No Condemnation in Christ Devotional Reading
What are the most profound statements you have heard or read in your lifetime? To qualify, it should be words that you will never forget because they initiated a shift in your outlook on life and caused you to redefine your values.
I will share two that initiated a deeper love relationship within me for Jesus Christ. 1. “For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). 2. “Why would you want to die for your sins when Jesus already died for them?”
I had to do some deep soul-searching and confront myself for having a spirit of ingratitude toward Christ. Am I the only one facing this vicarious predicament of not loving Jesus as I should?
We know that Jesus died and rose again to complete the plan of Redemption. Still, our thoughts of Jesus’ sacrifice are usually fleeting and superficial. In our carnal thinking, we cannot appreciate the greatest miracle humanity has received–the gift of Spiritual Transformation.
Our love gift from God, the Father is one of forethought and commitment. He accepted Jesus’ sacrifice to save our souls even before humanity was created. Jesus ransomed us from the second and final death by giving His life for all–the people who once lived, those who are living presently on this earth, and all future births.
Yes from Adam and Eve to everyone born up until His Second Coming, Jesus has promised us, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man. The things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). Hallelujah! The righteous will receive more than this earthly life that is full of trials and sorrows.
Jesus’ Offer is Salvation Not Condemnation
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. –John 3:17-19
Yet, as with all of God’s promises, they are conditional. We must do our part. There is no guessing or confusion, the Scriptures tell us exactly what God will do for us if we surrender and faithfully obey His commands. The greatest problem that we face is the condition of obedience always causes ambivalence–we must decide between God’s will and our desires. If we choose to live according to our desires, then we choose to place ourselves in the darkness of self-condemnation.
The Invitation: Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and dine with him, and he with Me.” –Revelation 3:20
It’s Time to Look Back: When Jesus knocked at the door of our hearts and we accepted His invitation to wholeheartedly follow Him, we were in love with the Savior. As time passed, we begin to waiver in our desire to live righteously. Nor did we understand the conditions required to sustain the love relationship between ourselves and Christ. Discipleship is a life of servitude that requires us to obey God.
Initially, we were excited by our spiritual rebirth, but we failed to realize that Sanctification, to be transformed into the likeness of Christ takes a lifetime of humility and self-denial. We became weary from the continuous internal conflict of obeying God versus giving in to our plans and goals. We failed to remember that our lives are ordered by God for His purpose and glory. Gradually, a change of heart happened and we started living for ourselves.
The Missing Element: Love
“Teacher, which commandment is the greatest in the Law? Jesus declared, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.…'” Matthew 22:36-38
The Bible is a Love letter from God to us. As we study the Scriptures, we come to know God as a loving, Heavenly Father who desires the best for His children. Yet, love must be reciprocal. Keeping Jesus’ loving sacrifice in the forefront of our minds results in spiritual growth, understanding, and wisdom. Love for God keeps us in alignment with Him. The Holy Spirit empowers us to understand and accept that God’s thoughts and plans are perfect and always end in victory.
As our love relationship with Christ grows it is with a cheerful heart that we seek God’s will through prayer and study of the Scriptures. Our daily prayer of surrender to God is fueled by love, faith, and obedience. Abiding in Christ gives us the strength to remain steadfast. We no longer veer to the right or the left, leading us wayward into the pit of self-condemnation.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” –Romans 8:1
Godly love ensures that we look straight ahead. Love keeps us focused on Jesus, our Lord, and Savior who promises to keep us on the Path of Righteousness when we put forth the human effort to follow Him. Yes, through surrender to Christ, we are freed from the indwelling sin which condemns us to death, and we receive His promise of life eternal. Amen!
Prayer: God, we pray for Your help to return to our first love, Jesus Christ. We ask for forgiveness of self-seeking behaviors that have separated us from You and Your purpose in our lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.