“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).”
photo credit: pastorponderings.org
Here is a little secret. About 1/4 of my job as a workplace chaplain (or so it seems) can be done by only using this one verse. I have learned from personal experience and interacting with hundreds of people on a regular basis over the years that everyone at some point seems to get paralyzed by guilt.
Condemnation is a similar word for guilt. Guilt is weighty. It is real. One of the problems with guilt is it never goes away on its own and it doesn’t produce anything positive in a person’s life. It is not a fruit bearing emotion. It doesn’t usually help you to make lasting and sustainable changes in your life.
One of my favorite movies is, “Luther.” This movie captures Martin Luther’s life very well. One of the best lines in the entire movie is when Martin Luther is still a monk and is having a breakdown type of moment. He is in a room by himself arguing with Satan. That day he spilled communion wine the first time he was serving it. His father was there and criticized him and told him he still hoped he would to be a lawyer before riding off.
Later on, Martin is on his face arguing with the devil and his mentor John comes in. When John asked him what was wrong. He won’t even look up as he apologizes about what happened. Then he says, “I’m too full of sin to be a priest.” John then says, “You know in two years I am have never heard you confess anything remotely interesting.” Our sin and shame and the memory of it follows us around. We can’t believe we acted this way. But if someone actually heard your baggage that you are so ashamed of, they wouldn’t even consider it interesting. Of course your sin is a big deal to you and to God, but if we are focused on ourselves all the time we can’t be truly effective for the Kingdom. Besides, who is paying for it? Are you? Or did Jesus pay for it already? It is powerless to be worried about our standing with God all the time. If you know Jesus, you are His. You are in. Now forget about yourself. Leave it at the cross of Christ. Raise and walk in newness of life.
The truth is the memory of our own sin plagues us all. It follows us around. Satan calls us by our sin, but Jesus calls us by our name. Who do we want to listen to? Which voice do we want guiding us? Ultimately, if we belong to Jesus we are not eternally condemned. But, our feelings can make us believe we are separated from God, or have lost our way. Or we can feel we missed our calling, or our best days are behind us. This simply isn’t true. God has you and if he has you, He doesn’t leave you nor forsake you. But, condemnation will keep you in one place. You will maintain unforgiveness towards yourself and others, because you think that is how God sees you.
Again, Satan calls us by our sin, but Jesus calls us by our name. In fact He has given us a new name. Everything has been changed. We don’t need to walk around condemned. To be fair, there is a range of what people walk around with. Some people have confided in me that they have done some terrible things.
I don’t believe in a life that doesn’t have consequences. It would be unfair if the gospel story was, “I can do whatever I want and everything will be fine.” That is not the story. In regards to God, when we begin a relationship with him and ask for the atonement of the cross and the resurrection to be applied to our lives and we ask to participate in his Kingdom, yes we are on our way to heaven. But, when we hurt others we can sever relationships, we can still go to prison for crimes, we can seriously alter the rest of a person’s life here on earth. When we hurt others, there are consequences. But, when we seek God we are not condemned by Him. We can walk with sureness. We can walk with integrity. We can walk with hope. This is a life that is effective or useful for the Kingdom of God.
Conviction and condemnation are completely different. They serve different masters and they will take you to different places. The Holy Spirit convicts you to tell you about your sin. He motivates you to repent and make things right with people. He tells you about your sin in a way that is life giving and restorative. The devil or our flesh keeps telling you, and that is condemnation. It is told to you in a way that it becomes your identity or even your name. While Jesus lovingly speaks to you about your sin and calls you by name.
He can heal any wound and restore any relationship. He is God. We can’t undo that. Today as God’s child walk with integrity and sureness. Ask for forgiveness. Make restitution with people you have hurt, but move on. Today as God’s child walk with integrity and sureness, because you are his and in him there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Thank you for reading!
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What are people saying about it? Here is what Tom Ziglar the Proud Son of Zig Ziglar had to say about, “The New Testament Challenge.”
“The New Testament Challenge by Aaron Mitchell is the perfect way to experience the New Testament in one year. The one page per chapter guide is perfect in helping you to understand God’s truths and how to apply them to your life. One day at a time, one chapter at a time, will change your life over time.”
– Tom Ziglar
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There are 260 chapters in the New Testament. You go to work 5 days a week. There are 52 weeks in a year. 52 X 5 = 260. This year, Take the Challenge! Change your life!
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