Much of the Christian life is about believing right. Unfortunately religion in many cases has made it all about getting our behavior straightened out. Yet the radial truth of grace is that the very moment we start to believe right as far as our identity in Christ is concerned, our behavior will take care of itself.
Romans 8:1 tells us, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Friend, have you ever realized the destructive cycle that comes out of living in guilt and condemnation? A person who is constantly living in guilt over something that may have happened in their past, or someone who carries an ongoing sense of condemnation—and on top of that believes that God is condemning them—has more or less cut themselves off from being able to receive the fullness of what the precious blood of Jesus has made available. Nothing keeps us bound to sin more than living in sin consciousness.
Yet there is “no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus!” When Jesus came into this earth and died on the cross for our sins, He made it possible for all of our guilt and condemnation to be removed once and for all—if we would simply accept this precious gift of His love!
In order to fully receive what Jesus has made available, we must understand and receive by faith who He has made us to be in Him. Realize that the very moment you gave your life to Jesus, He has completely changed who you are at the core of your being. He has changed the deepest part of you, which is your spirit. Remember that we are spirit beings, we possess a soul—our mind, will and emotions—and we live in physical bodies.
The part of you that got born again when you gave your life to Christ is your spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:17 tells us, “But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” To be joined unto the Lord means that Jesus is the Lord of your life; one spirit with the Lord means that your born again, recreated spirit has taken on a nature that is spiritually identical to Jesus. In other words, it is the spirit part of you that has been made perfectly righteous in Him. It is for this reason that God, who cannot lie, can look at you and call you righteous. God being a Spirit (John 4:24), first and foremost deals with us in our spirits. And those of us who have been born again have been made perfect in our spirits, which is why the Bible talks about “the spirits of just men made perfect.” (see Hebrews 12:23)
And so there is no condemnation to those who walk “not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” And what ultimately determines whether we are walking after the flesh or after the Spirit is our identity. Are we identifying with who we used to be in the flesh, or have we shifted our identity towards who we have been made to be in Christ? To walk according to the Spirit is to walk according to who we are in Christ. It is to understand that the old sin nature which had been working in our spirits to produce sin and death which yields in guilt and condemnation, has been completely destroyed the moment we got in Christ, and in Him we have received a new born again nature—the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. (see 2 Corinthians 5:21)
And so to experience freedom from guilt and condemnation, our task becomes to shift our identity towards who we are in Christ. This shifting of our identity is the work of believing right. The more that we believe right, the more will we live right. This is what the renewing of the mind is all about. As we replace our thoughts with God’s thoughts about us, as we get our words to align with His Word, and as we keep our eyes on Jesus, the Holy Spirit will work in us to give us a revelation of the depths of His love for us, and the glory of His finished works which He has wrought for us on the cross. This is what enables Romans 8:16 to come into effect, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,”—and that’s when all guilt and condemnation must flee.
Father, I thank You for the precious gift of Your love. Thank You, Jesus, for everything Your finished works have made available. I receive Your great love for me that You demonstrated on the cross when You took all of my sin, all of my guilt, and all of my condemnation so that I would no longer need to carry it. I receive now by faith that I am the righteousness of God in You, Lord, and that I am equipped and empowered to live a victorious, godly and overcoming life. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Romans 8:1; Romans 8:16; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 6:17; John 4:24; Hebrews 12:22-24; Romans 6:6; Romans 12:1-2