Let's Not Make Satan Happy
Greetings Narrow Gate,
I miss you all and pray for you all during this pandemic and subsequent self isolation, oh, and time of extreme chaos and condemnation.
The world is full of condemnation. It always has been. With the technological advent of the cell phone camera, we have the ability to witness a vivid stream of condemnation 24 hours per day, seven days a week. Some of us are really into this, especially during the pandemic, sitting and viewing these angst filled violent videos on YouTube and FaceBook or whatever other platforms that are available. I try to avoid this. I don't look at car wrecks, or athletes being injured, or gory movies. All the riot and violence, I try to skip. I know its there, I don't need to watch. All this condemnation hurts my heart, spiritually speaking.
The world has been full of condemnation since Adam's failure in the garden. It really should not surprise us, all of this condemnation. It's all a result of mankind's sinfulness. Just as the world is full of condemnation, there is a good deal of condemnation in the Bible. This is because the condemnation that is in the world is the evidence of the level to which sin has saturated mankind. One thing is apparent, we are no less sinful today than in biblical times. We are just as sinful.
In the OT the Ten Commandments were part of the Old Covenant or Law of Moses. This law was called by Paul in 2 Corinthians 3:7-9 the ministry of death or the ministry of condemnation. The Old Covenant brought condemnation upon mankind because it forced people to face up to our sinful nature and the tragic eternal consequence: death. Paul explains this in Romans 3:19-20 (NIV).
"Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather through the law we become conscious of sin."
The Law of Moses judged mankind as condemned. This law revealed the consistent nature of our sin and our guilt was assured. If we were not guilty yet, we soon would be, because we all sin. It's a vicious cycle with no relief.
Before Christ's advent, the people of Israel had to offer animal sacrifices as a means of repentance and forgiveness. These sacrifices were a reminder to the people that God punishes all sin, but also extends forgiveness through repentance. But these sacrifices were insufficient. Hebrews 10:3-4 (NIV).
"But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins."
These sacrifices were just a temporary means of dealing with the sin of mankind until Jesus came and dealt with sin once and for all. Those of us who have put our faith in Christ today, hopefully we understand that we are completely forgiven of our sins because of Christ's sacrifice for us on the cross.
So, while the law brought us a verdict of condemnation, damnation, judgment, punishment, guilt, shame destruction and death; Jesus brings the believer a verdict of No Condemnation. If we are in court and a verdict of No Condemnation is rendered, it means that the accused is found innocent of the accusation and is therefore, not guilty. Romans 8:1-4 (NIV).
"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 man to be a sin offering. 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."
We don't avoid judgment, no one does. But if we believe in Jesus Christ as our savior our verdict is one of No Condemnation.
Sadly, those who do not repent of their sin and accept Christ as their savior will remain condemned. John 3:16-18 (Phillips' Translation),
"For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him should not be lost (condemned to death), but should have eternal life. You must understand that God has not sent his Son into the world to pass sentence upon it, but to save it--through him. Any man or woman who believes in him is not judged at all (by the law). It is the one who will not believe who stands already condemned, because they will not believe in the character of God's only Son."
Please understand that when No Condemnation is used here, that sin in believers is not being condoned. Sin in believers is condemned. But what it does mean is this:
* The gospel does not pronounce condemnation like the Law. Its function is to pardon whereas the function of the law is to condemn. The Law of Moses never had enough for deliverance, its function was to condemn, and condemn only. The gospel frees us from condemnation.
* There is no final condemnation in the gospel, for those who are in Christ Jesus. The function, design and tendency of the gospel is to free us from the condemning sentence of the law.
So, No Condemnation means that we are no longer captives to sin. We are free. Why is this important, especially in a world full of condemnation? Well if we are freed from condemnation, should we not be the ones avoiding condemnation of others? Now this is a fine point, and necessarily so. If we've been given grace by God, should we not be the ones to quickly, without second thought, extend grace to others. Especially those so busy condemning us and those around us?
I do not agree with riots, destruction of property, violence, and chaos. But I do believe that if a people feels wronged, they need to be able to say so. But do we need to hate and try to destroy our neighbor?
I have noticed a common trend by good people that I know from both sides of this issue, people that I love and respect. This common trend, unfortunately, is to use the words "I hate" when talking about people they disagree with. I have witnessed this often. If these folks are saying this in front of me, they're saying it in front of others.
Please don't let Satan harden your heart, steal your witness, or your soul for that matter. When you hate, you murder in your heart. That's a sin. You also are not loving your neighbor because you are busy hating them. This also could mean that you're hating your neighbor more than you are loving Jesus.
Think of what a joy this is to Satan, having violence in the streets, and having thousands of Christians and believers watching and flippantly saying "I hate those guys" or "I hate those guys". Hate, once you begin, is easy. Love, however, can be difficult. Say they're wrong, say that you strongly disagree with them, say they're nuts and you don't like them; just don't say that you hate them.
Because if you do, sure you'll lose your witness, but also you might lose your eternity and wouldn't that be a shame. After all that Jesus has done for you. Satan will really be celebrating then.
Let's not make Satan happy.
Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.
and Harmony UMC
PS - We have received approval to begin Narrow Gate again, on a limited basis and with a different format. We still do not have enough volunteers. Our tentative start date will be Thursday, October 15th. We will cook a meal and deliver the meal to our peeps. We need drivers to deliver. I believe the cook team is secured. I will send out more details later this week. If you want to help and have Not contacted me yet, please do. I'll be happy to add your name to the list.