As we step into the lectionary readings in the Letter to the Romans for this season, we find that we need to do some background study in order to more fully understand the current lesson.
There is a correlation between Chapter 5:1 and Chapter 8:1 that needs to be brought out. Chapter 5 begins with 'Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.' In the beginning of Chapter 8, Paul writes, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
Chapter 8 "divides itself naturally into three sections. The first depicts the varied ministry of God's Spirit in liberating, indwelling, sanctifying, leading, witnessing to and finally resurrecting the children of God (1-17). The second treats the future glory of God's children, portrayed as a final freedom in which the whole creation will share (18-27). And thirdly Paul emphasizes the steadfastness of God's love, as he works in all things for the good of those who love him and promises that nothing will ever be allowed to separate us from his love (28-39). The apostle's perspective stretches our mind, as he ranges from eternity to eternity. He begins with 'no condemnation' (1) and ends with 'no separation' (39), in both cases for those who are 'in Christ Jesus'."
Stott, John. The Message of Romans: God's Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series) (pp. 216-217). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION
What does this mean for us?
What is it to be in Christ Jesus?
No longer having condemnation hanging over us sounds great. But don't I deserve condemnation because of my unholy thoughts and deeds?
Don't we all carry a load of guilt and regularly berate ourselves because we believe we deserve condemnation?