“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1-4

The thought of “no condemnation” is quite an awesome one for me.

Like me, you’ve probably heard and read this portion of scripture many times, maybe even dozens of times.

Maybe you’ve committed it to memory or sung it in a worship service.

God’s Words penned by Paul bring comfort and encouragement to me.

But, this weekend, I had a new revelation of this passage.

Somewhere along this journey with Jesus, I had allowed my thinking to slide and I didn’t even know it.  I was, much to my amazement, reading this passage with the idea that there was no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus as long as they are pretty close to the mark of that high standard.

Whoa.  That last phrase wasn’t even something I could have verbalized to anyone and it really only applied to me.  I wasn’t walking around thinking that others were facing condemnation.

Just me.

Somehow, as I had “grown and matured” and have stopped sinning quite as much as I used to (still do my fair share on a daily basis…don’t get me wrong!), I had let that passage become distorted in my thinking. (Isn’t that funny in and of itself…that I would somehow think that just because I’ve grown some that I’m pretty close to Jesus!?)

And then, this weekend, I sinned.  Not a sin unto death.  Not a sin that would hurt anyone except God and me.  But something that I thought I had mastered through the help of the Holy Spirit.

And it became obvious that I hadn’t.  In a split second, the temptation entered and I gave in without even thinking about it or recognizing it for what it was.  Until it was done. (Just a side note…don’t ask me what it was, because I won’t tell you.  I don’t want to draw attention away from the point of this message, which is not my particular sin, but the freedom from condemnation concerning sin in general.)

Actually, it took about five minutes for the realization to hit me…just about the time the condemnation began.

I was flooded with condemnation, guilt and shame.

Then, in my quiet time with the Lord, He led me to this familiar passage in Romans 8, which, coincidentally, is the scripture that He had given us for The Imperfect Wives theme for this year:  “Living Intentionally Free in 2012.”

What was spoken ever-so-gently to my heart was that there is no condemnation for anyone who is in Christ Jesus.  That passage isn’t just for the nearly-perfect or the super saintly.  It isn’t for those who seem to walk around with a heavenly choir as their soundtrack for life.

There is no condemnation for any on of us once we have put our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

We might have to deal with fallout that we’d rather avoid as the result of our sin or the sin of others.

But, God isn’t condemning us.  Just repent.  Give your sin, that awful, ugly, terrible thing that you do that you’d rather not, to the Lord and ask for forgiveness.

Then pick yourself up and keep walking as closely to Jesus as you can.

Repeat as often as necessary.

Just look at Paul.  He speaks about doing things he doesn’t want to do and not doing things he knows he should.  Even the great Apostle Paul wrestled with these things.  That gives me comfort.  I’m in good company.  Not to exalt sin, but to say that we are all human.  We all sin.  Period.  Me. You.  Our husbands. Our kids.  Our friends.  Our pastors.

So, the next time a brother or sister in Christ sins, remember that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because they have been set free from the law of sin and death!

Rejoice in the freedom that has been purchased for us all by Jesus.  It is a beautiful, wonderful thing.

Rejoicing in His freedom,