We are beginning a new series of study today. I want to dig deep into the Word of God and reveal the truth about condemnation and conviction and repentance. These are words many are familiar with. We hear them in church often. The real question is do we understand what these words actually mean?
Now, I am not referring to what we think they mean. Not referencing what tradition teaches what they mean. Rather I'm referring to what does God's Word actually teach they mean. That being said I'd like to take a little time and address the concepts of condemnation and conviction and repentance.
The truth about Condemnation.I want to begin this study by revealing what the Scriptures have to say about condemnation. You see, most believers and unbelievers alike are familiar with the concept of condemnation. Many simply see it as a pointed finger of disapproval. Or someone who has their own closet full of "secret sins", looking disapprovingly at everyone else.
Many, ministries are quick to state they aren't preaching condemnation. That they aren't a ministry of condemnation yet, all they proclaim is a mixture of grace and Law. Their message to all is one of continued performance, uncertainty concerning relationship with God, and a conditional salvation.
So that there be no confusion, as to what condemnation is I want to go the Word of God as the final authority on this subject.
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus Romans 8:1 NLT
This is as clear as it gets. We aren't under any condemnation once we are in Christ. Someone may object to this citing the traditional King James translation of this passage. It says we aren't under condemnation only if we walk in the Spirit, not in the flesh. If you walk in the flesh you are under condemnation. I even heard a minister preach this. "If you feel condemned then quit walking in the flesh and start walking in the Spirit". The truth is the oldest original manuscripts don't have that added "clause" to this passage. It is simply not the Word of God. The Word is clear we aren't under condemnation.
Some preachers just wanted to use that "clause" to excuse their preaching of fear and judgment to their flock. They enjoy beating the sheep not feeding the sheep. I have a good question to these "ministers". If we aren't under any condemnation why try to place the people of God back under guilt or shame or some message that makes them "feel" bad?
All you have done so far is to prove we aren't under condemnation. What is condemnation defined as from the Word? Glad you asked. There are several words used for condemnation in the Greek. All of them have one common theme. An adverse or damnatory sentence. In other words, "this is it for you!" An adverse sentence means you lose. You're wrong, and you will receive the just recompense for your actions.
If you are ministering the Word to someone or telling them about the Lord and you are passing an adverse sentence on them you're ministering condemnation. Now if an unbeliever asks about hell and eternal separation, it doesn't mean you have passed an adverse sentence on them by answering them. Not passing judgment but there is an eternal separation for those who reject the free gift of grace, (this is the only reason, not because of some particular sin or immoral lifestyle, not advocating "sinful living" either). Let me be clear though that is not the good news and that is not what we are called to proclaim to the lost.
If we teach Heaven beautiful, Jesus as always good, and Father God as loving and merciful we will see more lives changed and the lost running to God. No need to preach hell hot as some traditions proclaim. Scaring people to come to God only produces fearful believers. These will only participate in religious exercises (prayer, church attendance and giving) because they believe this is what is demanded of them. They also feel God is angry with them and will smite them if they don't perform these tasks well enough.
I'm not advocating Universalism, (I do believe in an eternal separation for those who reject grace. A gift no matter how free must still be received.) I am clearly saying though preach the good news and people will accept the Lord and not reject Him. There is no need to preach hell and you better turn or burn! Scaring the lost only works on a short term basis anyway. After they leave a crusade or church and get around their friends they will feel "comfort" and forget about eternal damnation. Tell them God loves them and that God isn't imputing their sin to them any longer then the rejection and brokenness they live with will lose its grip and they will find peace and hope. It is God's goodness that produces change.
This subject is like an onion. The more you peel back the more you see. We need to proclaim God's goodness and grace to all. This is the message that will produce the desired results of new life and changed hearts and minds.
We will continue looking at condemnation next time and reveal how condemnation kills and stagnates growth in Christ. I trust this message blessed you and encouraged you. Remember you aren't under any condemnation. You're in Christ and you're loved and accepted. He delights in you, let His love flow radically through you to others.