When I was younger I saw a TV commercial about forgiveness. It was animated and had a story of two ranchers one rich and one poor. As the story unfolded the poor rancher stole one of the rich ranchers cows and was caught by the cow hands and when they brought him to the owner they all said “string him up it will teach him a lesson” but the owner said “Forgive him it will teach him a lesson” We must learn to forgive and to forgive and forgive the right way.
One of if not the most destructive things a person can have is condemnation. When in condemnation one will suffer from all kinds of things like depression, sickness, fear, strife the effects of condemnation are very damaging. And if a person uses condemnation to try to correct or punish then they are operating in witchcraft (manipulation for intimidation to bring domination) it is really the ministry of the devil. Because the devil will try to condemn you about EVERYTHING and ANYTHING he can, it is his greatest tool.
If you work hard and get some overtime on the job then he will say you don’t spend enough time with your family, if you stay home then he will condemn you for being lazy. No matter what you do it will never satisfy the devil, I know people who are the same way.
But when you are free from condemnation then it is a victorious life to live indeed, not a life of sin or licentiousness as some would want you to believe. Many Christians stay in condemnation all the time because they don’t understand what Jesus has done for them through his death, burial and resurrection. When you are covered by the blood of Jesus you are free from condemnation (Romans 8:1). How? Because you are dead to sin, and live no longer in it.
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
The question is this “How shall we, who are dead to sin, live in it any longer in it” many misinterpret this as saying that they are dead to the power and influence of sin or in other words some believe that when they are born again that sin no longer has any influence on them. But the divine reasoning of Jesus and the Apostles is this, that when a person is free from condemnation then sin loses its power. The problem is condemnation.
Remember John 8: 1-2 the story of the woman caught in adultery, they (legal, religious folk) you can always pick them out they have no joy, always judging somebody else and pointing at the person who they feel is wrong in some way and will try to get as many other people involved with them as they can so they can feel justified in themselves.
Jesus dealt with the sin and did not side step the sin issue he did not say “don’t stone her show some mercy, no he said “if you are without sin throw the first stone” no one there could do that, except for Jesus and he would not do it, so one by one they all left.
Jesus ask this woman a question “where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” It seems here that Jesus was more concerned with her condemnation than the sin. He is wanting to know about her accusers, he is wanting to know if she is still feeling shame, and feeling condemnation. You can see Jesus is wanting her to say something, he wants to hear certain words come out of her mouth. So what does she say “No one Lord”. And Jesus said to her “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” What are we seeing here? When you are free from condemnation you are empowered to go and sin no more. Why? Because you are able to use your faith without a sense of guilt and shame, you are enabled to have confidence and be bold.
I like a definition by E.W. Kenyon
“Righteousness is the ability to stand in the presence of a Holy God without any sense of guilt, inferiority, condemnation or shame of any kind.”
You see the work of Jesus is to remove darkness of every kind from your life, because his light that shines on you shows and points to his perfect work in you and not your own works. His light shows how clean you are by his blood, how perfect his righteousness is in you, how clean your conscience is by removing all your sins. Many of the problems Christians are having today are because of condemnation, they are in bondage and are often helped to stay that way by other people who try to bring condemnation all the time.
Back to Romans.
Rom 6:9-11 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Jesus died for our sins, and the Bible teaches not only did he die for our sins but he died to sin at the cross, “once for all”. How did Jesus die to sin? You see we must understand verses 9 & 10 if we are to understand how “we who are dead to sin should live any longer therein” Verse 11 starts with a key word “Likewise” (in the same manner) you also, reckon (take into account, calculate, count over, meditate) yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. So this being dead to sin question must be answered, if we are to reckon ourselves or take into account what is in our spiritual bank then we must answer a questions about Jesus.
Did the Lord Jesus die to….
- a) The power and influence of sin. No, Jesus came in flesh and blood but he had no sin nature, no lusts to be tempted by, (Hebrews 4:15) For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. In us we have the flesh a sin nature but Jesus had no such thing in him. Jesus had nothing for sin to attach itself to but we have. So was Jesus ever under the power and influence of sin….. No! So how did he die to sin on the cross, well for one thing for us as our substitute?
- b) The imputation (ascribed, or attributed.) guilt (condemnation) and penalty of sin? God took our sins and put them on Jesus. Is this how he died to sin? YES for us as our substitute!! Glory to God forever! So LIKEWISE you RECKON yourself dead to the imputation the guilt or condemnation and penalty of sin because you are in Christ.
Sin is still sin and the power of sin comes in when we forget to reckon the truth. The truth is you have been redeemed and condemnation is not imputed to you because of the blood of Jesus. Now the next verse, verse 12 becomes something you can do if you understand verse 11 and verse 10 of Romans.
Romans 6:12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. Many Christians try to practice verse 12 without understanding the power of the previous verses and what Jesus has done for us by his death, burial and resurrection. Sins power is no more over you, you are no longer under condemnation but are now under justification.
If Jesus Christ was who He claimed to be, and He did die on a cross at a point of time in history, then, for all history past and all history future it is relevant because that is the very focal point for forgiveness and redemption. – Josh McDowell
So then what does all this have to do with forgiveness and forgiving the right way? I will tell you. One man I know handled his children like this when they did something wrong and got into trouble. They would come to him and would say “dad I’m sorry forgive me” and he would always forgive them and afterword it would never be brought up again because that was the end of it. Where did he learn how to do that? He learned it from Jesus, because our Father is that way. His children then did not have to walk around in condemnation and guilt afterword wondering if it were over or if he was going to start fussing at them again. No they knew it was finished.
Likewise Jesus has forgiven you the same way, he is not holding your sin against you he is not accusing you or remembering the sin any longer. Well then when someone, perhaps your wife or husband or mother, your children or friends come to you and say “forgive me” don’t say ah don’t worry about it or forget it I am your husband……no when they say forgive me, they need to hear you say “I forgive you, completely” look your child in the face and say “daddy forgives you, completely” and what does that mean? That means do your best to never, ever bring it up again.
Why that is so important because when we understand that is the way God is with us then we can rest in his forgiveness and not have condemnation. That puts you in a position to be well to be free to know that God wants you to be dead to condemnation and sin means you are alive to the joy and strength of the Lord.
(1 Corinthians 15:34) Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.
It means we can go to God in confidence and in faith knowing we are clean we are righteous in Him and he is not mad with us. When we have this understanding then we can receive our healing and all the other benefits that come to us through Jesus Christ.
Until next time remember look to your future and not to the past, learn to live in the grace of God and love much forgive always and hold no bitterness toward anyone.