I have been hearing a lot lately about condemnation, God’s grace and how it applies to being a Christian. I know it’s always been an issue which is why Romans 8:1 is in the bible. People, myself included, have struggled with the idea that God’s grace covers us.
Some feel just as followers in the Roman church felt, that because we are washed in God’s grace through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross we can sin as much as we like. I concur with Paul’s response to that “God forbid” (Romans 6:1). For some it is a thought born out of their newness of being a Christian but other use it as an excuse to continue living the life they lead before they were saved.
For me I feel that I can earn God’s grace & favor by what I do or don’t do. In my mind I keep thinking how I act is directly related to how God sees me. There is a part of me that takes pride (yes that dreadful word) in knowing others see me as “perfect” but I know the truth. I AM NOT PERFECT. I AM NOT SINLESS. Yes, I am considerate. Yes, I try to think of others. Yes, I help out when I can.
But… How can I show genuine consideration, genuine thoughtfulness, genuine helpfulness when I am concerned about how I am perceived. Will this show that I’m always sacrificing what I want for others? Will this make God love me more? That is the epitome of pride. This is how the Pharisees acted and when I focus on that more than grace I see myself in them.
It is important to want to please God & make Him happy but not because we are working to gain His love and approval. We should want to please God because of what He’s already done for us. He demonstrated His love and approval by sending Jesus to die on the cross. When He created us He knew we would sin. He knew we couldn’t keep the laws. So why do I feel condemned sometimes? Because I’m human. His desire is not for us to be flawless, it’s for us to be in relationship with Him. But I love that God knows and understands that.
My prayer everyday is that I continue to allow the words of Romans 8:1 (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) to seep deep into my soul. It is only by drawing closer to Jesus can I let go of the feelings of condemnation and wrap myself in God’s grace.