May 19, 2011

No Condemnation For Those In Christ

One of the more popular verses within Christianity is Romans 8:1

Romans 8:1-2

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. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

Great verses, I agree... but let's take a deeper look into them, as I don't think to many Christians realize just what and who these verses are really about. 

Let's look at the word condemnation, ok... what is Condemnation? Condemnation simply put is guilt... if you've been a Christian for any length of time, you've no doubt felt condemned by something a pastor or preacher has said in church. Like when they tell you... You're a Christian now so you can't smoke, can't drink, can't look at porn, don't lie, etc... and then you do whatever they tell you not to do. You instantly feel guilty, fall to your knees and beg God for forgiveness and promise you won't do that ever again... but you do it again, and go through the same "ritual" over and over again.

While this scenario plays out, you feel condemned inside... you feel scared that God is gonna get you... and sooner or later you just give up and many walk away from God. We've all been there... every last person Christian has gone through this.

Ok, so now we have a clear understanding of what Condemnation is and what it can do to our walk with God / Jesus. This scenario is also what is meant by "walking according to the flesh" in the verses above... trying to be right with God based on our self efforts. This is what the Law did to the ancient Jews, as well... it's why they sacrificed animals and did all the other religious rituals they did. It's not that God needed animals to be sacrificed really, but rather that through the sacrifices the guilty conscience of the people was made clean, so they wouldn't walk around condemned.

So when we read Romans 8:1-2... there is now no condemnation for those in Christ who walk not according to the flesh (self efforts to be perfect in God's eyes), but according to the Spirit in Christ Jesus has set you (them - those under the Law that brought condemnation) free, from the Law of sin and (spiritual) death. 

Something to ponder... before you became a Christian... did you feel guilty for doing all the things the church tells you not too? Most likely not... why??? Because you weren't trying to obey a set of rules and Laws... it is by the knowledge of the Law that we feel guilt / condemnation... not by the "sin" itself!

So who are these verses talking too? They are talking to those who felt condemned... ie... religious people!!! The Jews specifically, because they were the ones in covenant with God at the time and obligated to the Old Covenant Law!

While I'm all for walking by the Spirit... God's changing us, as opposed to us trying to change us... the fact of the matter is that you are not under the Law... even the Jews today are not under the Law... here check this out:

Ephesians 2:14-16

 14 For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. 15 He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. 16 Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.

There's the Gospel in a nutshell... the true Gospel, not the fake one taught in most churches! 

STOP trying to please God... an interesting thing happens when we stop trying to please God through our own efforts and we stop judging other people based on how good or bad they are... God starts changing us inside and we grow in love for God and all other people, which in turn is actually the true meaning of obeying the Law in the first place! Don't believe me... look at what Jesus said:

Matthew 22:37-40

 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Stop letting religious minds make you feel condemned... God doesn't condemn, He loves... for rules and Law never changed anyone, but rather LOVE changes our perception and as a result changes us... and God through us, changes the world we live in!

Go in PEACE!

1 comment:

giddyon said...

This is pretty much what I've been trying to say.

Let people be themselves and watch them change. It's a dichotomy or paradox or oxymoron, that is fully incomprehensible. We as humans cannot understand that goodness is better than judgment. You show someone love by accepting and appreciating them right where they are in life. Accepting their views and perceptions as important to them, even while not agreeing with them.

That doesn't mean that in every conversation we look for things we disagree with so that we can "one-up" them with our "proof" that they are wrong. That is pride, pure and simple.

It means humbly accepting them, their music, views, perceptions, ideas, as important to them, at least. These are the things that people consider attached to their personhood - what makes them who they are. If you attack their beliefs on anything, then you have attacked them personally.

What follows? They dig in and try to prove that they were right and you were wrong. So we, by attacking personal things, create more of "the problem", than less of it.

This is called offensive. Someone's offended or judged so they offend or judge back. This is baseline revenge. This is how wars get started, too.

So it all starts with someone being offended, judged, or condemned and out of that grows a one on one war which expands to the world. World wars and entropy are the effect.

What you have stated here is crucial to understand, Dave. It is the epitome of the Gospel. Death and destruction of ANY kind including the environment, extinction of species, death of trees and rain forests, and our own death is all tied to this one thing-shooting bullets of condemnation, gossip (character assassination), backbiting, and judgment. In another word - pride.

Making ourselves out to be better than another, by being in a club that no one else is allowed in without saying a certain vow and being initiated by water baptism, is, in essence, saying God favors us and not you.

Judaism is an exclusive religion. What Jesus did was make it inclusive so that there would be no reason for pride or authority over another.

The Declaration of Independence says "All men are created equal and endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights among them are - Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."

That was an inspired statement that came from someone who wasn't even sure of God. The church does everything to squelch life and liberty. It certainly doesn't make people happy, either. They go around feeling frustrated and condemned all the time and, as you know, leads them to start following suit to release the pressure of not measuring up or leave it all together (providing we have the guts, of course. You know, don't want to go to hell...)

I have spent my whole life trying to please God, as you've described. I've discovered that nothing pleases Him more than when I am free to experience Him for myself and not through someone else. He loves the fact that I am allowing Jesus' work on the cross to be valid in my life and that He is everything I need. I actually embraced the freedom He provided.

All condemnation does is keep me away because I am unworthy. He wants me close, so He doesn't condemn me. Nothing changes me to be like Him more than that.

It's time we start having faith in the Holy Spirit to do His job and quit "helping Him out". That means that all we have to "preach" is acceptance and freedom. It is in that that people start waking up to a God they never paid attention to before.

Complicatedly simple.

Keep up the good work.