Saturday, October 20, 2012

No Condemnation

Our memory verse at church this week is Romans 8:1.  “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.“

Some translations let out the last part - “who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.“

I think this part is important and here’s why.

When we come to Christ and accept him as our Savior, we are to come in repentance.  The Biblical definition of repentance is a change of direction.  It involves turning our backs on our previous lifestyle and moving in the direction that would be pleasing to God.  This is what the second part of this verse means – not walking according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

When you accept Christ you are a new creation.  The old is gone, the new has come.  (2 Corinthians 5:17)

I have had times in my life when I have experienced guilt over past sins.  I look at things in my life and think how in the world could I have done that.  I know better.  I deserve to feel guilty.  So I beat myself up with guilt and condemnation.  Is this what God wants me to do?  No!  This doesn’t come from God.  God says “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  So why do I feel this way …. because I am trusting my feelings rather than God’s truth.

If there are unconfessed sins in our life then a feeling of guilt can come from God. This is the Holy Spirit convicting your heart and trying to get you to rectify your relationship with God.  1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 

Jesus said, "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned." (John 3:17-18a)

The devil wants to rob you of God’s peace and joy.  He comes with false guilt.  When you are feeling guilty, examine your heart.  Ask yourself if you have repented of that sin.  If you have sincerely confessed that sin and repented, (turned away from it) then stand on the promises of 1 John 1:9 – that God has forgiven and cleansed you and that there is no longer any reason to feel guilty.

We can't change our past, but we can learn from our past and learn to meditate on God's truth. The promise of Romans 8:1 to be free from condemnation is for every Christian.  Don't let the power of other people's condemnation rob you of God's peace. Fix your eyes on Jesus and walk with Him. 

Think about the life of Paul.  He was persecuting and killing Christians.  Then God got ahold of him.  Paul repented and was saved.  After that he went on to found many of the New Testament churches.  Paul knew what he was before and knew the sins that Christ had forgiven him of.  He didn’t let his past interfere with his present. Instead he allowed God to change him and use him.

I have talked with some people who have insisted that a Christian needs to make restitution for past sins.  Some believe that repentance requires undoing all the wrong we have done.  If our salvation required our undoing all our past sins, then we would never be saved.  There is a place for restitution. As the Spirit of the Lord leads you, your heart will want to make right some of the wrongs you may have done.  However, it is important to realize that repentance doesn’t require restitution.  If I could provide restitution for my sins, why would I need the blood of Jesus?  Jesus shed his blood and died to take away my sin.  My forgiveness is in His hands.  When God forgives me of my sin, that sin is forgotten.  It no longer exists.  (Psalm 103:12)

So, my forgiveness is based on my repentance.  My salvation comes from the blood of Jesus.  It is by His grace that I am saved. I can’t do any of it for myself. Don’t let anyone convince you that restitution is a part of it.  Good deeds do not remove sin. 

Abide in Christ.  Continue in a close walk with Him.  Live according to the Spirit and not the flesh.  Put on the full armor of God. (Ephesians 6)  Never let the devil make you feel guilty over past sins because: There is therefore no condemnation ….

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