Crime and Punishment

Verlyn Verbrugge

READ : Romans 8:1-4

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (v. 1, NIV)

Ever heard this maxim: “You do the crime, you do the time”? Of course you have; it is part of the foundation of any law-abiding society. Criminals must be punished, and the punishment must fit the crime.

You will never hear a judge say to Tom: “Tom, you are guilty as charged. But I’ve decided to sentence your friend Bob to three years in prison instead, so you’re free to go.”

What an amazing passage of Scripture we have here! Its message, summing up all of Romans to this point, is this: we have sinned, Christ has paid, we are free. Paul states that for those who are in Christ Jesus, there is no condemnation, because God sent Christ “to deal with sin” for us. Instead of condemning us, God has condemned sin! (v. 3). We are now set free from the law of sin and its drastic result, death.

But how can God be considered fair if our crime has no consequences? Because he did punish sin—in the “sin offering” that the perfect Jesus offered on the cross. In Christ, God now considers us as having actually met “the righteous requirements of the law.” What an amazing process! What an amazing God!


God, thank you so much for condemning my sin in the human flesh of your perfect Son, Jesus. Amen.