Do you ever find yourself feeling guilty, ashamed, insecure, or condemned? If so your not the only one. It seems to be a widespread pandemic in the body of Christ these days, especially for well meaning Christians that want to do the right thing.
If you struggle in this area I want to encourage you that there is hope. You don't have to live under condemnation, our God is so much better than that. In fact, we are told in, Romans 8:1 "Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirit's law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death."
See, the truth is that condemnation is not even a reality for the believer. How many of you know that the truth is the truth no matter what our experience? This can be confusing because many of us still live with a perpetual cycle of guilt and shame. So how can this statement of condemnation no longer existing be true if we still feel it?
The answer is in what we believe. For our beliefs either empower the kingdom of light or darkness. We get to chose.
I mean, we live this life by faith not by sight right? (2 Cor 5:7)
What faith does is open up the reality of truth for us to receive. Lets say you have a million dollar debt. Some anonymous person pays off your debt and tells you that he has done so. You chose not to believe him and therefore are still living with anxiety and fear about this debt. The same goes for us in The Kingdom. Jesus has removed every ounce of shame, guilt, and condemnation for us. But we must decide to believe this truth.
When we decide to believe anything but the truth we will live in condemnation. This is why faith is so important. It is the gospel!
So what is condemnation?
I believe It is a perpetual cycle of feeling like a failure. It is a reality of shame and guilt. Condemnation says, "you messed up therefore you are a good for nothing failure." But when we understand who we are our mistakes do not become our identity.
Condemnation seems to be a big issue for Christians who truly desire to please God.
A lot of the time we actually partner with condemnation because we feel like it is the thing that will change us. We feel it is the proper response when we mess up. Sometimes, when we fall short we can become our own savior because we think our feeling bad about ourselves is the thing that is going to redeem us. But the moment we fall short is the exact time we need to receive the Grace of God. We need to stand on the reality of being righteous in Christ no matter our experience.
Sometimes we think that if we feel bad long enough we will have paid the price and we don't have to feel guilty any longer. But if my feeling bad about my shortcomings is what I rely on to feel better about myself then I have become my own savior. That would be blasphemy if I have ever heard some. It would be partnering with condemnation instead of grace and faith.
Heres the truth:
Condemnation kills. It is not your friend, and it certainly does not make you more righteous. It is not humility to belittle yourself. It sure as heaven isn't what makes you holy and complete.
See, most of us live still conscious of how much we don't measure up. We constantly beat ourselves up for not being more in life. What this does is negate the work of Christ. For He came to take away our shame by giving us Himself as our identity.
Heres an example from my life:
Since 2010, my heart changed and a desire to go after God with everything that I am arose within me. But I just couldn't seem to get rid of the lust in my life. Every time I would mess up I would feel so horrible. I felt so hopeless as if I would never be able to get freedom. I would often beat myself up unconsciously by not allowing myself to receive the love of God during these times. I would wait until I felt like I paid the price then I would be able feel good about myself again. Now, all this was unconscious, I didn't even realize I was doing this. It wasn't until I really understood forgiveness, righteousness, and redemption by the blood of Jesus Christ that I got freedom. I realized that by His grace God no longer sees me for my sin and that nothing can separate me from His love. The next time I messed up, the craziest thing happened. I confessed my righteousness in Christ. I didn't cut myself off from the loving kindness of The Lord. I fully allowed myself to receive The Love of The Father! I wept and wept because I knew that His love was so much greater than my sin. That was the beginning of my freedom in this area of my life. I gained the empowerment needed by understanding I was forgiven.
So often the church calls the world to repent and they will be forgiven but Jesus says, "your forgiven, so repent!" It is the very fact that we are forgiven of everything we have done or will do that empowers us to live a life of victory over sin. That is Grace! No its not a license to sin. Anybody who says that does not have love in His heart and does not know God as it says in 1 John 4:8.
This is just one example of condemnation. Condemnation can manifest in may more ways than misunderstanding forgiveness which we will cover later on.
For now Lets take a look at what causes this condemnation and striving so we can dismantle it ey?
It says in 2 Cor 3:9 "If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!"
The ministry of condemnation that is being referred to is the ministry of the law.
Now, the law is not bad. The law is good, perfect, and holy. This verse shows us that this ministry had glory on it. But how many know that we are not under law but under grace!? (Rom 6:14) And this new ministry has a far exceeding glory! It is the ministry of grace and faith that brings righteousness to all who believe!
See, the purpose of the law was to reveal mans need for a savior. It was to show us how sinful we were. It was designed to bring man to the end of himself. The law unveils our brokenness and causes us to see that we really screwed it up. It shows us how far we have fallen from our original design.
This is what caused me to live with a perpetual consciousness of my lack. When I was bound to lust it was because I was living under the law. I thought that I had to work really hard to gain victory over this sin.
But Grace came and did what the law could not do for us. (Rom 8:3) Jesus came and took our guilt and condemnation upon Himself and gave us the greatest gift of all, righteousness apart from our works.
The problem is that most of us are still living under the law and therefore living under condemnation. Whoever lives under the law does not believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. For He tells us in John 3:18 "whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God."
So what is a good sign that your living under the law? There is a saying that goes like this, 'the law demands but grace supplies." When we are living according to the law we feel like there is a heavy yoke around our necks. We feel as if we never measure up. We stay continually conscious of sin. We are always thinking about what we need to do. We feel like we have to earn everything. We feel as if we need to perform. We feel this pressure to be perfect. It feels as if there is such a demand on my life that I just cannot seem to get it down. Its basically the rat race!
But when we decide to take Jesus for His word and live by faith in His grace then we get to live under an easy burden. For Jesus says, "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:30. Living under grace is allows us to live and abide in the finished works of the cross. It allows us to rest in what He has done for us. No longer are we defined by our past, our sin, our mistakes, or our fears, but by Jesus Christ. Everything He is we are in this world as it says in 1 John 4:17. The Father sees us through the lens of Jesus Christ. My challenge to you is to line up your perceptions with the one true God. We have no right to see ourselves in any other way. We must see ourselves as forgiven, righteous, holy, and pure no matter what the current experience is. How do you do that? Faith. Faith always comes before the manifestation of something. You must first know and believe the truth before it sets you free. I suggest that you proclaim and meditate upon the realities of His grace. Listen to preachers that proclaim this good news. Preach to yourself, do whatever you do to hear the good news because faith comes by hearing. (Rom 10:17)
Your turn! What are your thoughts!? If you need prayer, post below as well. :)