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Condemnation and Conviction

December 19th, 2013

Whenever our hearts condemn us . . God is greater than our hearts.1 John 3:20 NIV.

Conviction offers restoration; condemnation threatens separation.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “condemnation and conviction.”

There are times when you will behave badly. A sadness of heart results, maybe even degrees of shame. You try to ignore it, but an internal uneasiness makes that difficult. The real issue is not that you failed to measure up to others’ criteria; the sadness or shame you feel is rooted in a diminished expectation of yourself.

That recognition is a good sign of a healthy, God-given sensitivity, “[demonstrating] that God’s law is written within their hearts, for their own consciences either accuse them or tell them they are doing what is right.” Romans 2:14-15 NLT/NKJV. What is more important than to know right from wrong? God does not leave such to personal interpretation. Read James 4:17 NIV.

The Holy Spirit, who is within you, is grieved when you violate your innate knowledge of right and wrong. Yet that is an experience common to all. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 NKJV. The Spirit is God’s gift, and arbiter of the Word of God as well as the Law of God, written on your heart and expressed in your conscience. See also Acts 24:16 NKJV.

Paul admonished the Christ-followers at Ephesus, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:30 NKJV. Those who continually disregard the pleadings of the Holy Spirit risk what the Bible describes as, “having their conscience seared [as] with a hot iron.” 1 Timothy 4:2 NKJV. To a stubborn heart wrong appears right and right seems wrong. Believe me; that is not a place you want to find yourself. John 3:19-20 NKJV.

Ignoring the discomfort within yourself or refusing the pleadings of the gentle Holy Spirit who comes to “convince the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness” (See John 16:8 NKJV),you will feel guilt and its resultant shame. Be advised of the distinction you must understand between condemnation and conviction.

The Bible is clear, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1-2 NKJV. God convicts; the devil condemns. They can feel similar, almost indistinguishable, though they are not alike at all. The difference is in their intent and result, not in the regret or emotions you feel.

(10) Examine the intent. Without equivocation, I assure you God did not send His Son to condemn you; He came to save you! The Bible declares, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17 NKJV. Whereas, the devil is described as, “the accuser.” Revelation 12:10 NKJV. He wishes only your harm. See John 10:10 NIV.

(2) Consider the results. “Who then will condemn us? Will Christ Jesus? No, for he is the One who died for us and was raised to life for us . .nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God . .” Romans 8:33-39 NLT. Conviction offers restoration; condemnation threatens separation. “This then is how we . . set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything.” 1 John 3:19-20 NIV. Conviction creates repentance; condemnation only produces impotent regret . . but “God is greater than our hearts . .”

My prayer for you today is that you heart remains at rest before God.

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A Clean Slate

December 16th, 2009

“You were redeemed . . with the precious blood of Christ.” 1 Peter 1:18-19 NIV

“The slate has been wiped clean; God is giving you a fresh start.”

My thoughts today are about “a clean slate.”

The expression, a clean slate, comes from a slate upon which a tavern’s daily bill of fare was written in soft chalk to be easily erased for a new day’s menu, and from a previous generation of school children who wrote their lessons or answers in chalk on a small slate – or chalkboard. The slate could easily be wiped clean and ready for another use. Since the mid 1800’s the expression has been used figuratively to describe a fresh start, a new beginning without old baggage, or the act of wiping out old offences or debts.

That is a practical picture of today’s verse. The entire record of everything – unintended or unimagined – that ever was done by you that was unworthy and unholy is wiped clean when you invite Jesus into your life as Savior. See John 3:16-17 NKJV. God’s forgiveness gives you a clean slate – a new, and fresh start. I love the Apostle Paul’s words to the Corinthian Christians, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to Himself through Christ . . for God was in Christ . . no longer counting people’s sins against them.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-19 NLT.

Think of how wonderful that is. All the things that you cannot forget that you have done, let alone forgive yourself for ever doing, have been erased forever – once and for all – by the sacrifice of Jesus, God’s Son on a cross. The slate has been wiped clean; you are given a fresh start. A redemption that you could never have purchased yourself is freely afforded you in salvation.

A friend of mine has said this, “At the cross, God set a price on the value of your soul so high that He could not be outbid.” That unequalled price was the death of His Son taking your place. See 2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV. Some years ago a chorus was written that included these lines, “I owed a debt I could not pay; He paid a debt He did not owe.”

That’s why you cannot save yourself. Never could, never will. The Bible asks a rhetorical question whose answer is obvious and certain, “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies! Who is he that condemns?” Romans 8:33-34 NIV. There is no accuser left standing for the truly redeemed. Here’s Paul’s description of your clean slate, “Think of it! All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ’s cross. He stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe of their sham authority and marched them naked through the streets.” Colossians 2:14-15 The Message.

My prayer for you today is: live in freedom from sins past, present, or future. Galatians 5:1 NIV.

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