Grace tidings: A life free of condemnation

Doug Mamvura

“Neither will I condemn you, Go and sin no more” said Jesus to a woman caught in adultery (John 8:11). The people who brought her to Jesus were ready to see this woman stoned to death. What a powerful message of grace from our Lord Jesus Christ!

I wish we could preach this type of gospel in our churches today. Most of our messages today are about sin and condemnation laced with intimidation and fear. We are no different from these people who brought this woman to Jesus.

Church has become a place where we make people feel condemned by highlighting and focusing on their sins. That is not the true gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. We should preach the good news about God’s love for His people and His desire that none “should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3: 8-10). It is the goodness of God that lead men to repentance (Romans 2:4) not intimidation.

The absence of condemnation from God is what empowers us to repent and motivates us to turn from our sins. Repentance does not bring grace, instead it is grace that is the catalyst that brings repentance. The idea that if we repent God doesn’t condemn us is totally backward to what the Word of God teaches us. The prodigal son was loved, embraced and accepted before he made it home even before he accepted that he had sinned.

The truth is that God doesn’t condemn us. He said He wasn’t sent to condemn the world (John 12:47). How sad it is to see some of ministers of the gospel condemning God’s people and threatening them with God’s punishment instead of preaching about the love of God. Admittedly, if one does not accept Christ as their Saviour they will go to hell, however that should never be used to intimidate people to accept Christ. Intimidation gives a very wrong perspective of the true nature of God.

God is a loving Father whose love is unfathomable. Whilst we were yet sinners, He sent His only begotten Son to come and die for us. What a loving Father He is. Stop intimidating God’s people and share His love for them. When we begin to share the love of God for His people and His true nature as a Father, people will have no choice, but to fall in love with this Father. His goodness will draw people to Him as we continue to share it.

The book of Romans is a masterpiece from Apostle Paul on the message of grace and God’s love for His people. “Therefore, there is now no more condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1). It is this powerful and life changing truth that enables us to turn from sin. We have access to the throne of grace and mercy 24/7 not a throne of judgment — “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

What will give you the boldness to go to God is the knowledge that He sees you completely righteous. When Adam was condemned, he hid from God. Beloved when you fail, condemnation and guilt will cause you to run from God’s presence. It is a lie that condemnation and guilt will lead you back to God. What will give you the boldness to go to Him is the knowledge that He will never condemn you because you are in Jesus Christ.

The Christian army is the only army that kills its wounded soldiers. When someone falls, we are very quick to judge and condemn. The Bible says “a righteous man may fall seven times but he will rise up again”. Please note the Bible didn’t say a sinner because a sinner is already fallen anyway. This is a believer. God is a God of second chances. Any believer who has accepted Christ as their Lord and Saviour and believes that God raised Him from the dead is righteous. (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Look at King David, a man after God’s own heart. He committed adultery and murder and yet we hear he was a man after God’s own heart. He was always quick to repent whenever he fell. Some of us never give people a chance to recover when they fall. God is a gracious Father. He is “gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love”.

Do you want to see how our heavenly Father responds when you have failed? Look at the parable of the prodigal son which Jesus shared in Luke 15:11-24. We see a father who runs towards his prodigal son to embrace him the moment he sees him from a distance. Did you know that this father’s behaviour was contrary to the law of Moses? According to the law of Moses, if a man had a stubborn and rebellious son who refused to heed his parents, that man was supposed to bring his son to the elders of the city and all the men of his city were supposed to stone that son to death, so that they could turn away the evil from among them, and all Israel “shall hear and fear”.

Therefore, when Jesus shared the story of the prodigal son, all the Jewish people who heard Him would have been familiar with this law. However instead of the condemnation, and punishment that the rebellious son deserved under the law, Jesus revealed the Father’s heart of grace and forgiveness in the new covenant. However, at that point Jesus had not yet died to establish the new covenant of grace and the people listening to Him were all still under the law of Moses. Jesus was giving them the reality that we enjoy today.

Did the son sin against the father? Yes, most definitely, But did the father heap guilt and condemnation on his son before he received his son? No, he did not. In fact, the father did not even give his son the opportunity to finish his rehearsed speech.

This is the true Nature of our Father. He is a forgiving God who doesn’t condemn His people. He sees you and I through Christ. God placed the judgment of Law prescribed against us upon His Son.

Therefore, those who accept Jesus as their Saviour will not be condemned, because Jesus was condemned for us (Romans 8:3). This doesn’t mean that people should just be reckless with their lives and live in sin. Sin has consequences. God convicts for sin but He doesn’t condemn (Romans 8:34). Conviction is solely for our profit with no malice, while condemnation includes punishment. Satan is the one who condemns the Christian, but the Holy Spirit has given us the power to escape the condemnation.

We can see the Father’s heart of love for us even when we have failed Him. All we need is to take one step toward God and your loving Father in heaven will run toward you with no condemnation. God wants to reinstate you, wash you and “throw a party” because you came home. It is very sad that some of us preachers portray a totally different image of the Father.

We are the ones who make it very difficult for people to come back to God after they have fallen because we condemn them. It is very important that we throw away our religious ideas about God. You should know that your Father loves you, and accepts you just as you are, and He has all the power to help you when you fail and feel defeated.

Therefore, there is no need for you to walk in condemnation, as a child of God. Apostle Paul in Romans 8 makes it very clear that God has no adverse sentence against us once we accept Him. All our punishment has been placed on Jesus, and we don’t bear it. Christians who still walk in condemnation are being condemned by the devil or are condemning themselves. It is not God who condemns us (Romans 8:34).

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