We have all suffered under the guilt, power, and condemnation of sin. We all know what a cruel taskmaster sin can be. We all have experienced the misery, heartache, and suffering that sin can cause us – how it destroys our relationships, our life, our souls. But there is good news!
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1). The word “therefore” indicates that Romans 8 is a pivotal chapter. What Paul writes here is based on all that he wrote before in the book of Romans: The condemnation of the whole world (1-3), the blessing of salvation for all through faith in Jesus Christ (4-5), the moment we died to sin to live for God (6).
In the more immediate context, Chapter 7, Paul describes his life before becoming a Christian. Sin ruled his life. He was spiritually dead, separated from God by sin. At the end of the chapter, he cries out in desperation to be delivered and thanks God for the only One who can deliver him – Jesus Christ, our Lord (vv. 24-25).
Therefore, now there is no condemnation in Christ! What a beautiful, wonderful, inspiring, encouraging thought – no condemnation! Every sinner wants to hear those words. Imagine yourself before a judge having been convicted on many counts of violating the law, having served for years in the penitentiary on death row, but on this day the judge pronounces you, “Not guilty!” That means that you are pardoned, forgiven of all your crimes, no longer under the sentence of death, free to enter back into society to live your life.
Well now that is a physical picture of the spiritual things Paul is writing about here – we are pronounced “Not guilty!” by God, forgiven of all our sins, no longer separated from God, free from the rule of sin to live a new life of righteousness. We no longer walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit. That’s what we have in Christ!
How many of you have a hard time letting go of a grudge? You deeply resent someone for something they said or did, and you refuse to forgive that person. You can’t forget it. You keep talking to others about it. You plot to get even.
Herodias held a grudge against John because he had pointed out sin in her life. “Therefore Herodias held it against him and wanted to kill him…” (Read Mark 6:17-28).
Maybe none of us would go as far as Herodias with our grudges but often they cause us to live with great bitterness that causes us to lash out at others. How many relationships have been destroyed? How many times have we destroyed another’s character or reputation? Why? Because we would not let the thing rest until the opportunity to get even finally arrived.
Holding grudges can ruin your soul, the soul of others and bring great reproach upon Christ and His church. So, let's learn how God teaches us to let go of a grudge before we do anymore harm.
Be willing to forgive and forget.
Don’t keep a record of the wrongs you have suffered.
Look for good in the other person.
Reject a “get even” spirit.
Repent of your sins.
Go to the person and work it out between yourselves.
Grudge bearing can be serious and has eternal consequences. Let us always give diligence to follow God’s advice and eliminate holding grudges at home, school, or wherever they may exist…”looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled” (Heb. 12:15).
God could have held a lot of grudges against us, but He forgives and forgets it all (Heb. 8:12)! Won’t you receive His forgiveness, today?
(This article was adapted from "Nursing A Grudge" by Darryl Jocheus)
Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”
Two of the most comforting words you will ever hear are these – “no condemnation”. We all know we deserve condemnation, yet there is nothing we can do to deliver ourselves from it without Christ Jesus. He alone paid the price for our sins by His perfect sacrifice upon the cross (Isaiah 53:5-6; 2 Corinthians 5:19, 21; 1 Peter 2:24). So, think about these two words “no condemnation”. Ask yourself:
“And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’” (1 Peter 4:8).
Love is first, foremost, superior to everything else (Matthew 22:34-40; 1 Corinthians 13:13). It must be fervent, intense, enthusiastic, unceasing because it will cover a multitude of sins. What we need more than anything else is to love God and to love one another from the heart fervently!
Some feel sure that they are. Some aren’t too sure. But how can we know? John helps us to answer this question (1 John 1:5-9).
John first reminds us of the holiness of God. “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (v. 5). Light is a symbol of absolute sinlessness, truth and life (cf. John 1:1-9; 3:19-21; 8:12; 9:5; 12:35-36). God is separate from all evil, every falsehood and death. He is holy (cf. Psalms 99:3, 5; Hosea 11:9, 12).
We all offend one another. We should not want to and should try not to, but sometimes we do; sometimes without even realizing it. When we see that we have offended someone it should make us feel very bad. We should apologize and ask their forgiveness. We should try and make it right. We should try and be careful not to make the same mistake again, yet sometimes we do.
How do you respond to those you feel have mistreated you? Do you lash out in anger? Are you hostile? Do you withdraw, cutting off all ties? Do you turn on yourself?
Such negative responses are very harmful to all involved, especially to you. They will only hinder reconciliation and may destroy your relationship altogether. You are allowing the other person to determine how you feel and act. This is very enslaving and will ruin your life.
Lance wrote to tell me that though he grew up in the church, he hasn’t been in many years. His faith is shattered. He suffers from a serious disability. And, because of his selfish and promiscuous life he doesn’t think his marriage is going to survive. His cheating led to a little girl and he can’t forgive himself. Now he is drinking too much, ashamed and depressed. He writes, “This is too much to bear…Need God in my life and someone to talk to.”
A teacher asked the children in her Sunday School class, “If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale and gave all my money to the church, would I get into heaven?”
“NO!” the children all answered.
“If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy, would I get into heaven?”
Again, the answer was “NO!”
“Well,” she continued, “then how can I get to heaven?”
In the back of the room, a five-year-old boy shouted out, “You gotta be dead!”
Robert Dodson is the Preaching Minister for the Northwest Church of Christ.
6059 Azle Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76135