Only Christ

Jon Brown

READ : Romans 8:31-35

Who is to condemn? (v. 34)

One of the great challenges of the Christian faith is to affirm the reality of a judgment while keeping ourselves from the temptation of trying to judge. Paul reminds us early in the book of Romans, “He will judge everyone according to what they have done” (Rom. 2:6 NLT). Christ also urges us to avoid judging others: “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matt. 7:1). Some of us hear Paul’s word about the certainty of judgment and begin to tremble. Others hear Jesus’ words as a sort of permission to do whatever they want or as if they canceled out any objective moral standards. Paul rises above either terror or permission-giving when he asks rhetorically, “Who is to condemn?” (v. 34). He at one and the same time removes from us the burden of judgment and reminds us that there is a Judge.

Paul asks “Who is to condemn?” rhetorically, because we know the answer—“Jesus.” And Jesus died for us, Jesus rose for us, Jesus intercedes for us before the Father. The one who is our Judge is also the one who justifies through faith. The one who is our Judge prays for us. Only God has the authority to judge, which both frees me from the need to judge others and keeps me from floundering in a free-for-all life, as if anything goes. Only Christ can condemn, and he forgives all who sincerely trust in him.

PRAYER

Christ Jesus, you alone are the judge, and you love us. Thank you! Amen.