Alistair Begg Devotional Gospel Paradox

Gospel Paradox

Gospel Paradox

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Are you ever disappointed with yourself? Maybe it seems that your journey toward holiness is painstakingly slow. Perhaps it seems that an approximation of Newton’s third law somehow applies to your Christian life: for every victory, there is an equal and opposite failure.

You are not alone. Even the great apostle Paul expressed serious disappointment in his ongoing battle with sin: “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24). Reading of the depth of Paul’s frustration, it is worth considering that perhaps we aren’t actually disappointed enough. After all, it’s probably not typical Bible-study behavior in your church to cry out in lament over your own wickedness!

Yet even in his state of despair Paul knew that sin, however serious, would not—could not—have the final say. In the very next verse, hope breaks in: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25). Then, after the next sentence restates the problem, we ascend to one of the highest peaks in all of Scripture: Romans 8, which begins with the glorious promise of today’s header verse.

Why does Paul respond to his failures by saying, “Thanks be to God”? It is because “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” No condemnation, now or forever! Here we have one of the gospel’s most wondrous paradoxes: I am weak, failing, and guilty; but at the same time, in Christ, I am safe, secure, and loved.

How can this be? To answer, we can look back to another great “therefore” in the book of Romans: “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). We don’t deserve such grace. God could rightfully let us drown in our wretchedness. Instead, through Jesus, He grants us peace and gives us hope. We are justified; Jesus has taken our condemnation so that now, when His Father looks at us, He sees Jesus and all His perfection.

You and I are sinful—yes, dreadfully so, and we remain so. But we are also supremely loved, completely forgiven, and never in any danger of condemnation. Do not suppress or ignore your disappointment at your ongoing flaws and failings. Let it drive you back to Jesus, in gratitude and relief. The more aware we are of our sin, the more wonderful we will realize is the truth that there is not, and never will be, any ounce of divine condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Questions for Thought

How is God calling me to think differently?

How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?

What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?

Further Reading

Bless the Lord, O My Soul

Of David.

1Bless the Lord, O my soul,

and all that is within me,

bless his holy name!

2Bless the Lord, O my soul,

and forget not all his benefits,

3who forgives all your iniquity,

who heals all your diseases,

4who redeems your life from the pit,

who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

5who satisfies you with good

so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

6The Lord works righteousness

and justice for all who are oppressed.

7He made known his ways to Moses,

his acts to the people of Israel.

8The Lord is merciful and gracious,

slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

9He will not always chide,

nor will he keep his anger forever.

10He does not deal with us according to our sins,

nor repay us according to our iniquities.

11For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;

12as far as the east is from the west,

so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

13As a father shows compassion to his children,

so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.

14For he knows our frame;1

he remembers that we are dust.

15As for man, his days are like grass;

he flourishes like a flower of the field;

16for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,

and its place knows it no more.

17But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,

and his righteousness to children's children,

18to those who keep his covenant

and remember to do his commandments.

19The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,

and his kingdom rules over all.

20Bless the Lord, O you his angels,

you mighty ones who do his word,

obeying the voice of his word!

21Bless the Lord, all his hosts,

his ministers, who do his will!

22Bless the Lord, all his works,

in all places of his dominion.

Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Open in Bible
1 103:14 Or knows how we are formed

Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotionals by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company, Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, 2022, The Good Book Company.

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