Thursday, March 13, 2014

Do you struggle with condemnation? It's not complicated. Don't.

Post-salvation, do you ever feel any condemnation, or ever struggle with it? A lot of people do, especially new Christians. I don't want to seem super-spiritual or anything, but I don't struggle with condemnation. I'll tell you why, and maybe it would be encouraging.

Accused of being dogmatic all my life, I always saw things in black and white, right and wrong. People said that as I grew up I'd come to know that there are gray areas.

Do you see any gray there?
I mulled that over for a long time but rejected that notion, there is no gray area. There is only right and wrong, dark and light, good and bad, etc. The "seeking" of the rest of my life was to discover a philosophical construct which fit my innate sense of either/ors.

Buddhism seemed excessively complicated. Wicca seemed excessively simple but trying to be complicated. Islam, well, Islam is just crazy. Catholicism had too many rules, and they contradicted each other.

I found my dogmatism, my either-or perspective, satisfied in Jesus.

In Him there is law/grace, broad road/narrow road, condemnation/forgiveness, in Christ/out of Christ, heaven/hell. A great gulf is fixed. Everything with Jesus is clear and simple. Not simplistic, because Christianity is the most complicated and deep philosophy/religion/way of life one can ever study, but simple in its approach. The Gospel is often rejected because 'it can't be that simple'.

Let's take a look at a scene. At the end of the Tribulation, Jesus will have blinked out all the lights in the universe. There will be no moon, no sun, and no stars. Earth will be wrecked so probably no electricity. It will be dark. It will be dark for a while, because Jesus says no one knows the day or time the son of Man is coming. (Matthew 24:36).
whoever does not believe is condemned already. John 3:18

Then all of a sudden a blinding light fills the sky. JESUS is coming in wrath, and with condemnation on His lips, and His glory is undimmed, unveiled, and no other light competes with it. It terrifies the inhabitants of the earth! They fall down and hide under the rocks and in caves, crying out

“Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?” (Revelation 6:16-17)

If I think myself condemned, or have done an action that Jesus would condemn, I think of that scene. Am I there? NO. I am not one of those unbelievers hiding under a rock and begging to escape the notice of the Lion of the tribe of Judah? NO!

Well, since Christianity is either-or, and if I'm not there, where am I? HERE:

"More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation." (Romans 5:11)

So I never struggled with condemnation, because it's either-or. If I think about my sins, former or present, sure, I'd feel condemned. It is a heavy weight to know I fail Jesus even today, with the Spirit in me. But I don't think about it. If I do, I'd be putting myself on the place of those poor blasphemers in Rev. 6 at the coming of Christ, hiding under the rocks and terrified of His approach. I'm not there, that's not me. So, who am I? I am forgiven, in the light, embraced by Jesus who knew me before the foundation of the world. It simply isn't profitable to think of being condemned, and we're told not to:

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." (Philippians 4:8)

Not that we don't feel bad when we sin. I certainly do. But the glory of Christ is His intimate relationship with us, and my opportunity to bring my mourning over my sin to Him and ask for forgiveness.  He delights in His children and wants to forgive. As for the unnecessary feeling of condemnation?

It's not complicated.

Jesus went through excruciating pain and agony in order to satisfy God's wrath. He took our punishment so that we would not be condemned. Therefore I will not diminish His work by adopting an attitude of condemnation.

It's not complicated.

If we have the faith of a child, we won't overcomplicate the message. We're co-heirs with Christ, in us there is no condemnation. (Romans 8:1). Why purposely burden my life with a gray area of endless options for feeling condemned in my sins when Jesus stripped it all down to two? We are either outside Christ and condemned or we are in Christ and forgiven. It's that simple.


4 comments:

  1. Another great passage to minister to those who struggle with condemnation:

    1 John 3:14-24

    excerpt: 16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. ... 18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. 19 We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him 20 in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God...

    Of course, as you posted, Romans 8:1 is another great truth to take to heart.

    -Carolyn

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  2. Slightly off topic here but I am confused over the return of Christ. The scene above has always seemed a contradiction to Jesus coming and slaying the huge army that has gathered against him, with his voice. Does the army gather in the dark? It almost makes it seem like he comes 2 times, once to defeat the army, then later to everyone when its dark, and that cannot be right.
    Jennifer

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    Replies
    1. Revelation 16:10 says that the kingdom of the beast is plunged into darkness. That's one of the bowl judgments. So it appears, yes, the Beast's armies gather in the dark. That's not surprising, John 3:20 says evil continues in the dark for they hate the light. Also Isaiah 29:15. The darkness at Armageddon where the armies have gathered to fight JESUS, they are not fighting each other, and doing the greatest evil ever is an apt metaphor.

      Yet when Jesus returns He IS the Light and it will be lighted by His glory.

      There are several stops Jesus makes in His return. It's not like a comet, as I used to think, of Him zooming in and landing. He goes to Bozrah to rescue the remnant who had fled there across the wilderness (Rev 12:6). He smites the armies assembled at Har Megiddo (Rev 19:19). Then He lands on Mt Moriah which splits in two (Zech 14:4).

      MacArthur preaches the passages and quotes them all and puts it in order, here
      http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/66-71/?term=66-71
      The Glorious Return of Jesus Christ, Part 2

      Another plug for pre-trib rapture,

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  3. Thank you for this timely word. I grew up in a legalistic home and have struggled with grace all the years of my life with Christ. I know there is nothing I can do in my flesh to please the LORD, but I live under self-condemnation constantly. The LORD has been really dealing with me about it, and I see evidence of that everywhere I turn lately. Thank you for yet another word from Him!

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