Therefore, there is now no condemnation
for those who are in Christ JesusÖ
Romans 8:1 (NIV)
What is the "Therefore" in Romans 8:1 there for? Because the verse before it, Romans 7:25, says "Ö So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to Godís lawÖ" If I am really and diligently a slave to Godís law in my mind, I will believe with my mind what He tells me in His law. Since He tells me in His law that "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death," I must enslave myself to that truth. I must recognize that any condemnation I sense is coming from some other source. I can recite Romans 8:1 and even sing it with my mouth but still feel condemnation in my heart if I chose to receive and believe condemning words in my mind.
The dictionary says to condemn is to express disapproval of, denounce, to judge to be guilty, convict, to judge or declare to be unfit for use. That certainly doesnít sound like Jesus who has forgiveness and mercy for the past and grace and hope for the future. It certainly does, however, sound like the Accuser. Condemnation is a favorite tactic of the enemy of my soul. Among other things he uses it to keep me trapped in legalism and to entice me back there if Iíve experienced too much of Godís freedom for his liking.
One day God found it necessary to confront me with these words:
That vague sense of never having done enough is the evil oneís vomit of condemnation. Do not taste it. It will make you sick and incapacitate you for it will keep you focused on yourself as sickness does.
Think of your children. (Psalm 103:13.) Did you constantly think they should be doing more? Did you dismiss the efforts they made because they had not done everything? Do you think you are a better parent than I?
I am not disappointed with you. I am pleased with you. You have chosen what is better. (Luke 10:42) I love you just the way you are. I know you are but dust. (Psalm 103:14.) I also know you long to be more. But you must not let that longing drag you down but instead fill you with anticipation that you will grow, and at just the pace that I have planned.
What is this thinking achieving? Guilt, disappointment, self-preoccupation.
Your struggle is to trust that I will do it. In your weakness I will show Myself strong (II Corinthians 12:9). Just keep hanging out with Me. Keep experiencing Me. Keep growing in love for Me. You have a lot of life left to live, one day at a time. Go easy on yourself. I want to do the work so I will get the glory. I will show you how to cooperate with Me. The first way is to believe only the words from My mouth. And I do not condemn you. Believe that.
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