There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Have you ever heard the story of Martin Luther? As a young monk, Luther wanted nothing more than to please God. But, like the rest of us, he struggled with sin and fleshly lusts. His way of dealing with this problem was to severely discipline his body. He felt that if he mistreated his flesh, it would somehow make him more godly.
One day he took a trip to Rome to walk the 28 steps of Pilate’s Staircase, the Scala Santa (Holy Stairs). He climbed those stairs—on his knees! Surely this painful sacrifice would garner favour with God, right? As the pain intensified on his skinned knees, he heard the voice of God say to him, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.” That revelation changed his life.
There are people today who still do hurtful things to their bodies thinking it will produce favour with God as they show Him they love Him. Some whip their backs until the blood flows to prove their love and atone for their sins. Others eat bland food, sleep on uncomfortable mountains, and take a vow of silence. There are even some in the Philippines who endure an actual crucifixion every Good Friday to suffer for Jesus, show their commitment, and earn God’s favour. Can you imagine?
Now I don’t suppose you are whipping your back over your sins, but are you beating yourself up nonetheless? Do you whip yourself emotionally, mentally and spiritually over the failures from the past? Lots of people say to themselves, “I am such a bum, a scum, and a loser. I committed this terrible, horrible sin. I am the worst! God must hate me. I hate me, too.”
Listen my friend, no matter what you have done, God certainly doesn’t hate you. He loves you! If you doubt that truth, simply take a mental trip to Calvary. Jesus took all the scourging, all the spittle, all the humiliation, and all the nails. He died for you and me, and “by His stripes we are healed.” He paid for all your sins and mine when He died on the cross. No matter how terrible the sin, we do not need to live under the whip of guilt and shame and condemnation because “there is therefore NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” All the wrath of God for our sins fell on Jesus. The moment we repent and receive Christ as Saviour and Lord, we receive a full pardon from the King. It is truly amazing grace!
If you are inclined to beat yourself up over past sins, let me encourage you to stop! If you have committed some horrible sexual sin or had an abortion or hurt your family with tremendous selfishness or betrayed a friend or whatever, fully confess it to God. Get that sin out of the shadows and under Christ’s blood. Make necessary amends with those you have hurt … and put down the whip!
Receive His grace and know that He does not have any condemnation for you if you are in Christ Jesus. The Lord told the repentant prostitute in Luke 7, “Your sins have been forgiven. Your faith has saved you; go in peace” (Luke 7:48, 50). Go in peace, not condemnation and shame.
Pastor Olakunle Yusuf can be reached via 08023423396 or email:[email protected] Shalom!