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Guilty, but free

May 9, 2018


I enjoy watching mysteries and crime series. Not the really gory ones, but I enjoy trying to figure out who the crook was and what mistake they made to get caught. (Columbo is my favorite!)

What’s really frustrating are the shows where they actually are in a court room and the case gets thrown out due to technicalities. Someone mishandled the evidence. Someone asked the wrong question. Someone didn’t read the prisoner his rights.

The guy is guilty. All the evidence points to that. There’s no question that he’s guilty. And maybe he and his lawyer are even smirking about the technicality that gets him sprung. The prosecution and the audience are frustrated that such a little thing would set a guilty man free.

When God looks at us, nothing escapes His eyes. He knows everything that we’ve done, or even thought about doing. He knows that we are guilty. And He is the judge, so He doesn’t have to convince someone else of our guilt. He sets the punishment – everyone gets a death sentence, because even the smallest offense separates us from a holy God.

But there is an exception. There is a legal and just way to be guilty, but set free.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:1-2ESV

Twice in those two verses Paul wrote, “in Christ Jesus.”

If you are “in Christ Jesus,” you will not be condemned to the death sentence.

If you are “in Christ Jesus,” you are free from the law.

Notice it doesn’t say, “You are not guilty.” The guilt remains. Your sin separates you from God and demands the death penalty, an eternity separated from God. However, Christ Jesus took that penalty upon Himself on the cross. He bore the weight of your guilt.

Being “in Christ Jesus” means that you’ve accepted that payment for your sin. You recognize your guilt before the holy judge, but you can point to Jesus and say, “He took my penalty. He has set me free.”


From → Romans, Uncategorized

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