“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus”
Father Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor)
AVERSE OF JOY, acclamations and acknowledgment for Christ and God’s favor. Those who believe firmly in Christ are considered to have died with Christ on the cross and been buried with Him then resurrected with Him. This means that their old body died, as sin had died in it, while not considered humanly responsible man having been a slave to sin but Christ freed him by dying for him on the cross. Consequently the old body died with its deeds and all its carnal passions. This inevitably imposed the annulment of judgment meant to be for unbelievers.
The Apostle Paul cries out this victory acknowledging God and Christ’s favor that “there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus”. Those who are fellows in the death of Christ and are qualified for redemption at the present, prepared to sacrifice the body the day Christ is revealed so as to appear with Him in glory.1
Those who believe in Christ at the present are fellows in the death and resurrection of Christ, i.e. they have attained complete redemption and their sins are forgiven. For that reason Paul cries out the cheer of victory and glory that “there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ” for whom Christ atoned for their sins by the sacrifice of His cross resurrecting them with Him as a new creation, God pouring on it His eternal righteousness and grace. This makes it impossible for them to undergo condemnation because they have fulfilled it in the body of Christ who was condemned instead of all sinners.
The last part of this joyful and elating verse of redemption from condemnation to those who believe in Christ and have become in Him by faith, is weakened in its meaning by: “who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” mentioned in the Holy Bible’s old Arabic edition of Beirut been added to this verse, an addition that does not exist in the original Greek Bible. It could be interpreted as referring to the works of the Law with the old body. This addition is out of place.∗
1 Cf Col 3:4.
∗ The New Bible translation in which all the Churches participated (1993) mentions this verse correctly without the last part that existed in the old Arabic edition of Beirut (1865) which upsets the meaning of the
first part. The second part was not mentioned in the original authorized Greek edition nor in the old Coptic translation.
2 Cf 1John 3:6.
3 Eph 2:19.
4 Cf Col 3:4.
5 Cf Heb 10:19.
6 Gal 3:13.
Once more we must understand that when Christ was crucified, He was crucified in the old body that is ours, bearing the burden of sin and the curse. When He was buried in the earth He buried sin and the curse completely destroying them. Thus we are reckoned to have died from sin, and the body that was responsible for it died. We hence became a new spiritual creation that does not sin2 and bears no sin but is considered to carry the righteousness of Christ and His eternal grace. The new man adhered to God and became reckoned to be “members of the household of God”3 waiting for the revelation of Christ to appear with Him in glory4. This new man was given to be covered in eternal holiness in the heavenly holies with Christ5 in a very exceptional way no other creation sharing it with him.
In short there exists no condemnation in any way for those who believe in Christ because the cross was the greatest condemnation for man, and He who died on it an eternal sacrificial death for mankind was Jesus Christ. He was judged an unjust death for all man’s sins, bearing them in His body on the cross, accepting also the curse the Law had placed on the crucified sinners that says: “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”6. Christ accepted it in His body on the cross to fulfill the redemption of man, a complete and total redemption that is inclusive and eternal.
O Crucified for my sake, You accepted Your cross and consequently my condem-nation was removed. Thus, when You accepted death, I was saved from the death awaiting me, Death and shame, and the curse are Adam’s inheritance.
You annulled it all with Your heritage, After the death and darkness that were awaiting me, Your light shone upon me and enveloped me.
You exchanged death with life, darkness with light, sadness with joy.
In this way the first heaven and the first earth vanished for the new ones You had prepared to reveal.
8 July, 2005
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