Freedom from Condemnation

F974C388-8CDE-491E-BE7B-A0259C1B1DC1After 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.

37D3AEA9-1F2C-408D-A61E-AEB04919B024Now, 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.

What Has Your Big Brother Done For You?

Maybe you don’t have a big brother in your family like me….yet I do have a Big Heavenly Brother, Jesus, and He has done a lot for all of us.

You may have been taught many times regarding the woman with the alabaster box, in Luke 7.  How she had poured out everything she had on Jesus; and while that is a beautiful teaching, as I read this story with fresh eyes the Lord woke something up in me that I want to share with you.  Let’s dig into this historical account about this nameless woman, called a sinner, whom had an interaction with Jesus which changed her life forever.
In the beginning of Luke 7, Jesus is invited to Simon’s house, a Pharisee.  Right before this invite He is talking about John the Baptist and says this: ““I tell you that among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than Yochanan the Immerser! Yet the one who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he!”” ‭‭Luke ‭7:28‬ ‭(CJB)‬

What I find extremely interesting is this is exactly who Jesus ministers to…the least.  They are the people society deems less than through our human eyes.  Jesus did come to help the world see how His Father sees, among many other things He did. As Jesus traveled in those last three years of His life there is an emphasis in what He DOES which shows us just how important each individual is.  No one is higher or lower.  Everyone is on equal standing no matter wha they have done or not done and yet each of us is still uniquely made.  When we look at the historical life story of Jesus, within scripture, He healed the blind, lepers, woman and children.  Yet, to the many of the “well taught” men he was trying to heal their thinking.  He desired for them to repent, to see things differently and that had to start in the brain of these well taught “leaders” in the community.  It is the same within the story in Luke 7.  It is interesting that the least, within societies beliefs at that time, saw Jesus for Who He is; while those that would be considered greater had a much more difficult time seeing Who He is.

Let’s look at this account in Luke 7:36-50 (NASB)

“Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.” And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.” “A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.” Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.” Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this man who even forgives sins?” And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.””

Three things I took note of in this passage:

  1. “The definition in Greek of the word “love” used here is: 25-agapáo-With the believer agapáo (“to love”) means actively doing what the Lord prefers, with Him (His power and direction). True agapáo (“loving”) is always defined by God- a “discriminating affection which involves choice and selection”.  Properly, to prefer to love;….preeminently (above all) this refers to what God prefers as He “is love”.” biblehub.com
  2. Remembering faith is a gift from God.  See: It All Begins and Ends With Trust and Walk Confidently-It All Begins and Ends With Trust (Faith) (Part 2) for a greater understanding of how faith is a gift from God.
  3. What the woman did versus what she didn’t do.

As I put all three of the above things together while reading this account, I wept with the beauty and simplicity of Who God is and has been since the beginning.  In this story holds the simple yet glorious good news that Jesus had come to bring to all the people in this world He had created and loves so dearly.  The woman can be found in each one of us born from Adam; as we are born into sin (Psalm 51:1) and if you don’t believe this to be true you are deceiving yourselves (1 John 1:8).  I don’t know about you but I know I have had many sins, even after receiving God’s free gift.  Please remember we go from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). I also know that there is no way I could keep all of the Law as Jesus Christ has done for He has “upheld and upholds” the law (Torah) (1 Corinthians 9:21 and Galatians 6:2 CJB).  Because of this everyone should be able to relate to this woman, a sinner.  So what did this sinner do??  She loved (agapáo)!!!  Not just a mushy…oh I love you; but a preference, a personal selection, a free will choice showing good judgement and chose to follow IMG_1583the God given mustard seed of faith and trusted, believed in Who Jesus is.  She went and treated Him for Who she saw Him as, the King of kings.  The Pharisee, Simon, in this account did not.  Simon didn’t believe he needed much forgiveness.  He also believed He wasn’t in need of a Savior because he had the law to follow, his own performance that he relied on, and the yearly sacrifice for Israel-the Day of Atonement.  He was a Pharisee for goodness sake.  Yet, Jesus here told an important truth those that do not feel or think they have many sins love little.  Their reliance is more on themselves and their behavior and less on Him and what He desires to do for you.  Lastly, the woman did not go and beg Jesus to forgive her.  She did not speak all of her sins out and ask for forgiveness.  She actually did not utter a word to Him; she simply trusted in Who He is, and chose to believe Who He was in her heart and her actions showed her belief.  This faith is what saved her.  She boldly approached the throne of Grace, as a SINNER, and she simply from the heart believed in Who Jesus is and Jesus announced her faith (trust and belief) saved her.  Out of this faith, in Who Jesus is, came an act of agapáo (“loving”), an affection of choice and selection, a desire to love from and through Him, His strength that made her whole as Jesus said, “Your faith (belief, trust) has saved you, go in peace (wholeness).”  Her faith saved her, not her spotless record she tried to maintain but her faith.  Your faith saves you not your spotless record or your performance or your trying to act right.  Just your faith and out of this faith come these actions of agapáo.  This account happened before the Cross, before Jesus took all of the sins of the world upon Himself.  He was showing the “ones who were more influential in the world’s eyes” how their system of trying to follow the law could not be done nor would it ever bring the type of relationship that God, the Father, was desiring from the beginning: humans desiring , preferring , choosing and selecting Him out of our own free will.  He sent His Son to make the Way for us and all we have to do is agapáo- choose Him, just like the woman who walked in a sinner, broke her alabaster box and chose Jesus, believed in Who He is and walked out forgiven and whole.  There was no groveling but an active free will choice to choose Him, to believe in Who He is.

Jesus’ agapáo was
going to the Cross for us,
God’s agapáo was sending His Son
and then placing His wraith for the sin
humanity was due on His Son
and humanity’s agapáo
is to believe in Who He is

Because see He first chose you, us, the world.  He agapáo us.
Jesus’ agapáo was going to the Cross for us, God’s agapáo was sending His Son and then placing the wraith for sin humanity was due on His Son and humanity’s agapáo is to believe in Who He is.  This is the simplicity of the Good News: fully loved, fully chosen, fully selected, fully forgiven, fully righteous, fully reborn, fully live forever with God, fully whole.  This is how I see myself daily in the facts of all Jesus did for me on the Cross.   He does not want a groveling child but a child that is confident in what their Big Brother has done for them, what their Daddy did for them…living from that place of reassurance, embraced by the Holy Spirit our Helper…why not come join me in this safe place.