acts 20:31).
Being set free of condemnation does not give us a license to do nothing. We should rejoice in our freedom given to us by God through Christ's atoning work in His sacrifice and rest in His victory over death. It is in that sacrifice and freedom we should find our motivation for spreading the good news and freedom to others so they to if called by God can be set free a spiritual condemnation.