Romans 8:1 (AMP) Therefore there is now no condemnation [no guilty verdict, no punishment] for those who are in Christ Jesus [who believe in Him as personal Lord and Savior].
This verse is often misquoted. Did Paul say this in retaliation or relief? Was it in defense or comfort? When do you use this verse? Is it in an argument? Are you being defensive? Is it because you have become offended by correction by those in leadership over you?
I can become defensive and I have to remind myself of this verse,”Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:5 (KJV). Why? I will often come up with scenarios as why someone jumped to that conclusion about me. It is a defense mechanism I came up with when I was a child. I was the oldest and was given a lot of responsibility at an early age. I felt pressure to be perfect. If I was not perfect, if I had messed up, then I was shamed for it. I became isolated. I felt very alone as a result of the silent treatment I was given because I did not meet expectations. I have really worked hard on not having defense come up when a question comes up on why I make certain decision or what I am doing. I still have not become perfect in my response, but that’s okay. Charles Spurgeon once said, “I have a great need for Christ. I have a great Christ for my need.” So I apologize and move ahead.
Have you ever thought that this main verse may be the continuation of a thought? This is not the beginning of the thought process, it is his conclusion. Read it in context for the fullness. “Therefore” should not be where we plant our flag if we have not taken the time to find out how Paul got here.
Romans 7:14-25 (AMP) “We know that the Law is spiritual, but I am a creature of the flesh [worldly, self-reliant—carnal and unspiritual], sold into slavery to sin [and serving under its control]. For I do not understand my own actions [I am baffled and bewildered by them]. I do not practice what I want to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate [and yielding to my human nature, my worldliness—my sinful capacity]. Now if I habitually do what I do not want to do, [that means] I agree with the Law, confessing that it is good (morally excellent). So now [if that is the case, then] it is no longer I who do it [the disobedient thing which I despise], but the sin [nature] which lives in me. For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh [my human nature, my worldliness—my sinful capacity]. For the willingness [to do good] is present in me, but the doing of good is not. For the good that I want to do, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want to do, I am no longer the one doing it [that is, it is not me that acts], but the sin [nature] which lives in me. So I find it to be the law [of my inner self], that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully delight in the law of God in my inner self [with my new nature], but I see a different law and rule of action in the members of my body [in its appetites and desires], waging war against the law of my mind and subduing me and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is within my members. Wretched and miserable man that I am! Who will [rescue me and] set me free from this body of death [this corrupt, mortal existence]? Thanks be to God [for my deliverance] through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind serve the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh [my human nature, my worldliness, my sinful capacity—I serve] the law of sin.”
If you believe that wrestling is condemnation, you are mistaken. Wrestling with your flesh should not bring you to condemnation, it should bring you closer to Christ. Your conclusion should not be condemnation, it should be Jesus. That is exactly what Paul is saying here. Paul was battling with himself that he knew to do write but his flesh did not want to. Have you ever gotten the “just don’t want to’s.” Paul recognized that he fought that. What did he turn to? Condemnation will in turn bring us to the door way of depression with thoughts of “I’m not good enough,” or “I will never be able to do that.”
When my Eli was in little league, at about the age of 10, he played a game that his batting was really bad. He is a wonderful ball player, but some days they have a bad day. He hung his head in shame. He talked about how bad of a player he was and how he let the team down. I had to remind him of the great play he made in the outfield and that he brought more to the team than his batting average. Some days you cannot get into the momentum of hitting. That is okay. He cannot give up. He needs to go back to practice and try again. He kept at it and is now playing in high school.
You see condemnation comes from the enemy. It is the voice of shame urging us to believe that our heavenly Father is shaking His head at us in disappointment and disgust, His arms crossed and His heart closed. If you notice that I said enemy and not people (Ephesians 6:12). Choose how you receive the words of people or you start to believe they are against you and they are your enemy, when they are really trying to help you and love you. Condemnation is often a result of my refusal to own up to my faults and refuse to change to His reflection. Conviction comes from the Holy Spirit. It is the voice of grace beckoning us to run to Jesus, repent, receive mercy, and run the race before us in His transforming power and grace. Do you believe your leaders pray for you and hear God? Often times they are telling you something that the Holy Spirit has already been dealing with you.
Read the full story. Look at your ‘why on how you respond to correction. The end result should not be isolation and shutting people out because you believe they are condemning you. Remember you do not fight against flesh and blood. We are called to a body and if there is someone rubbing the ruff edges off of you, thank Jesus that they are. You are growing. Allow the Holy Spirit to do the work in and through you. Come out of shame and into His marvelous light. Own up to your faults and grow. I am not where I want to me, but I am not where I use to be.