There’s often a problem with Christians, is that often we feel our job performance dictates God’s emotional response to us.
Yes, as human beings, we struggle with our sin nature. Many of us often feel we disappoint God, and perhaps we do.
We wrestle with the knowledge of man’s depravity, and with the knowledge of how sin separated us from God.
If you are born again, here is an essential truth we need to grasp.
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:1 (KJV)
This is a two part sentence, due to the construction in Greek. While we often get suspicious of heresy (no!!!!) and look suspiciously for signs whether someone is saved or not, too often we apply this to ourselves as well.
Any fundamentalist who has caught onto the fact there must be evidence of a changed life, also has struggled with the secret fear that, “My job performance is not good enough… I’m not saved.”
Well, it’s not our job performance that got us saved…
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:4-10 (KJV)
Fundamentalists have caught onto the fact that there is going to be a judgment, several in fact! And that at the believer’s judgment, just after the Rapture, Jesus Christ is somehow going to look at you with those flaming eyes under white eyebrows (ever notice everyone who claims to have gone to heaven says Jesus has long brown hair? Yet the Bible says his hair is white…)
..and He’s going to ask with growing rage…” how did YOU get in here? There must be some mistake!!! Michael, toss them over the side…”
Romans 8:1 is a two part sentence.
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:1 (KJV)
The first part is, there is now therefore no condemnation to them. Part two has two endings. There’s a whole sermon in this one verse if any pastor is reading this, by the way.
Which are in Christ Jesus.
Are you saved? If not, take care of that now. It’s a simple matter. Salvation could NOT BE ANY EASIER. Understanding you are a sinner in need of salvation, repenting of your sins, asking Jesus Christ to save you, and then TRUSTING HIM TO DO THE REST.
It’s that simple. Goodness, you ought to spend some time looking at what people trapped in cults think they have to do to be saved. countless hours passing tracts or banging on doors, or having two sets of dinner plates, etc. It gets crazy.
Just trust Jesus Christ to do the rest.
Your sins separated you from God. Your sins caused an irreparable breach between you and God. Your sins offended God. Your very actions are tainted by your guilt. You cannot bridge that.
Only God can decide to forgive that, since He alone is sinless. So Jesus Christ put on human flesh and came down to pay our sin debt, to atone for our sins as the perfect offering. Really simple.
Who walk not after the flesh.
This is not a conditional statement. This is the passing down of a sentence.
For those of you who don’t understand how law works, it’s very simple. The law demands that one be found guilty or not guilty, or that the case will not be heard (dismissed).
however, we are all guilty. Punishment is then passed down. “Death. Your blood must be shed.” If we die without this punishment enacted while we live, we will go to Hell.
However, being full of sin, we cannot pay this penalty. So Jesus Christ paid it for us.
We sing the hymn, maybe thinking it’s a nice little hymn, but we rarely reflect on the beauty of the words..
Jesus paid it all
all to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow.
Think about that.
If the punishment in accordance with the judgment is paid, what is left? If someone is sentenced to sixty days in jail, and is released with no suspended time… what’s left to serve?
nothing. It’s served. It’s done.
Ended. The case is filed away. Can you be re-arrested for the offense? Nope. Can you be re-sentenced? It’s done. The punishment decreed was fulfilled.
So, you’re no longer guilty. You WERE guilty. You aren’t any more.
You walked according to the flesh. You realized you were guilty. You realized you would have to pay the price of your sin, which would result in your going to hell forever. But Jesus Christ died and you ACCEPTED HIS ATONEMENT, His free gift of salvation.
So, the last half of Romans 8:1, is the declaration of, “not guilty.” You don’t walk according to the flesh any more.
Sure, you struggle with sin. Ever struggled to keep from going under water? There’s some thrashing around there. Your sin nature is DYING, under the influence of the word of God. Under the influence of prayer. Under the influence of turning from the world. Under the influence of listening to God pleasing music, that worships God and not man. Under the influence of growing faith that cometh from hearing and from hearing the word of God. from fellowship in churches.
Who walk according to the spirit.
Not guilty! Can you imagine, going to court, KNOWING they’re going to order you to daily torture the REST OF YOUR EXISTENCE, and you get to court, the Judge calls you forward, and tells you, “your sentence has already been executed. You are free to go.”
You walk out in shock.
You head to do whatever you were guilty of before. Your cell phone starts to ring. It’s the same Judge calling you.
“That’s probably not a good idea.”
Ever have the Holy Spirit say that to you? You just get that feeling like, “I should be going to church today, instead of skipping it to watch sports.”
or you’re about to say something, and the sudden overwhelming feeling comes over you, you shouldn’t do that?
You’re walking according to the spirit.
4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: 5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. 6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. 1 Peter 4:4-6 (KJV)
God KNOWS you struggle with sin. God UNDERSTANDS that. And He knows you will not always heed the Spirit.
But let me tell you, that’s one of the evidences of being saved, that you FELT THE SPIRIT SAY NO!!!
You are not guilty. You are justified.
Justified is the opposite of condemned. The Righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed unto you.
Yeah, think about that. The angels fall in worship of Christ. Doesn’t sound very thrilling, the constant singing of praise to Christ throughout eternity? If so, then either you need to go back to point one and make sure you’re saved…
…or you just haven’t grasped these facts.
Jesus Christ gave you His righteousness. In the eyes of God you have never sinned. Repent of your sins, confess them, ask God ten seconds later what your sins were.
“don’t remember. Don’t care.”
I’m sure Jesus Christ will gently scold me at the believer’s judgment, maybe address my meanness and my temper. I can be mean sometimes, I know it. I try and repent of it. But I’m aggressive, and my words can sometimes be simply hurtful. I try. But I’m going to struggle with that for the rest of my physical life, until death or the Rapture.
We walk according to the spirit, if we are not guilty. Sure, not all the time, but hey… that’s what the bible says. If we belong to Jesus Christ, we have been found not guilty. We have justification and imputed righteousness. Jesus Christ walked not according to the flesh, but according to the spirit.
So, we do too in the eyes of God.
Does God love you?
Do you deserve it?
He doesn’t care if you deserve it or not.
17 The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. Zephaniah 3:17 (KJV)
Does that sound like God loves you?
now maybe you’ll understand why randomly in heaven, the host is moved to break out in song to God.
You have no idea how much God loves you.
it’s not performance oriented. He just loves you.