God’s word is that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live in accordance with the Spirit (Romans 8:1, margin). When we Christians feel as though other people are condemning us, the condemnation actually originates from our deceived “old self” regardless of whether the other people actually harbor such feelings against us. Think about it.
Feeling condemnation reveals that we are not living from our “new self” which is one with the resurrected Christ, but are living from the “old self” which was actually crucified with Jesus 2,000 years ago (see 2 Cor. 5:17; Romans 6:5-8). Feeling condemnation is thus a red flag that we are not abiding in the protection of Christ at the moment, but that we have fallen for the lie, and have allowed our old “soulish” nature to usurp authority from our born-again spirit which is one with God. We were purchased at the infinite price of the blood of Jesus, and yet we sell ourselves cheap for the temptation of what appears to be a momentary gain.
Oh, it is so powerful when we understand this!
Whenever we feel condemnation, we are rejecting the grace we have in Christ and choosing to satisfy the selfish demands of our “old self.” In doing so, we thereby subject ourselves to the law of sin and death and remove ourselves from the jurisdiction of the law of the Spirit of life (see Rom. 8:2). God wants us to choose Life, of course, not death, but it is important to Him that we do so of our own free will.
Repentance is always available to us! He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy (Prov. 28:13). We must daily – hourly! – choose to deny our false selves, and let Christ live His resurrection life in us.
We are blessed to realize that many Scriptures addressing opening ourselves up to Christ and living in Him actually apply to believers instead of or in addition to applying to the lost. One Scripture incorrectly taught as evangelistic follows Christ’s rebuke of the lukewarm church of Laodicea: Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in…. (Rev. 3:19-20). A good example of Scripture applying both to us and the lost is Matt. 11:25-30: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest….
Consider how John 5:39-40 can apply to Christians when we “soulishly” pursue head knowledge of His word (as we often do when studying eschatology, for example) while we simultaneously resist revelation of Christ by opposing His rebukes: You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
Lastly, this week following Christ’s resurrection, let’s ponder and apprehend the difference between a believer who is simply resurrected at the last day versus one who is living eternal/spiritual life now here on earth in accordance with the Spirit as we meditate on the differences between the last two parts of Jesus’ great “I AM” declaration in John 11:25-26:
I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.
He who believes in me will live, even though he dies means he who believes in Jesus Christ is born again with God’s Spirit in him and will escape God’s wrath upon sinful mankind. That believer has eternal life and shall never perish, even though his physical body will die one day (unless raptured like Enoch and Elijah). Christ is the RESURRECTION for that saint.
[W]hoever LIVES AND believes in me will never die (emphasis added) means he who habitually denies the “old self” and truly abides in Christ and trusts Him will live in the power of His resurrection now and forever! That saint walks in dominion right now here on earth, and also anticipates doing so when he is resurrected/caught up into heaven with our Lord to judge fallen angels and men of Israel (see 1 Cor. 6:2-3; Luke 22:28-30). He will never die because the resurrection life of the new creation is immortal; the eventual passing of his present physical body is truly not a point of concern. Christ is the RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE for that saint!
Such a believer is an overcomer. He “gains a better resurrection” (see Hebrews 11:35), because the sum of his choices throughout his earthly life earn him a better eternal inheritance (heavenly reward) than others. Of course salvation is a gift of God and absolutely cannot be earned; our inheritance / eternal reward, however, IS earned as we apply God’s word and speak it forth in accordance with the Spirit. (More to come on this tremendous topic…)
To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Revelation 3:21)
Believing and living in Christ with you now, your sister deanna
written March 31, 2015; revised March 20, 2016