We’ve all been there. We get amped up and excited about our faith. We want to rise up and make an impact for Christ and His kingdom. But as we rise up, we often get knocked down. We fall and face plant in our sin. We recognize the sin, and we repent and realize that Jesus died for it, but what should we do about all of the guilt, regret, and shame that comes with it?
Because of sin, many Christians feel condemned. They think they’re no longer worthy to pray, read the Bible, or go to church. They think their sin is too bad for God to forgive. They think that God doesn’t love them anymore and that they’re going to hell. But, although that might describe the way we feel, it doesn’t describe what’s true. Here’s the fact:
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
The Cross is the Cure
Because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross we are no longer condemned for our sin. Why? Because Jesus was condemned for our sin. Through His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus lived the life that we could not live and died the death that we deserved—and triumphantly rose again, defeating sin and death. He took the punishment for our sin; because of His perfect life, He makes us righteous because we are “in Christ Jesus.” He removed our guilt and sin and replaced it with grace and salvation. Paul says it this way, “By sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:3). There’s no condemnation because there’s justification—we are set free from the eternal penalty of sin and the enslaving power of sin.
So, how are we to live these truths out on a daily basis as we fight against our flesh and sin? C.J. Mahaney gives some practical advice:
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“On a daily basis, the luggage of condemnation will show up on our doorstep, just begging us to load it on our backs. In its opposition to God, our flesh will tell us that Jesus’ sacrifice couldn’t possibly be enough to win the Father’s favor completely, unreservedly, and forever. When these challenges come, don’t try to fight condemnation by promising to pray more, or to fast more often, or to memorize more Scripture. Future obedience is certainly important. But it’s impossible to resolve issues of yesterday by doing better tomorrow. Our promises of future obedience, however sincere, do not resolve condemnation for past sin.
Here’s how to beat condemnation. Confess your sin to God. Then believe in Him. Exercise the gift of faith that God has given you to believe that Jesus died for the very sins you’re being condemned for. The punishment He received was for you. His resurrection is proof that God accepted Jesus’ sacrifice. The sins of your past and the sin you just committed were all atoned for; you need carry their weight no more. You can’t do it. That’s why Jesus did it for you.”[i]
Conviction vs. Condemnation
When we sin, we shouldn’t respond with feelings of condemnation, but rather, feelings of conviction. Condemnation will lead us away from the cross, but conviction will make us respond with repentance, and take us to the cross of Christ.
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The more we grow in Christlikeness, the more we’ll recognize our own sin. What are you to do? Remorse over sin. Repent of sin. Rejoice that your sin is forgiven.
As you rise up, make sure you look up—look to the cross, for it’s the only place where you’ll find the cure for condemnation!
“Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died” (Romans 8:33-34).
[i]C.J. Mahaney. The Cross Centered Life. 42-43