Sunday, June 5, 2011

No Condemnation and "Low-Grade Guilt"

Romans 8 is a majestic portion of God's word that has strengthened the saints of God for thousands of years.  The apostle Paul is continually bringing us to Christ so that we may know of his full and free provision from the guilt and power of sin.  Consider these well-known verses from this familiar chapter:
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  (v. 1)
Who will bring a charge against God's elect?  God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns?  Christ Jesus is he who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.  (vv. 33-34)
As beautiful bookends to this chapter the grace given to us in Christ Jesus frees us from condemnation.  Any, yet, how many Christians live without condemnation?  C. J. Mahaney offers some powerful, grace-filled words on this theme:
 Are you allowing condemnation into your own life?  Ask yourself the following questions:
* Do you relate to God as if you were on a kind of permanent probation, suspecting that at any moment He may haul you back into the jail cell of His disfavor?
* When you come to worship do you maintain a "respectful distance" from God, as if He were a fascinating but ill-tempered celebrity known for lashing out at His fans?
* When you read Scripture, does it reveal the boundless love of the Savior or merely intensify your condemnation?
* Are you more aware of your sin than you are of God's grace, given to you through the cross?
Do you see any traces of condemnation in your life?  Don't be surprised if you do.  But don't keep carrying the burden!  Because of the gospel's power you can be completely free of all condemnation.
Not mostly free; completely free.
Don't buy the lie that cultivating condemnation and wallowing in your shame is somehow pleasing to God, or that a constant, low-grade guilt will somehow promote holiness and spiritual maturity.
It's just the opposite!  God is glorified when we believe with all our hearts that those who trust in Christ can never be condemned.  It's only when we receive His free gift of grace and live in the good of total forgiveness that we're able to turn from old, sinful ways of living and walk in grace-motivated obedience.  Living the Cross Centered Life (Multnomah, 2006) pp. 125-126.
We have a mighty Savior who has redeemed us by his blood.  He has set us free from condemnation and has set us free unto courage--the courage to enter into the throne room and approach the throne--a throne of grace!--so that we may continue to receive mercy and grace to help us in our times of need (Hebrews 4.16).  Such access has been blood-bought; it is granted in grace and received in faith--to God be the glory!