No Condemnation Now


Elder Mark D. Rowell


“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:1


The Apostle Paul sets forth one of the most foundational positional truths of the Bible on the state of the born-again Child of God with regard to the absence of condemnation. Simply put, there is NOW no condemnation; now and none! Paul builds the foundation of this truth in the 7th chapter, especially in verse 24: “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

Also, Paul will continue this thought of “no condemnation” all the way to the end of the 8th chapter, especially in verse 34: “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ the died, yeah rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”

Paul’s realization that he was a “wretched man” was so powerful, not just in the fact that he was wretched, but more so in the question he asks after the realization of “who shall deliver me?” and in the answer! He immediately responds to that question by going directly to the fact that, for those in Christ, there is NOW no condemnation. Our text is 100% positional (we are placed into this state without any actions of our own), based on the work of Jesus Christ as is brought out in Romans 8:2-4. Furthermore, Paul brings even more clarity to the subject in the following verses: “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” Romans 8:9-10

Notice that Paul says, “and if Christ be in you,” so denoting that he is talking about born-again children of God. We know the scripture is clear regarding our being placed in Christ in covenant from before the world began. (2 Samuel 23:5, Ephesians 1:4-6) We also know that we were in Christ when He died on Calvary, and when He rose again, and when He ascended on high! (Galatians 2:20, Ephesians 4:8) But here we see that because we are in Christ, then Christ is in us in the new birth! And if Christ is in us, we are now (in the here and now) without condemnation! The final, contextual proof that He is in us is in verse 15:“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba, Father”


So, if this text is positional, how does the “walk not after” and the “walk after” mentioned in verses 1 and 4 fit into a positional view of verses 2 and 3 ? Some would say that our text is conditional rather than positional and take the Apostle Paul to mean that to “walk/not after the Spirit” means how we walk - that is, whether this “walk” be in accordance with the flesh or in accordance with the Spirit. However, if we apply the conditional view to verse 1, then we must limit our text to the following view of this verse:

Only those who live in accordance with the Spirit are without condemnation and are in Christ. All others still stand condemned and are NOT in Christ.

The above statement goes against not just Romans 8:1, but so many other scriptures that prove salvation is by grace alone. Now, don’t get me wrong, the Bible explicitly declares that if we have a knowledge of the truth then we should live our lives accordingly; furthermore, scripture indicates elsewhere that our conscience does not condemn us while we walk in obedience to the Lord’s commands. These are indisputable biblical truths! Some verses for reference would be: Romans 1:16-17, 1 Corinthians 15:1-2, Galatians 5:1 and many others.

However, Romans 8:1 aligns along another doctrinal path due to the positional nature of the text itself and also due to the broader context of chapter 8 that Paul establishes there.

So what about the “walk not after and the walk after?” Word definitions might be helpful here:


Walk: to walk at large (especially as proof of ability); figuratively to live - James Strong


    • After: down from, through out - Joseph Thayer, down (in place or time) - James Strong


     There are a couple of things to notice in these definitions: proof of ability and in place or time. With these definitions in mind, we see Paul establishing several things here:



• Those who only walk after the flesh prove for that period of time that they DO NOT HAVE the Spirit of God dwelling in them. They are bound to the flesh because nothing has happened to indicate the presence of the Spirit in their life. They are, therefore, “dead in trespasses and in sins” (Eph. 2:1) which describes their state (position.)


• Those who manifest the presence of the Spirit working in their lives prove for that period of time that they HAVE the Spirit of Christ dwelling in them. They are bound to the Spirit (because the Spirit of Christ dwelling in them binds them by covenant love in the vital sense.) They have been born-again by the Spirit and that is their state (position.)


I heard Elder Sonny Huckaby put it this way one time: “It’s not HOW they walk, it’s THAT they walk.” So the proof of ability TO walk is found in the Spirit itself that dwells in the born-again child of God! While the above definitions applied to the word “walk” help the reader in understanding the text, let us always remember that the Bible interprets AND defines itself.

The “how we walk” goes back to those conditional texts mentioned above with regard to how we should live our lives in this world once we have been enlightened by the truth. In Galatians 5:25, the Apostle Paul affirms that to “live in the Spirit” does not mean the same as to “walk in the Spirit.” You cannot walk spiritually and manifest “the fruit of the Spirit” (verse 22) if you are not in the Spirit. Thus, to be “in the Spirit” denotes position and to “walk in the Spirit” denotes condition, that is, the condition of faithful obedience to the leadership of the Spirit. Paul’s “walk after the Spirit” in Romans 8:1 and 4 aligns with his being in the Spirit in Galatians 5:25. Both point to the position of the born again child of God.

Whether the born again child of God can behave as a child of God ought, primarily depends on regeneration. A regenerate can behave as scripture dictates. An unregenerate cannot be spiritual or act spiritually because he has not the Spirit in him. Even if an unregenerate does what seems to us as benevolent acts, he does them not out of love for God nor from the prompting of the Spirit.

The “that we walk” or “walk in” goes to the fact that, once we are born-again, regardless of our conditional state, our walk is now (at the point in time and afterward) after the Spirit has worked His work IN us at the new birth! By the time Paul gets to verse 34, he testifies that the now indwelling Spirit of Christ renders us un-condemnable by virtue of the work of Christ. He states that God's elect are un-condemnable because Christ died, rose again, sits on God's right hand, and maketh intercession for us. In so doing, there is therefore NOW no condemnation!