After writing my last post, Firm Foundation, I was talking to a close girlfriend about each of the points. When I had gotten to number two and I said out loud I am completely forgiven, I realized in that moment it had been a really long time since I had felt condemnation. Now for me, and I believe many in the church, condemnation comes along frequently. At least it had for me. It would come in large mountains that were immovable and even though I would take the steps I had been taught for so long by church leaders it simply would not budge. I would live in a constant state of perpetually feeling like I had to somehow work at getting God to forgive me. Let me give an example to help explain: Let’s say I got angry with my kids that day and screamed at them. I didn’t even use bad language but I still let my anger get the best of me and I screamed at my kids. I would then feel guilty, I would repent to God saying I was wrong and I did something bad, I would apologize to my kids, I would then spend hours praying while everyone slept again asking God: to forgive me, help my kids to forgive me, wipe away any bad things I may have caused in them because I yelled. As I would “repent”, which looked more like me taking out a whip and whipping myself, I would hope I could show God how sorrowful I was and maybe God would forgive me. I would ask Him to help me forgive myself yet the mountain of condemnation would stay. I would repeat this same idea of repentance again and again sometimes for weeks for the same wrong doing. I was so focused on what I shouldn’t be doing and not on the fact that God loved me, had already forgiven me and this act would not cause me to go to hell or ruin my children…but I was living in a hell here on earth because condemnation gets very heavy to carry and it caused me to forget who I am and Whose I am. This very focus on the wrongdoing would cause me to repeat the same scenario over and over again. I wanted off this hamster wheel, but didn’t know how. The Holy Spirit though taught me that the way I viewed the word repentance was incorrect which led to condemnation having free reign in my life for years. The way most church leadership teach repentance is wrong. The reason I know this is because I not only experienced it but also was one who perpetuated it. I have written about repentance here: It is Time to Let Go of the Rules-Otherwise Known as the Law, and many other places throughout my blog you can just search repentance if you would like a fuller picture. See, I believed repentance to mean: I must make sure God knows I am sorry, I must somehow prove to Him I am being truthful about being sorry and I must convince Him to forgive me. Here is what repentance truly means:
Metanaeo-(Greek)=to think differently after; change of mind; changed after being with.
And how about the word confession in Greek:
Homologeó-(Greek)=to agree or voice the same conclusion. Simply: put to voice the same conclusion God has.
See these two words together are important. First when true repentance occurs you see things God’s way and when you confess you are coming into agreement or voicing the same conclusion God has in situations. Repentance never meant to grovel at God’s feet in hopes He forgives you. It simply means seeing things God’s way and coming to the same conclusion as He does. It is a change of heart that He does in His interaction with us through the Holy Spirit inside us. It is simple…not us doing it but Him doing it in us. This is why the Holy Spirit came and this is not manufactured or drummed up by ourselves. I want to make that very clear because when that happens your focus is in the wrong place.
There is no need
to prove we still
need the free gift;
we simply receive
the free gift.
What seems to be forgotten in all of this is the important fact of what God did with the obedience of His Son, Jesus, on the Cross for all of us. This part seems to be put aside after we are saved. All of a sudden we, as Christians, are trying to prove we are good enough to still receive His free gift of “It is Finished”. The Father and the Son have done all the work for us, period. We are fully forgiven, Holy and righteous because of Their work, not ours. When we have accepted that and continue to accept it, which means we have FAITH in what was accomplished for us, then we no longer feel as though we must be the ones to make ourselves clean, Holy or righteous to be forgiven. We simply already are forgiven. There is no need to prove we still need the free gift; we simply receive the free gift.
Now, when I have done something wrong, I thank God and His Son for what they paid such a dear price to purchase (my freedom) and I am thankful I have the Holy Spirit within me. Like a child I simply trust (faith), know that I am forgiven, know that the Holy Spirit is taking me from glory to glory, rest in the fact I am loved in my imperfections, I confess that He is good and with this…condemnation has no place. It no longer even comes to visit me. It has simply given up because I no longer rely on my good behavior but His. And I know that is ENOUGH. Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, Who saved and continues to save ME.