Escaping Condemnation (2)

How do we escape the black hole of condemnation when we sin?

In last week’s post I said that to escape condemnation, we must first know where it comes from, focus on Jesus, and fight to believe the gospel.  A few more suggestions:

Trust God’s character

In 1 JN 1.9, God promises that if we confess our sins, he is “faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  God is unfailingly faithful to forgive those for whom his Son died when they confess their sins.  He must forgive, for he is “just” – to not forgive our sins when Jesus atoned for them would be unjust.

Grieve appropriately

Paul told the Corinthians to “forgive and comfort” a repentant sinner so he would not be “overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.“ (2 CO 2:6-7).  We should feel godly sorrow for sin, yet not be drown in a deluge of grief.  God wants to comfort us, though we don’t deserve it.

Beware self-pity

Sometimes our “grieving” stems from pride: I can’t believe I’d fail like that.  I should be better than that.  As if I should be perfect.  This is inverted pride – I’ve let myself down and failed my own high standards.  Actually, I’m far worse than I  know.  I’m a wicked sinner, who nailed Christ to the cross.  I don’t need to do better; I need Christ’s blood.

Give thanks

Thank God there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  Thank him that he justified you by the shed blood of Jesus and sees you righteous in Christ.  Giving thanks puts faith into action.

Get back up

The righteous falls seven times and rises again (PR 24.16).  If the devil can’t cut you off from God, he wants you wallow in self-reproach.  A righteous person falls “seven” – innumerable – times, but God says, “Get back up!  Stand on the gospel!  Look to the interests of others.”

Trust God to finish the job

Jesus is able to keep you from eternal “stumbling,” and will present you blameless in his glorious presence, not with condemnation, but with great joy (Jude 24-25).  Glory to God!

Do you have any further recommendations to help those who battle condemnation?

photo by Grevel

Cockroaches, Guilt and the Gospel

I once shared an apartment with 50,000 cockroaches.

I’d come into a dark room and turn on the light, and there’d be a few blinking up at me, stunned and offended at my insensitivity, then they’d scatter helter-skelter beneath the bed or the radiator.

You couldn’t really get rid of them.  If you sprayed, they’d vacation for a couple days next door, then migrate back.  I developed a “cockroach consciousness.”  Even when I couldn’t see them, I knew they were there, waiting to come out and frolic again as soon as I doused the light.

Guilt is like those cockroaches.  It hangs around.  It haunts.

So we must battle guilt with this truth: Jesus not only bore our sins, he bore them AWAY.

John the Baptist said, “Behold the Lamb of God who TAKES AWAY the sin of the world.”  He doesn’t just sweep sin under the rug, he takes it away.

An Old Testament Israelite would lay his hands on the head of a “scapegoat,” symbolically transferring his sins onto the animal, then he’d banish it to the desert, never to be seen again.  But God literally laid our sins on Jesus, and banished them from us forever.

As far as the east is from the west, so far does he REMOVE our transgressions from us.

On Calvary, Jesus loaded our offenses onto his mighty shoulders and carried them an infinite distance from us.

Sometimes its good for us to recall our past sins, not to dredge up feelings of guilt, but to enflame gratitude in our hearts.  Think of the mountains of sin, whole mountain ranges of sin and guilt, that Jesus’ blood removed from you.  Gone.  Forever. If just my sins were written on paper, they would have filled acres of storage barns.  But every last record of my debt was nailed to the cross.  How grateful this makes me!

Recall the vastness of your sins to provoke praise for the vastness of God’s mercy to you. But be sure to shine the light of the gospel on the condemning cockroaches of guilt.

photo by razordu30