I run into so many Christians who are convinced God is mad at them. They will say “oh this happening because I did this and God is punishing me”, or “I haven’t been walking with the Lord and my life is a mess”. Admittedly, I have had similar thoughts. I have worried that I haven’t attended church enough or read my Bible enough or prayed enough or served enough and on and on. The reality is God loves us. God created us with a desire to have relationship with us. God sacrificed His own son so that the relationship between Him and us would be full and unencumbered. Think about it, would God really do all that He has done to reconcile mankind to Him so that He could be mad at them. It doesn’t make sense.
But don’t take my word for it, here’s His.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
What the Apostle Paul is explaining to us is that those who are followers of Jesus have a transformed relationship with God. We are no longer on the outside of God’s grace, we are no longer the objects of God’s wrath or anger. Simply, God is not mad at us.
I think the challenge for most of us is to let go of the way we understand how relationships work. For many of us we think that we have to act a certain way and do certain things to be accepted in relationships. We are keenly aware of what to do and what not to do to make sure those we are relating to are happy with us or not mad at us. We can’t apply this formula to God. We have to look at all He has done out of love for us and learn to rest in the fact that there was nothing we did, good or bad, to cause Him act that way.
Finally, if I am powerless to cause God to love me, how could I somehow have the power to cause Him to be angry with me? Like I said before. It doesn’t make sense. Christian, God is not mad at you.
Father, thank you so much for your love and grace. Thank you Lord Jesus for your work of reconciliation and your example. Help me rest in the reality of your love and peace. In Jesus name, Amen.
1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. (ESV)
Do you ever feel alone? Do you ever feel so stressed that all you want to do is find somewhere and hide? Do you ever feel like you are just waiting for the next bad thing to happen in your life? Do ever feel like no matter how hard your try there is always going to be something that brings you down? It almost seems like the world is against you.
I know there have been times in my life when I would have answered yes to all of the questions above. I know there are times when I have felt that the world was against me. I also know that if I embrace the negative assertions about life I can easily slip into a depression that paralyzes me. Depression that paralyzes my ability to relate to others, my ability to be productive in society, and my desire to pursue God. So my question is how do I reconcile this struggle with my life of faith in Jesus? Today’s verses give us some guidance.
Paul is teaching us that there is a reality for Christians that we have to be mindful to remember. The reality for those God has saved is that they have died to the old life of despair and now live in the new life of the Spirit. The challenging idea is that the old life of despair is still alive inside of us and tries at every turn to influence the way we interact with the new life. One example is worry. Scripture assures us that we have nothing to worry about, yet in moments of financial, relational, or almost any situation it is easy to yield to the voice in our heads that says “hey you should be worried”. The voice of despair is teaching us that we are still condemned.
So what is the application? The reality is that there is a war raging inside of us and we are constantly challenged to put to death the old life. We are dead to the old life in that we are no longer bound to submit to its desires but it still tries to sway and influence us. The application is that we have to continually strive to live in this new reality of our life in Christ. We must let the Spirit who dwells in us has His way with us. We must trust in His power to conform us to the image of Christ, but we must realize this conforming comes only in our submission to Him and in the rejection of the old life.
Which life are you living in?
Heavenly Father, thank you for another day. Thank you God that we are no longer condemned. Thank you God that have sustained us and now you send us out again to be your light in a dark world. Help us Father hold down the very darkness that lives in our flesh. Empower us Spirit to yield to your leading and conform us to image of Jesus whom we serve. We Jesus name. Amen.