NO CONDEMNATION

It happens so regularly that it’s predictable.  The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up.  I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight.  Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.  I’ve tried everything and nothing helps.  I’m at the end of my rope.  Is there no one who can do anything for me?  Isn’t that the real question?  The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does.  He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.  With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved.  Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud.  A new power is in operation.  The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death. (Romans 7:21-8:2 The Message)

What then is our responsibility in regard to sin?  This question reveals the trap that catches many believers.  We often feel that we should now more than ever focus on being sinless, missing the fact that we can’t make ourselves sinless.  We are still flawed by our inherited sinful nature.  Focusing on making ourselves sinless is self-indulgent and actually leads us away from God.  Our focus should be on God.  That is where we find freedom.  Paul calls it living in the Spirit not in the flesh.  All the power to overcome sin is in Christ Jesus.  We have no power in ourselves.  Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)  Our responsibility is to seek God.  He takes care of the rest.  Try sinning while you’re seeking God.

In closing, I’d like to remind you that we are justified through Christ’s blood shed on the cross.  That means we are acceptable in the sight of God.  We are welcome into the presence of God.  The work is finished.  There is no condemnation for us who have received Jesus.  When we are seeking God, he wants, and may I say is excited for, us to find him.  It is his delight for his children to know him.

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