“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. “
Most of us know that the King James version of the Bible adds verbiage that most scholars agree was not in the original text. As the NET Bible notes: “The earliest and best witnesses of the Alexandrian and Western texts, as well as a few others, have no additional words. Scribes added the words ‘who do not walk according to the flesh’, while even later ones added ‘but [who do walk] according to the Spirit.’ Both the external evidence and the internal evidence are compelling for the shortest reading. The scribes were evidently motivated to add such qualifications to insulate Paul’s gospel from charges that it was characterized by too much grace.” (Emphasis mine)
It’s amazing that then, as now, religious people keep trying to dull the edge of the Biblical sword of grace. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Period.
This is so very important. No, not so I can “get away with something.” It’s important to know that my right-standing with God is not based on my behavior. When I walk pleasing to the Lord, “There is no condemnation.” When I decidedly do not walk pleasing to the Lord, STILL “There is no condemnation!”
I have lived most of my life as a Christian. Much of it has been a roller-coaster ride of failure and victory. Does God want us to live that way? No. Does He provide a way of escape? Certainly. But, even when I fail to take that way of escape, again, “There is no condemnation.” Should there be spiritual growth? Of course. But the type of growth, and the rate of growth in you is not for me to determine. As I’ve said over and over, God says, “You follow me.”
“But Lord,” I cry, “What about that idiot ‘Christian’ brother of mine who always gets away with everything?!?!”
Again, the Lord says, “You follow me.”
There may be no condemnation from God when we fail, but rest assured, there is no shortage of condemnation from the religious crowd.
Do we overlook sin in others? No. But we are to encourage, strengthen, “build up,” and pray for the good of others, even when, or maybe especially when we see them not living up to their potential in Christ. We are not to tear them down, or pray the false prayers of “God, let bad things happen to them so they’ll follow you.” Such prayers are, indeed, religious but they are far from Christian.
It is the goodness of God that leads to repentance. I know this from Scripture, as well from personal experience. True, I had best not show contempt for the riches of his kindness, but I do not believe for a second God will punish me. I do know, all too well, that in this life there are natural consequences of my actions. God may very well let me suffer through said consequences, but I need to know, I MUST know, that in the midst of those consequences, I can curl up on Father’s lap and sense, not condemnation, but the riches of His glorious love. And that, my friend, will do more to make the changes needed in me than any amount of condemnation could ever do.