The Sweet and Strong Assurance of "No Condemnation"
Read: John 3:36; Isaiah 44:22; Romans 8:1; John 20:30-31
What can we know for certain? Is being sure of something important or can we simply adopt a wait and see attitude? Is almost certain good enough? The answers to these few questions depend on the one being queried and the importance of what isn't known.
For example, whether it might rain tomorrow might be fairly important to someone whose heart is set on playing tennis. Yet, even if when the weather man says that there is a 20% chance of precipitation, and it rains cats and dogs anyway, a person suffers no long-lasting loss by having hoped for sunshine. Many situations in life fall into that category. When push comes to shove, hoping for an expected outcome sometimes proves to be accurate and sometimes not.
What about something that is truly out of this world? Eternity and where we will spend it. I have read quotes by people who have stated that they will find out when they die where they will go next. I have heard others who are counting on the fact that they try to do good things. They are hoping that their kind deeds will stack up higher than their misdeeds. Please know that I am not mocking these people because I used to live with the hope that I might be good enough when I stood before God; however, I was not confident that I would measure up.
How many kind things would I have to do in order to make up for the wrongs that I had committed? If only there were a chart to check off my progress, but what about the sins that I forgot or the ones that God might consider to be worse than I did? What if I missed something that I didn't take into account? Or, even worse, what if there were a wrong I had done that God wouldn't ever forgive?
How certain of being with Jesus in heaven is good enough? Is 99% certain that I'll be with the Lord good enough? My answer is no. Not when that 1% means there is a chance--even a small one-- of being in hell, away from God and all that is good and beautiful forever.
I'm so thankful that God doesn't want us to live in uncertainty concerning where we will spend eternity. The Good News? It is not dependent upon my good deeds outweighing my bad ones. Where we will spend eternity rests on the finished work of Jesus, John 19:30 and whether we choose to rest our hope in that work or not. What is incredible concerning what the Savior has accomplished is that He has provided forgiveness for every sin I have committed in the past, every sin I will commit today and every sin I will commit during the remainder of my life. None of my sins is excluded from the grace-bought forgiveness that Jesus holds out as a gift to us, Ephesians 2:8-9.
I love the picture of that forgiveness provided for us in Isaiah 44:22. I remember when I was a little girl living in the Midwest. We would look up at the bright blue sky with its puffy large clouds. We saw bunnies and marshmallow pillows floating around. They seemed to be close enough to touch. Beautiful! Yet, when they were gone, the sky was once again clear without a trace of them. Looming dark clouds are the same. My husband has been in hurricanes with their ominous clouds. Yet, when the storm passes, the sky is often blue, displaying no remnants of those threatening clouds. Whether the clouds are lovely or foreboding. Eventually, they are swept away and can't ever be found again. That's the picture of what He has done with every sin. They have been swept away never to be counted against us.
In Romans 8:1, God once again paints His picture of forgiveness with a beauty that we can understand. When we belong to Him, there is no condemnation for us. No, not any at all. As those who are cleansed whiter than snow, 1 John 1:7; Isaiah 1:18, we will never be punished for our sins. God is not waiting to bring them up against us. Why? Not because of any good we have done. No, it is because Jesus already received the punishment for them, and we are no longer under the wrath of God, John 3:36. Jesus already bore all of our shame and the penalty that we deserved. In Him, no condemnation is on us! Instead, we have traded our sin and shame for Jesus perfect righteousness, 2 Corinthians 5:21. How sweet and strong His assurance is. The certainty we have is unbreakable, Hebrews 6:16-20. It is the word of the God Who cannot lie, Numbers 23:19; Titus 1:2.
Lord, show us how to humbly tell others about Your love for them and how they can receive it.