“So then, because of them, he handed Him over to be crucified. Therefore they took Jesus away.” (John 19:16) Jesus was condemned to die.
We speak properly of the truth that Jesus died for us. Jesus said about sinful people, “The son of man has come to seek and to save that which is lost.” (Luke 19:10) Christ dying in our place, as our substitute, is a key belief and teaching we hold.
It is important for us to know that Jesus also stood condemned in our place. As Christ stood before Pilate and the Jewish religious leaders and was condemned to death. We also, in our natural state, as sinners, stand before God condemned to die an eternal death.
If we stopped at that truth then we are hopeless. It is imperative that we understand that Jesus took our place. Yes, He took our place on the cross and He took our place in His trials. Indeed, He took our place in His condemnation. The Bible teaches us that the full results of sin are condemnation and destruction. “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23). Christ was both condemned and His life destroyed, meaning He died and absorbed the wrath of God because of sin.
In my natural state as a sinner, I stand before the heavenly court guilty, and left to myself condemned. I have no plea of my own merit before the holy God. It is foolish to think I would be able to argue with God over my sinful state. Before the pure God I would not be able to even utter a single word of plea.
Here is where I need to see Christ standing in my place. I need to see the glory of God in condemning Christ on behalf of sinners. I think of this personally. His trial was my trial. His sentence was my sentence. His condemnation was my condemnation… by the way, yours as well.
Romans 8:3 says, “What the law could not do since it was limited by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son in flesh like ours under sin’s domain, and as a sin offering,” Jesus Christ standing condemned is the picture of sin’s dominion over the sinner, sin’s crushing blow. You will note the Scripture is saying that God condemned His own son, God made Jesus a sin offering.
Why? For the sinner to be set free from condemnation. The one who recognizes their futile efforts to appease God by their works, repents of their sin, and cast their hope only in Christ to make them right with God; God has released that person from the devastating sentence of sin, the condemnation of sin, the eternal sentence of sin. The soul that trusts Christ is no longer to face separation from God nor face the condemnation of hell. The believer in Christ will never know this wrath, for Christ stood in their place.
This is why Paul begins Romans 8 with these comforting words. “Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, 2 because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” (Romans 8:1-2) How glorious this is, Christ was condemned so we would not have to be or live in the thought that we are hopelessly lost in our sin.
If you have not believed on Christ to take your condemnation then do so. Repent of the thought that you are good enough to plead your soul to God. Cast yourself on His grace and mercy. Trust in Christ. Now tell someone you know that is a Christian and will help you in the next steps of being a follower of Christ.
For those who are believers, rejoice in this truth, Christ was condemned for you. Thank Him for standing in your place and dying in your place. Of course, the resurrection affirms our faith in not in vain. The resurrection seals the truth that, “there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” Rejoice and find yourself in a place of worship this Sunday to thank Him with others.