8 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:1-6 (RSV)
I am in the midst of explaining the six dimensions of Christian victory and how to live in them.
2. VICTORY IS LIVING LIFE COMPLETELY FREE OF CONDEMNATION
Because we have an entirely new relationship with God, we have received grace and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. His sinless life and death on our behalf fulfilled the requirement of the law, so every person who has given their life to Jesus Christ is free from condemnation. This is a great victory.
The flesh constantly tries to return us to condemnation. It does this by chaining us to judgment—not God’s judgment for that is ended in Jesus—but judgment of ourselves by ourselves, judgement of ourselves by others, and our own judgment of others. This engaging in and acceptance of condemnation is precisely the reason why so many Christians live defeated lives.
What is the antidote? To realize that you are already free from God’s judgment (the only one that counts), and that God’s Spirit in you will awaken and protect your desire to live free from condemnation. The Spirit takes the awareness that you are free from condemnation and your desire to remain free from condemnation, and begins forming in you new habits, attitudes, and actions that produce life and peace. You find that the effect of inviting the Spirit to work is: 1. You will not allow yourself to engage (at least not for long) in any activity that makes you feel condemnation, 2. You will not receive any condemnation from another, especially when it seeks to enslave you to their will, 3. You will not allow yourself to place another under condemnation, as though you were their god.
In my life, I knew that God had forgiven me and freed me from condemnation, but for many years I allowed myself to harbor habits and patterns of thought that made me feel condemned, and I allowed others to get what they wanted from me by placing me under condemnation, which in turn seemed to justify me in the attempt to try to enslave them to my expectations. The realization that Christ had set me free from all condemnation and that in the Holy Spirit I had power to reject all condemnation was the greatest spiritual victory I have ever known.
PRAYER: Dear God,
Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and the grace which He inaugurated, you have set me free from all condemnation. Forgive me because I have allowed my flesh to perpetuate the fiction of condemnation in my life. I invite your Holy Spirit to awaken in me the desire to be free from all condemnation—those habits and attitudes that make me feel condemned, the acceptance of the condemnation I experience in the criticism and manipulation of others, and my own attempt to change the behavior or attitude of others through my condemnation of them. You have set me free from these. Grant me to live free. This I pray in Jesus’s name. Amen.