June 10, 2015

When Condemnation is Loud

There are times when I'm simply fighting to stand on solid spiritual ground, grasping for faith, and praying for the Holy Spirit to help me remember what I already know to be true. Especially when it comes to condemnation. I hear condemnation echoing in my heart like it's truth even while I rationally know it's a lie.
I'm in one of those times now and you better believe I'm fighting. My help in the fight is coming from the dynamite truths of Romans 5-8. Maybe today you need to hear them too?

Romans 5 
By faith in Christ, we are...
  • justified
  • at peace with God
  • standing in grace
  • able to rejoice at the hope of seeing God
  • growing in perseverance, character, and hope
  • equipped with the Holy Spirit
  • loved by God
  • saved from God's wrath
  • reconciled to God
  • able to rejoice in God
  • receiving an abundance of grace
  • receiving the gift of righteousness
  • reigning in life through Christ
  • made righteous
  • delivered and set free from the power of sin
Romans 6
  • We no longer live for sin, because it's not who we are.
  • We are now people who've put on Christ. We're new people. We're no longer slaves to sin; we're free from that.
  • We are alive! We will live eternally because Christ does and we're wearing Christ.
  • Just as Jesus lives to God, we live to God. Because we're wearing Christ.
  • We are under grace, and grace teaches us not to sin.
Because of these truths...
  • We are to obey grace and disobey sin.
  • We aren't to present our bodies to sin; we present ourselves to God as slaves to righteousness.
As a result...
  • God will bear the fruit of holiness in our lives and, in the end, everlasting life.
Romans 7
But what about the law? 
  • The law itself says that when a husband dies, the wife is released from the covenant with him to marry another.
  • We are no longer married to the law. A death has occurred--Christ's. We are married to another--the Holy Spirit--to bear fruit to God.
  • The law bore the fruit of death because it couldn't save us from our sins. 
  • Is the law bad? No. The law is good in that it points the way to righteousness, but it also doesn't help us attain the righteousness it points to. The law shows us what sin is, but not how to perform what is good. We're sinners. We can't perform our way to righteousness. This is a war inside each of us, but Jesus has delivered us from the war. He married us to another, the Holy Spirit.
Romans 8
We are married to another: the Holy Spirit.
  • There is no condemnation in Christ in this new marriage with the Holy Spirit.
  • This is a new law, one of life. We are free from the law of sin and death and condemnation. The new law points to righteousness and also how to be made righteous. 
  • What we couldn't do (perform our way to righteousness), God sent His Son to do. He fulfilled the law on our behalf.
  • The law set our mind on the flesh (what we do) and led us to death (we can't save ourselves).
  • The Holy Spirit sets our minds on Him (what He does in us) and leads us to life and peace (we are saved and secure).
  • Because of faith in Christ, we have the Spirit indwelling each of us. Therefore, we are not led by our flesh. We are not led back to fear and bondage, like the law leads. We are led by the Spirit, who leads us to the Father's heart and confirms that we are in fact His children and that we are heirs of His and co-heirs with Christ.
Yet we remain in the flesh, which means...
  • We still suffer, but suffering is temporary. Glory is eternal.
  • Creation waits to find out who are the children of God.
  • Creation also groans and labors for relief from the corruption of sin.
  • We (who have the Spirit, a guarantee of what's to come) also wait with groaning for our final liberty, for our adoption, and for the redemption of our bodies. This is the hope we were saved for, and we wait for it with perseverance. 
  • We are weak in waiting well for this hope but the Spirit helps us in prayer--groaning prayer. The Holy Spirit also makes intercession for us to the Father.
  • All things eventually work for our good because God is conforming us to be like Christ. 
  • In everything we endure in this life, we can't be separated from the love of God. He is for us. We know this because He didn't spare His own Son but gave Him up for us. Won't He then freely give us what we need for this life? We are therefore more than conquerors because of God's love.
Summary: Because of Christ and our faith in His work, we have a hope, we have the Spirit helping us, we are prayed for by the Holy Spirit, God is working everything to conform us to be like Christ, and God is for us. What is unaccounted for? There is absolutely no condemnation for those in Christ.