Jesus is the Word and through him, all things were made. At the very beginning of the creation story, he made all things. And through him, all things are being made new. Through his work on the cross, he gives us new life.
Through every part of his life, his breath, his words, and his death, Jesus offers us real life, eternal life. He took on our sins, suffered our condemnation, our guilty sentence, and conquered death to reconcile us to life.
We celebrate this, but I wonder, do we really believe it? As I reflect on my own life, have I thought or acted like I believed I was no longer condemned?
Unfortunately, there have been times in my life when I’ve sinned, felt shame, and then hid. I was afraid that I would be condemned so I worked hard to fix myself, do better, and be better. That led to failure followed by more striving, more sin, more shame, and more isolation.
It’s a common cycle we see in addiction, right? People mess up, feel ashamed, isolate while they try to make themselves better, fail, and then start the process over again. People do some things that are entirely out of character in shame and isolation.
Instead of believing that Christ’s work was finished on the cross, my actions and thoughts showed that I was still striving to earn my salvation, trying to earn his love. I was attempting to follow the law, to be good, to do the work that was already done, and it always led to failure, disappointment, and shame.
Without realizing it, I was trying to escape the condemnation that I had already been freed from.
“For what the Law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the Law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:3
God did what I could not do.
Does that mean that because Christ freed us from condemnation, we should sin freely? No! If that’s the case, we are missing the point! Because Jesus died for us and loves us that much, and nothing is going to separate us from his love, fear should not be the reason behind our conviction over the sin in our lives.
Your desire to be righteous should not be because we are so afraid that God is going to condemn us. You should be convicted because your savior loves you enough to suffer and die for you, he would rather die than be separated from you. What could you do to break his love for you? If Jesus could take on the condemnation of all mankind, endure that kind of pain, and do that excruciating work on the cross, what could you possibly do to remove his love from you?
Therefore, you shouldn’t be convicted of sin in your life because you’re afraid of condemnation or that God is out to get you. It should be because of the stunning mercy and love of the one who says, “I’ve got you. I’ve already done it for you.”
Instead of striving to do work that is already done, I am learning to surrender my life to the Holy Spirit who I walk with out of joy, not fear of condemnation. I am learning what it means to abide in Christ. I find that as I live in the truth that the work is finished, I am able to find true rest in all circumstances.