It is 2018!
If you remember, Thanksgiving I began a series on eight verses/passages I am thankful for. Well, as I turn my calendar over in my hand, I am happy to say one of the verses that gives me such a yearning in gratitude is Romans 8:1. To have this verse as the one I am looking at in more depth on this day (New Years Day) - well it just makes me happy. Because Romans 8:1 is jam packed with Good News! And every New Year is a happier year when we start with some good news!
Happy New Year!
We have something to celebrate.
"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
Talk about a celebration. Did you get that?
We, Christians have the gift of no condemnation. We can actually know that we don't need to hold onto blame, guilt, or shame. No condemnation!
Think about that for a second. No condemnation....Do you know what that means?
Let's look it up.
Merriam Webster Dictionary says condemnation means:
1. the act of blame
2. that act of judicially condemning
3. the state of being condemned ...
You get the picture. Condemnation is a bad thing. It means you did something bad/wrong and you have to pay the price for it.
And this verse says, "there is no blame" if we do something wrong.
Because of Jesus Christ the Son of God, coming into our world, living, dying and rising again we have the ability as fallen beings with all sorts of issues, mistakes, errors, to get off scot-free from any judgment. Right?
Hold up. No, this is not really what is being said here.
That would be nice, it would be easy, and would be the way we would like it to be. But in reality, it doesn't work that way. And it wouldn't be good if it did. It would be a cheap grace.
Let me see if I can explain it like this:
God is God and we are not. God is perfect and we are not. God is holy and we are not.
To be in God's presence (like you know, for eternity) everything has to be holy. God cannot be around anything in heaven that is not holy, clean, pure. It goes against who He is. So, because He is holy, He has set up a place to live in holiness. But God is a relational being. Even within himself He has the three-in-one. So as this relational being, he decided to create the world so that we could come and join Him.
Baden Württemberg, Deutschland (Germany)
He created us so that we could spend eternity with Him. He is all about relationship.
But we messed up and did what was wrong, i.e. Remember Adam and Eve? Remember the fruit? Yes, big mess up. Big problem. Epic fail!
And then, God kicked us out of the Garden we messed up and ate that fruit in. Why? Not because He was mad at us, but because we had just removed the possibility for us to be in heaven forever with Him. We were no longer clean. We had sinned. After that if we ate from the Tree of Life, as we had eaten from the forbidden fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, then, we would be unable to ever be in complete relationship with God Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Why? Because we would live forever in our sinful state. We could never go to heave for eternity. We would be stuck on earth in our Sin.
So God, in His goodness, removed us from the Garden of Eden. He removed us and began Plan B. (not really something He didn't know was going to happen, but we will call it Plan B just to keep our own head straight about it.) In this Plan B God began another way built into our world that would allow Jesus Christ, God the Father's Holy Son to come as a baby to the world, be born to a virgin, and grow up to be completely free from Sin. Jesus Christ would be the perfect picture of God as a human. This way we human beings would get an idea of who God is.
Then God's Son would lay down His life by being nailed to the cross after being beaten and maimed and crushed by evil. He would take the Sin of all of the World upon Himself because He was completely free from sin He could absorb it. An unblemished Lamb, spilling His perfect, righteous, holy Blood to cover all the Sin of the world for all the years the world had been and would be around.
From that point on, Jesus Christ became our substitute. And when I die and am called to stand in front of the holy God and He asks me what I have done to be worthy to go into that holy heaven with the perfect God I will have my Savior who is Christ my LORD come to my side and say to that Father-God-Judge: "I took Robyn's sin away on the cross. I cover her with my holiness and my righteousness. Because she accepted me as her Savior she is worthy to be called a child of Yours, Father God."
And then there is this amazing thing in Chapter 7 of Romans where we find a discussion over the victory we have in Christ Jesus. Victory over all of our fleshly desires while we are still on this earth. The Spirit helps our weakness. That hard situation that comes when we realize we alone cannot conquer our unwise desires. Only the Holy Spirit who is available to me through the presence of Jesus Christ in my life - that is the only way I can find victory over the pulls of the negative side of my human nature. I alone cannot do it. And God Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have developed a plan that allows me to walk on this earth without condemnation - without blame - without unnecessary guilt - without shame.
Because Jesus hung on the cross and died for me (for you, too) we are allowed to enter into a life that does not beat us down with our mistakes.
He has willingly taken our legal place of punishment at that judgement seat.
And because we accept Him into our lives we are allowed to walk freely in this world.
You might believe that as a Christian you are not judged by the Great God Who IS.
Well, we are all judged. There is not one of us that is sinless, and none of us are worthy to go into the holy gates of heaven. We are not worthy to have deep relationship with Him without Jesus. We just can't keep all the rules that were laid out in the Old Testament. We fall flat on our faces every time.
However, in this judgment of guilt, if/or when we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior before that judgment, Jesus steps up because He has taken our sentence of death.
Christ our Savior stands beside us in the courtroom.
He has taken our Sin on himself at the cross.
And Jesus Christ says to the Great God Who IS,
"Abba, Daddy, I got this.
I paid the price.
I was beaten, bled, ached, and died for Robyn. And when she received me as her Savior I gave her that free gift of living on this earth and in heaven freely. No guilt, No shame." I can live, you can live, the world can live freely because Jesus came not to condemn the world but to save it. (John 3:17) We can live freely."
Naturally, there are consequences for our choices. If we drink and drive, get in an accident, and someone dies ⏤ we must pay the price. If we decide to take matters into our own hands and do something immoral or illegal we must take the consequences of those actions.
But once we are His child we do not have to hold onto guilt and shame for those evils that we have committed. We can come boldly before the throne of God and stand, not shrivel and quake.
And this verse Romans 8:1 confirms that we are able to walk freely in our lives with Grace for His sacrifice.
May 2018 be a year when you enter into His Grace.
Please join those of us that are enjoying a daily reading and getting to know God better.
We read a little bit of scripture.
We ponder a few thought provoking questions.
We might even share a little bit of what God has shared with us.
And we do it daily. Step by step growing in His grace.
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Because He is he I am,
Robyn Rochelle Cox
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