The Bible is very clear in its declaration that individuals who are not “in Christ” are lost and under condemnation. If you are not “in Christ Jesus” you have not escaped the condemnation and the wrath of God.
The apostle John wrote, “He who believes in Him [Jesus] is not judged” (John 3:18a). Paul wrote “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). John goes on to say, “he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (v. 18b). The person who does not believe is already condemned and that condemnation of unbelievers is now in the present time.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life” (John 5:24). “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36).
The sole basis of this justification and declaration of “no condemnation” is the assurance found in the words “in Christ Jesus.” We were all condemned in Adam, but in the second Adam there is no condemnation.
Christians do sin and fail to bring glory to God, and we do suffer the natural consequences of our sins. However, we do not suffer condemnation because Christ was condemned in our stead.
The legalist tries desperately to please God by obeying the law in his own strength, however it is impossible. On the other hand, the Christian who is under the control of the Holy Spirit experiences the sanctifying work of the Spirit in his daily life.
By an act of simple dependence upon Jesus Christ the believer realizes his position in Christ. “By nature I am in myself, and in sin and I am, therefore, condemned; but when the grace of God awakens me up to know my ruined state, then I fly to Christ. I trust alone in His blood and righteousness, and He becomes to me the cleft of the rock, whereas I hide myself from the storm of vengeance justly due to me for my many offences. The Lord Jesus is typified by the city of refuge,” writes C. H. Spurgeon.
Is your righteousness one which you have worked out yourself, or is the righteousness of Christ imputed to you? Do you look for salvation by self, or for salvation by Christ? “If you can truly say, ‘I hide in Christ,’ then this text warbles sweeter music than ever fell from angel’s lips.” “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Spurgeon added, “Inasmuch as you have believed in Him, you are in Him.”
The promise holds true because the believer is “in Him who can never be condemned. . . If you are in Christ, there is for that very reason no condemnation to you.”
Christ fulfilled the law for you, and since you believed on Him you are justified in Him. “By Christ’s righteous life and substitutionary death, justification has come upon all who are in Him.”
“We are accepted in the beloved,” says the apostle Paul. “By the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”
“Will the Lord condemn those whom He has made righteous?” Will He condemn those for whom He has covered with His own perfect righteousness?”
God has placed the believer in a living vital union in Christ. We have been made one with Christ through a living relationship.
Since we died in Christ and rose with Him, how then shall we be put to death again for the sin for which we have already died in Him? We who are in Christ are justified because Christ is justified by His rising from the dead, and by His taking the position of honor and glory at the right hand of God. “He is our representative and we are one with Him, and what He is that we are. Our union is inseparable, and therefore our condemnation is impossible.”