From Condemnation to Grace
29 Jul 2018
The new covenant of grace is completely different from the old covenant of the law. Now that we are living under grace, we need to know what life is like under this covenant. The law was designed to reinforce the people’s guilt and constantly remind them of their shortcomings, but when Jesus came, He came to redeem and deliver, not to shame or punish. Most churches today seem to have forgotten this; instead of focusing on God’s favor toward us, they focus on telling us to keep the rules and uphold the standards of the law. Condemnation from the law is not a part of the new covenant, and if we feel condemned, that feeling did not come from God. The law heaps fear and shame on us, but grace offers us mercy, compassion, and forgiveness. Jesus had plenty of opportunities to condemn others, but instead of judging them, He forgave them and showed them grace. Faith in Christ transformed the lives of Zacchaeus as well as the woman caught in adultery, and it will change us as well.
- The new covenant of grace removes all condemnation and threat of punishment.
- For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (John 3:17, 18).
- To condemn someone is to pronounce them guilty and announce punishment on them. Jesus did not come to tell us that we are guilty.
- For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ (John 1:17).
- The law has no tenderness or feeling. It is inflexible, with no compassion for human weakness.
- And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham (Luke 19:5-9).
- The religious people at that time had already judged and condemned Zacchaeus. When they saw that Jesus was staying with Zacchaeus, they judged Jesus, too.
- Jesus could have condemned Zacchaeus, but that was not what Jesus was called to do.
- Jesus did not need to say a single word; His very presence was enough to cause Zacchaeus to have a change of heart.
- Preaching and demonstrating the Gospel of Grace causes the power of God to manifest.
- The old covenant of the law focused on guilt and shame, but it has now passed away.
- And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more(John 8:3-11).
- The scribes and Pharisees were operating under the law, which is all about self-righteousness and condemnation of others.
- The law focuses on our own performance.
- Andit shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I commandthee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God…But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearkenunto the voice of the Lord thy God,to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursedshalt thou be in the field (Deuteronomy 28:1, 2, 15, 16).
- The leaders were convicted by their own conscience because they were so sin-conscious from focusing on the law.
- Jesus gave the woman the gift of no condemnation.
- We do not need to let condemnation live in us and ruin our lives. Belief in Jesus drives it out.
- There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus… (Romans 8:1).
- The woman received a taste of God’s grace.
- O taste and see that the Lord is good… (Psalm 34:8).
- And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation(2 Corinthians 5:18).
- We do not have the ministry of Moses, but the ministry of Jesus Christ. We have not received the ministry of condemnation, but the ministry of reconciliation. Grace and truth is the ministry of Jesus.
- Sin separated man from God, but Jesus reconciled us. To reconcile is to turn back to God.
- God’s favor toward us restores the severed relationship between us and Him that sin caused.
- We are all ministers when people look at us and see how we live our lives.
- Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious (2 Corinthians 3:2-11).
- For us today, “The letter” is performance-based Christianity. Most churches teach us we must do things to earn God’s love and His blessings.
- The sufficiency that God has provided for us only comes when we preach the new covenant.
- The words we use to minister the new covenant are containers carrying substance that goes into our hearts.
- The finger of God no longer writes on stone tablets, but on our hearts.
- “The ministration of death” is the Ten Commandments.
- Focusing on God’s love and forgiveness is more effective than condemning people.
- But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter (Romans 7:6).
- We are not to serve under the law that brings condemnation, guilt, and shame. We do not need to condemn others or ourselves for failure to keep all the requirements of the law.
- Christianity should not be about focusing on ourselves and what we do; it should be about focusing on Jesus and what He did to provide for us.
- Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?... What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (1 Corinthians 6:2, 3, 19).
- Paul did not condemn people for sinning; he instead corrected them in love. He reminded them of who they were in Christ and what they had because of His finished works.
- When we get born again, we cannot sin away our righteousness.
- We’rerooting for the truth to win out in you… (2 Corinthians 13:8, MSG).
- The truth that we minister under the new covenant will win out over all the false doctrines and wrong teaching we hear in the world.
- We do not have to remain in condemnation; changing our minds about who we are in Christ will change our entire lives.
John 3:17, 18
2 Corinthians 5:18
2 Corinthians 3:2-11
Deuteronomy 28:1, 2, 15, 16
1 Corinthians 6:2, 3, 19
2 Corinthians 13:8, MSG