Leaving The Condemnation Zone
Believers at the end of the age will learn to live in a realm where there is no guilt, frustration, regret, shame or sense of unworthiness!
There is a realm of confident living in God’s love where we joyfully accept His mercies. It is THE NO CONDEMNATION ZONE.” This is the realm that the prodigal son returned to when he abandoned the mess of his former life and returned to his father’s house where the former mess was not even remembered.
God welcomes us to this realm when we put our faith in the Atoning work of Jesus and turn form our independent ways. The ‘No Condemnation Zone’ is a realm that we could never attain by ourselves – it can only be received as a gift. Through God’s mercy we are free to accept this gift and all the mercies that come with the gift. God invites us to live at the reverse side of the cross in a realm where our guilt has been perfectly atoned for and in a realm of total acceptance through the work of Jesus this is the realm of His GLORY.
Since the days of Adam, man hid from God in shame. Embarrassed to draw near, we pulled away from Him and gone our own way. “All we like sheep have gone astray have turned everyone to his own way but the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53)
However, the greatest fact of History is that God has placed on Jesus ALL of our guilt, blame and shame so that we can return to His presence and to the realm of His glory and love.
Paul calls this restoration to perfect standing with God through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus: justification. It is much more than forgiveness. On the cross God actually transferred all our guilt to Jesus and then transferred all Jesus’ righteousness to us.
No Double Jeopardy
There is a principle in law called ‘the principle of ‘double jeopardy’ which states that we cannot be penalized twice for the same crime or offence. Since Jesus has legally taken all our guilt we cannot be accused again of the crimes He has paid for us because of the principle ‘double jeopardy’. Our part however is to acknowledge our need recognize what He has done and receive the restoration he makes available as a gift for us. What religion could not achieve God has now achieved by giving us right standing with Himself not on the basis of our religious performance but on the basis of His perfect work he justifies the self righteous, the unrighteous and the worse reprobate who turn to Him and receive. The reality of this legal justification to all who come to God through Jesus is hilarious good news for all men everywhere. Because of the jeopardy Jesus has taken for us there is an open door to God’s presence for all and to all no matter how messed up their lives have been in the past when we leave behind our former life with its shame, sin and guilt and come to God for a new start through the gift of /god in Jesus.
The gospel is the great invitation to leave the CONDEMNATION ZONE and to return to the bright sunshine of Our Father’s love and presence. We are all invited to live there and can live there because of what Jesus has done for us. “Therefore, brothers since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:19-22)
God has already done the work – it simply remains for us to believe, return and receive. Our responsibility is to accept THE GREAT INVITATION, which is based on THE GREAT FACT of what God has done for us in Jesus. When we do this we are “justified by faith” and enter the NO CONDEMNATION zone. We can now stand in God’s presence, accepted and loved, without any sense of guilt or inferiority. We must dare to believe, humbly receive and boldly retain our faith in this amazing gift and learn to live confidently in the new position in the no condemnation zone.
The sad truth of Christian experience is that most believers return to the condemnation zone, lose the joy of their salvation and their experience of God’s blessings.
The primary reason for this is that they lose their focus and dilute their faith in the fact that Jesus’ work n the cross has done enough for them. They get their eyes off the blood of Jesus and back on their own unworthiness.
Jesus charged us to proclaim to all the nations that God has provided full atonement for their sins and invites them back to His presence, love and care. “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:15-16) god so loved the word hat he gave is only begotten son that whosever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life. For god did not send His on into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him could be saved. Unfortunately many believers have gone with a false gospel of condemnation. They believe that they must first bring the sinner to admit that he is condemned before they can offer Him the way out of the condemnation zone, but Jesus said that the unbeliever is condemned already. He simply needs to be shown the way out of the sinner rather than pointing Him the way out of the condemnation zone. Our job is to draw mankind out of the condemnation zone created by our own sins and the sins of others and brings them into the no condemnation zone through faith in the work of Jesus.
The Second Condemnation Zone
There is a second condemnation zone that the believer can easily fall into. It is the condemnation zone of the earnest believer.
How does this happen? Having been reconciled to God the new believer determines with all his heart and strength to live the Christian life. When he begins to TRY to live the Christian life in the power of his natural effort, will-power, good resolutions and disciplined behavior, he becomes exhausted, exasperated, miserable and condemned. He slips, flounders and fails to live by the high standards of the gospel. “For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15) and finally he cries out ‘wretched man that I am who will deliver me from this body of death’ (Romans 7:24)
At this point the devil, The Accuser, ‘who accuses the brethren night and day’ (Revelation 12:11) has trapped him a SECOND condemnation zone. He begins to feel estranged from God all over again. This condemnation puts a wedge between him and God. The second condemnation is the zone of the struggling believer.
God does expect the highest standards of behavior and character from those He has reconciled; but He also knows that we are utterly incapable of living by these standards on our own strength. His solution is to implant His Spirit within us who empowers for this kind of living. Real Christian living begins
When we realize that we are accepted to God NOT on the basis of our behavior and
When we realize that we can live by the Gods moral standards only by drawing completely from God’s life, and not our own, to live by His standards.
This is what God showed Ezekiel “I WILL give you a new heart, and a new spirit I WILL put within you. And I WILL removes the heart of stone from your flesh and gives you a heart of flesh. And I WILL put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.”
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, for THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1-4)
Today in spite of the great growth of charismatic and Pentecostal churches there is actually an under-emphasis on the Holy Spirit. Without His life and activity the Christian life is completely impossible. When we ignore Him we are left STRIVING to live, by natural effort, a life that is beyond our ability. To walk in the flesh does not only mean to be controlled by selfish drives. It simply means that we rely on natural strength and ability (good or bad) rather than on the ability of the Spirit.
As we stop relying on the strength of our own character and acknowledge its complete inadequacy and CONCISELY and DELIBERATELY lean on the Holy Spirit, the law of the Spirit of life will cause the character and fruit of the Spirit to come forth in our lives. Jesus gives a ‘one-two’ blow to sin.
He releases us from the zone of condemnation and
Implants the law of the spirit of life within us.
When we cease from all self-righteousness and religious law keeping and lean on the Holy Spirit, His life in us produces “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22)
The antidote to sin is not moral resolutions or religious efforts to live by the high standards of Jesus but it is the gift of Jesus – the Holy Spirit who implants a life and power greater than sin within us. This life spontaneously produces the fruit of the Spirit within us, when we cease from all self-righteous striving. The Holy Spirit is the only antidote to sin.
God offers us not only forgiveness and restoring to His care presence and love, but He delivers us from sin’s power by putting His Holy Spirit within us.
The Negative Effect of the Law
Paul declares that sin is actually empowered by the Law. “The power of sin is the law.” (I Cor 15:56)
By ‘law’ he means not only Jewish moral law but also all moral law including the high moral standards of Jesus. Religious striving to achieve moral righteousness actually strengthens the power of sin in the lives of those who try it. Self-righteousness is actually a breeding ground for sin. Religious striving empowers sin rather than liberates from it. The law always puts us back in the realm of human striving and therefore under the power of sin. Faith in the Holy Spirit takes us out of that realm. Most churches (Catholic, Protestant. Pentecostal charismatic etc.) keep people struggling by natural power to live by a moral law that can only be lived when we cease from fleshly strength and lean entirely on the Holy Spirit. “I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me.” (Rom. 7:9)
The purpose of the moral law, as described by Moses and Jesus is to show us our utter failure at living it. This failure drives us to the forgiveness and reconciliation that God provides in Jesus.
Law gives power to sin because it brings us under condemnation, back into our natural strength and back into self-righteousness. Condemnation drives a wedge of separation between God and us. So when we get under condemnation we get into separation, and when we become separated from God His life is hindered from flowing through us and we cannot produce His character. Law also gives power to sin by causing us to look at our selves instead of to God.
“Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:8) As long as we expect everything from the Holy Spirit and nothing from self we will experience His victory and stay free from condemnation, and His life will produce the fruit of the Spirit within us.
The Holy Spirit strives to make us see the Blood of Jesus and the acceptance we have through it. His second work is to empower us with the supernatural attitudes of the divine nature that produce the fruit of the Spirit in our hearts. The Accuser tries to get our eyes off the reconciliation we have through the Blood of Jesus and to cause us to rely on self to keep God’s standards. God does not condemn us for not living the perfect life but instead He comes to live it in us in the person of the Holy Spirit. This is the great revolution Christianity. It is the end of condemnation, the end of self-righteousness and the release of God’s Spirit.
The failure of much of Christianity lies in two factors.
We have not released people form the condemnation zone by pointing them to put all their faith in the finished work of Jesus in not only paying for our sins but also perfectly restoring us to god’s presence.
We have not sufficiently encouraged them to receive the Holy Spirit and lean on the Holy Spirit who alone can empower us to live beyond sin’s dominion.
#3 The Third Condemnation Zone
The third condemnation zone is a zone of guilt and frustration, which the believer who is zealous to be fruitful in ministry, in service and in good works can easily enter.
Many try to fulfill the great commission and embark into ministry trying to do a work FOR the Lord. They study, work and pray hard but the fruit seems so little. Then they exert even more effort, and become even more frustrated and condemned. This is the condition of much of the church today. We desperately want to see God’s work advance and as we lean on our natural efforts it seems less fruit happens.
Such believers are in the same state as Abraham and Sarah who were called by God to bring forth a son for Him. As the years went by and nothing happened they were tempted with frustration. (Gen 16)
The more we feel the condemnation of our barrenness the more we strive to make things happen. A vicious spiral of striving, failure, comparison, and condemnation occurs. There can never be real fruit when we try to bring forth spiritual fruit with natural power. As Jesus says, ‘what is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:6)
To the barren and the weak God says. “Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married,” says the Lord. (Isa 54:1)
“God takes the weak things of the world to confound the strong.” (1 Cor. 1:28) Jesus says. “Without Me we can do nothing.” (John 15:5) Without Him we are not expected to do anything. He wants us to make our energy and resources available to Him, but at the same time He does not expect us to do anything unless He initiates it and carries it all the way.
Most of us are too strong in our natural power for Him to use. God waits for us to discover the bankruptcy and inadequacy of natural effort before we can discover his fruitfulness.
A Place Of Rest.
Christian work and service can be exhausting discouraging and wasteful of human energy and resources. We try so hard to get things done to advance God’s children but often the results are miserable. All of this comes form a false notion of our relationship with god’s work.
God never asked any of us to work FOR Him
He yearns to see His people liberated from the condemnation zone created by the pressure to perform and by our own ambition. He invites us to rest in Him and to look to Him to perform His work through us by His power. “Not by might nor by power but by my Spirit sys the Lord.” (Zech 4:4)