This past weekend I was on a retreat with about 50 college students and young adults. It was a blast. Seriously, I love getting to guide the next generation into a deeper relationship with Jesus.
Over this weekend, though, I noticed something troubling. Many of the students I love and lead struggle with feelings of condemnation. This perplexed me, because most of them know what is true about them. Meaning, they know God loves, and forgives them. They know there is now no condemnation for them. But for whatever reason, they can’t or they won’t rest in God’s love. So here is something I started telling them, and perhaps something that you need to hear too.
God doesn’t play games . Meaning, he doesn’t say one thing and mean another. He is serious when he says there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. He isn’t joking when he says that Jesus came not to condemn us but to save us. Furthermore, God wants us to put these truths on as a life-vest to keep us afloat in the moments when Satan tries to drown us in a sea of guilt and condemnation. So again, God is serious when he says in Romans 1:8 that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
To be “in Christ Jesus” means that you are in a relationship with Jesus by faith. Faith in Jesus means that you trust that Jesus died in your place and for your sin and Jesus rose for your life and salvation. When you place your faith in Jesus, the Bible says your old sinful self is put to death with Jesus and you rise to a new life of love, joy, and freedom in Jesus.
On this side of eternity Satan will try to destroy the life and freedom you have found in Jesus by overwhelming you with condemnation.
Satan does this by reminding you of your sins. So he whispers to you the truth about who you once were and what you once did, without whispering to you the truth about who Jesus is and what Jesus has done for you. Additionally, Satan showers down guilt by bringing back images you desperately want to forget. So he recounts to your soul the seriousness of your sin without recounting the great beauty of your savior.
Here is the truth: Christ has died. Christ is risen and in him there is no condemnation.
So today make a commitment to slam the doors on Satan’s lies. And open your heart up to the truth of the gospel – yes, you are more sinful than you ever imagined but you are also more loved than you ever dared to hope. In Christ, your past is forgiven and your future is full of hope because there is now no condemnation for those who are in Jesus.