Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
D7.1 The law court
In Romans Paul uses the picture of the Roman law court to explain justification. In that court the defendant would be presented with the evidence against him. If found not guilty, or justified, he would be set free and the legal process would cease. If found guilty (i.e. condemned), he would be sentenced and the punishment carried out.
In the book of Romans we have the evidence set out from Rom.1:18-3:20 regarding the human race. It is convincingly concluded that all are guilty before God, and that no one can be justified (i.e. pronounced not guilty, or be righteous) by the law.
Then in Rom.3:20-31, we have the sentence carried out. Instead of the sinner being put to death, Jesus became our substitute and paid the penalty in for us all. So that all who put their faith in Him will be justified, that is declared not guilty. Or as someone put it once: just as if I’d never sinned.
D7.2 It is God that Justifies
There is therefore no condemnation to them, who are in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit, for what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin condemned sin in the flesh that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit
For those in Christ there is no condemnation, they are pronounced not guilty because of Jesus’ sacrifice at Calvary.
Towards the end of the chapter we then get this section of rhetorical questions.
If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His Son but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again who is even at the right hand of God who also maketh intercession for us.
The whole of chapter 8 is an encouragement to those who are in Christ Jesus. For our purpose let us consider the verses quoted. God did not spare Jesus, His Son. He gave Him and thus in so doing God gave everything for us. How then can He withhold any good thing from us? We have God on our side and so we need not fear what man can do to us, Ps.118:6.
The question ‘ who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?’ implies that no one can since God Himself has justified His people, since we have faith in His Son. There may appear to be someone but …
Now is come salvation and strength and the kingdom of our God and the power of His Christ for the accuser of our brethren is cast down which accused them before our God day and night and they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony and they loved not their lives unto the death.
The preceding verses in Rev.12 to the above verses make it clear that it was he, who is called the Devil [=false accuser] and Satan [=Adversary], who is the accuser of the brethren. He may accuse us before God, and to us directly but we are not guilty, God has made it so. We overcome his accusations by the blood of Christ, it is that blood which justifies us. By the word of our testimony in that God has saved us, brought us into new life and Christ lives in us, who is the hope of glory.
So who then can condemn us, If God has justified us? How can anyone find us guilty? At the start of Romans chapter eight we saw there was no condemnation to those in Christ, we can therefore conclude that no one can now find us guilty since God’s court of law, the highest that can ever be, has acquitted us?
The reason is all because of the work of Jesus Christ. Paul puts together the threefold reason. Christ’s death, resurrection and His intercession on our behalf in heaven.
The remaining part of the chapter concludes that nothing, but nothing can separate us from God’s love, and he lists a number of things that we may come across. But God is not a man that He should lie, and none of these things can separate us from God’s love.
D7.3 Let no one judge
We have therefore, the fact that God has executed the grand plan of redemption for the human race. This in order to undo all the damage inflicted on the race by Adam. God carried it out in complete righteousness. There was nothing wrong in what God did.
Furthermore, the only way of redeeming us was to do it by the sacrifice of His dear Son, the one who would pay the price for our sin. By His sacrificial atoning death Jesus paid the price for our salvation.
This meant that God could justly justify those who have faith in His dear Son. Those who accept this free gift of salvation by faith are then no longer under condemnation. The great judge of the universe has declared His people justified, not guilty! No one therefore can condemn them.
So we come back to Colossians: let no man judge you in respect of.. the law. That is, do not let anyone entice you into thinking that you have to find favour with God by keeping the Mosaic law, or any other legalistic system come to that. The great eternal judge has justified us apart from the Law and it was by the one great eternal sacrifice of His Son. So who are these people who would sit in judgement on us? Or who are we to sit in judgement on others?