Romans 8:1, 3 – 1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For what the law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh. 6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so.
Living in the freedom of Christ is an amazing thing that most of us cannot even begin to grasp the awesome depth of this great truth. That those who are free in Christ are FREE INDEED, is a strange concept in our human reasoning and if not realized fully can be restricting and confining for believers whom Christ died to give freedom to. Freedom to keep sinning? I think not! Freedom to walk out of your sin completely and live “changed” by the Spirit? I totally agree with. Lately I have caught myself passing judgment on certain sins more than other sins and qualifying them according to my human reasoning. In other words, I have set myself up as judge, and put myself dangerously in the place only God can sit. I may even say, “Oh that sin is worse than other sins because it affects so many people” when in reality the only one it truly affects is the person sinning. It may be a bad witness and cause confusion in other Christians, but that is because those Christians don’t understand the truth behind the word “grace.” Sin is sin… I hope we can agree on that because that is what God says. If I qualify sin, I am moving myself into a whole new position in the grace quotient. I am now becoming the one who decides which sin is worse than others. For example; is gossiping worse than judging others? If you are the one being judged, then judgment is way worse. But if you are the one who is getting gossipped about, then gossip is way worse. Do you see the problem here? Our opinion on the levels of sin is relevant to our situation at the time. If I’m not having a problem with gossipping at the time, then I will tend to say, “gossipping is worse than other sins I have a problem with.” Is that right? NO!! It can’t be right or grace is just not grace anymore. I have made grace something that is dependant on my impressions of what grace is and how it applies. That is dangerous, but that is exactly what we do on a daily basis when we see someone fall because of sin. We condemn them. I have even heard some say that God is going to hold that sin against them throughout eternity because that sin is way worse than most. If that is the case then Christ’s death on the cross was conditional. Meaning it didn’t actually apply to all sin. Jesus, the Holy One, took on “most sins”, but not what we call “the bad ones.” In human reasoning, we may think that way of looking at things is right, but in Biblical reality it is the opposite of how things work in the area of grace. In Romans 8 Paul addresses this in verse 1 by his statement that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, or living in the Spirit. Get this….no qualifying which sins we believe are forgivable, just forgivenesss. Life in the Spirit is true freedom living, without condemnation. Can you grasp that? If you can, you are way ahead of most believers who want to condemn sinners and keep those condemned who commit sins beyond human reasoning. If we are to be judged for those sins, then the power of Christ death, burial, and resurrection is iimited. Remember Paul said, “NO CONDEMNATION!” Some may say, “well that means for heaven and hell.” In reality it means for living the Christian life free or bound. If condemned, then we are bound and cannot share the message of Christ as we need to. If Free, then that freedom draws us closer and closer to our loving God who loves us no matter what we do. What would it be like to live a condemned life here on earth? Just think about those people you know who don’t know Christ. Ask them. No hope, no reality of life after death, no firm set of values, bondage. When I accepted Christ, my sins were forgiven once for all. My sinful nature was replaced with the Spirit of God, so the law of sin didn’t apply to me anymore, but the free life in the Spirit took over. I said, “took over.” Maybe our problem in the area of judgment comes back to our distrust of the Spirit of God. I sincerely hope not, because that will make us powerless at every point of our life.
When I received Christ my intentions in life were changed from hopeless to all out hope. But my reasoning about what God’s grace is should have come along too. That’s where there is a break in the chain. We are so enamored with our freedom, that we qualify who will get their freedom and where that freedom stops. It’s almost like we have become like God in our freedom, but that has caused us to think we are now judging for Him. That won’t work. Listen to what Jesus said, “Luke 6:37 – Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.”
That does not compute for many who like to be God and condemn wherever they can. Why do we condemn? It’s a competition thing. If we condemn others, it keeps our sin from being highlighted and helps us win the sin game. Remember Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.” All means all. The effect of condemning others is this. We don’t love them like God does so we don’t have a desire to help them. We want to hurt them more because of their sin. A bad problem for us is when we start shooting our wounded. Wow, what a mistake of JUDGMENT. Glad those who do that aren’t God. I would be in trouble!!! Also, this condemning attitude is something satan uses to hold us back from experiencing the full extent of the grace given to us. To minimize grace in others, is to minimize it in ourselves. Those chains really start to poison our attitude about serving Christ. You can see a true of example of that poison in the lives of the Pharisees in the life and times of Jesus. They were held by the chains that they formed themselves and wanted everyone else to be in those same chains. I don’t think we need to go back to that way of thinking. Like Peter Pan said, “Time to fly, time to crow!” Some may ask, “What are you so happy about?” To which you can say, “I am forgiven and my sins are not held to my account. I am free!” You may wonder what crowing has to do with anything. I guess our Biblical word for that would be WORSHIP! We worship best when we worship out of the freedom of God’s Grace. We tend to show more love when we let that grace apply to other sinners as well. Are you condemned? If you are a believer, then no way you are condemned. So don’t condemn others, but encourage them to live to the fullest in the Spirit. That is God’s way.
The Pilgrimage continues….