Comforting Words of Peace
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
This has been a troubling week so far in North America. We are trying to restart the economy; many like myself are going back to work and beginning the drudge of rebuilding companies and as with me in the case of sales, getting to learn to sell cars a new way. We have less contact, no handshakes and a lot of emails. We are in the middle of a perceived racism scandal with the police force in Minneapolis and the fallout from that. We are beginning to see more clearly the treasonous actions of the former administration in the US with regard to the sitting President, and we have a slew of Governors who are stepping outside of their constitutional authority to impose restrictions on anyone they choose and, in a willy-nilly fashion.
At the same time, we here in Canada have seen our Federal Government set out a plan to restrict rather suddenly the lawful ownership of many guns. And, as if to add gasoline to a raging fire, the proverbial plaster has been ripped off the wound of Long-Term Care here in Southern Ontario. The LTC information hits close to home as my wife has been working in LTC for the better part of 16 years and has often spoken to me about the lack of resources and personnel. It would seem that heads are going, and maybe some will be arrested.
When we come through a week like we just did, we need to have some words of comfort to get us through. We need a sure word that calms the storms and put things into the right focus. I had several persons write to me last week about their struggle with their faith. Amen. It is okay to have struggles and to have internal fights. It is okay to at times want to leave. Even the Apostle Peter quit once (see John 21), and he was going back to fishing. Just this week a young man, the lead singer of the Christian band Hawk Nelson, announced that he was no longer a believer in God. This happens to a lot of young people who grow up in pastors’ homes.
They know the right answers and know how to act, they know the jargon, but many never even truly come to faith. This is rampant even in the scriptures, Aaron’s sons were rebellious, Samuel’s kids were useless for the ministry, and Israel used their inabilities and corruption to ask for a king. In 1 Samuel 1 and 2, we find out that Eli’s sons were corrupt and brought shame to Eli’s name. I do not know the heart of this young man; he may just be going through a phase like Peter did and he wants to walk away. But what I do know is that if one is truly saved, he or she cannot deny that Jesus is the Christ. We find this in 1 John 2:22.
So far in this study, we have looked at some harsh truths: Romans 3:10, “There is none righteous, not one”; 2:23, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”; 6:23, “The wages of sin is death,” and on we can go.
Last week we looked at the battle that rages within the saved person’s body and mind – the fight between the spirit and the flesh. It can be physically tiring and mentally exhausting. I want you to recall that it is us that added the divisions to the Bible to make it more readable. The Holy Spirit-inspired author – in this case, Paul – simply wrote a letter. So, we can see that Romans 8:1 was a needed salve to the wounds inflicted on the saved in the previous chapters. Talk of our sinful state before salvation, talk of the price of our salvation, and then the battle that we live in, day in and day out. And so, the Holy Spirit via the pen of this great apostle offers us a bit of light, a ray of hope, a sense of relief and a source of joy that overrides the pains of the previous chapters.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” If one, if you, if I, if we are truly saved, we have heard the Gospel, been convicted by the Holy Spirit and then have called on the name of Jesus, believing that He is God in the flesh, that He is the Christ and that He is raised from the dead, the death He paid for our sins – my sins, your sins and the sins of the whole world – then to us, there is no condemnation before God. Even when we have that struggle; even when, like Peter, we may decide in a moment of struggle to go back to fishing, there is no condemnation.
The word condemnation is defined as the expression of disapproval; the act of punishing or sentencing in regard to wrongdoing. But, in Jesus, to those of us in Jesus – those covered in His blood and whose multitude of sins have been washed away, cast into the depths of the sea according to Micah 7:18-19 – we have no condemnation from the Lord. We, by virtue of being saved, walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. We have received a new heart, a living heart, not a dead one; and we have become living stones (1 Peter 2:5); we have no condemnation from God to us.
What more do we really need? What else can calm the soul, still the mind and bring peace to the man struggling with the flesh? What peace we have in Jesus; peace with God and the peace of God in us. And so, in this tumultuous week – this week that has caused so much stress and pain, this week that has shaken the trust of so many and hurt the already raw nerves of many people – take some time to rejoice in Romans 8:1. Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth (not just the silver and gold, but the troubles and trials too) will grow strangely dim in the Light of His glory and grace.
If you are not a child of Jesus – if you are not saved, redeemed and counted amongst those written in the Lamb’s Book of Life – then take a good look around you and enjoy the world as it is. Why, you ask? It is about to get worse as mankind spirals downwards towards the return of Jesus and the final judgment. If you want some hope, if you want some Romans 8:1 in your life, to help, to carry, to help you focus and to help you through, then you need Jesus.
I leave you with John 14:6,
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'”
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church