“There is therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:1 (KJV)
Who can forget the smell of new military uniforms? At basic training, you suddenly have left your familiar lifestyle and certainly your familiar clothing. Suddenly, new clothing is tossed at you and sometimes they fit and sometimes they don’t. The newly manufactured uniforms are always stiff and so uncomfortable. The fabric has a distinctive smell that you don’t find in any retail store. Even years later, when you purchase new uniforms that smell can take you back in memory to the first time you smelled them in boot camp. The memory of that odor will last forever.
When we accept Jesus Christ, we also get a new uniform. These new duds aren’t made of khaki and they are certainly not a camouflage pattern. These news duds are referred to in scripture as the robes of righteousness. They aren’t thrown to you by some surly logistics sergeant. If properly worn, the robes of righteousness that Jesus Christ clothes a Christian with are never stiff or uncomfortable. Instead, the tailor for your specialized fitting is the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ himself. Not only has he paid for your clothing, He has earned the right to personally dress you in it. It won’t have to be altered. It is designed precisely for you.
He has been preparing your robe for thousands of years and it is a day of celebration when you put it on. You could try to put it on yourself, but it would be a counterfeit robe made of very cheap material that will not hold up under the scrutiny of a holy God. The robe of righteousness that we inherit upon trusting Christ in salvation is a robe that was weaved over 2,000 years ago when Jesus walked this earth in perfection.
Military uniforms get torn, they get dirty and they fade. Much money is spent sending them to dry cleaners or washing and maintaining them. But, your robe of righteousness will never fade. At times, we soil it with the sin in our life and are accused by Satan. When that occurs, our defense attorney Jesus Christ approaches the judges bench and states our innocence based on His payment of our sentence on an old rugged cross.
For the Christian there is no longer guilt. There is no longer condemnation. Romans 8:1 promises us after a chapter where Paul spells out his many failures that in Christ there is no condemnation. If you have had a lot of failures in your life, you can’t help but cheer as you make the transition from Romans 7 to Romans 8. For in that transition, guilt is absolved. Regret is removed, disappointments are discharged and failures are forgiven.
Lord, help me to properly wear the uniform you have given me — the robes of righteousness. Help me to remember that I am not called to stay as a Romans 7 Christian but am instead called to live in the reality or Romans 8. Never let me forget the clothes with which you have dressed me.