Condemnation; March 27, 2019

Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

This is an extremely important verse, particularly in light of all that follows. It would be easy to read Paul’s description of our position in Christ and think, “I’m not like that.” If we actually need to repent of something that’s one thing, but the devil likes to accuse us (after all, that’s what his name means) of things that have no real basis in fact. We are indeed in Christ if we receive His forgiveness and salvation by faith, but the devil loves to insist that we are not. We must not forget, he’s a liar! What we need to do, when we read such packed passages as Romans 8 (and actually, any Bible passage) is to ask the Holy Spirit to open our mind and heart so that we can grasp what He is saying to us and receive it. Sometimes reading the Bible rightly brings conviction and repentance, but repentance always brings forgiveness and cleansing, (1 John 1:9) and that is joyful indeed. The devil wants to rob us of that joy, because he only comes to steal, kill, and destroy, (John 10:10) but he has no power to do that if we are submitted to God, (James 4:7) so that is what we need to do. After all, that could be said to be a description of what it is to be in Christ Jesus!

This naturally applies as much to me as it does to anyone, and it is also a vitally important truth for me to communicate as a pastor. I have dealt with far too many Christians who labored under condemnation! Actually, many of those were basically unwilling to repent, and realizing that, instead of genuinely humbling themselves to repent, they just condemned themselves. That is tragic! Actually, there are linguistic problems to expressing this issue in Japanese, so I’ve got to have the wisdom and anointing of the Holy Spirit in doing so. I can think of several people right now who need to get this straight in their mind and heart, so I have my work cut out for me. I’m never to give up, but neither am I to strive in my own strength. I can’t get these truths across on my own, but the Holy Spirit can use me to get it done, so my job is to stay available and responsive.

Father, thank You for this reminder. You know who came to mind as I wrote, and I ask You to reveal this truth to them, whether You use me in the process or not. May we as a church walk in all that it means to be in Christ Jesus, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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