Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Day 14: Neither Do I Condemn You

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Neither do I condemn you. 
John 8:11

The woman in John 8 is brought to Jesus having been caught committing adultery. She has been found in the act. The teachers of the law excitedly bring her to Jesus knowing she is worthy of death, absolutely confident of her verdict: she's guilty! 

And yet Jesus says, "he who is without sin, cast the first stone."

And when everyone walks away, he says, "neither do I condemn you."

They all walk away, because they know their own guilt. Gradually, one by one, they know they do not have the authority to condemn. There is only one who does, and he is the one who is left. He has the authority to "cast the first stone", but he says, "neither do I condemn you." 

In his book "The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness", Tim Keller explains how the gospel gives us a declaration of "not guilty" in the only courtroom that matters. 

And here the Judge with the highest authority declares this woman ‘not guilty' and sets her free. 
This story is really good news to me as someone who has a tendency to feel condemned by all manner of things: my appearance, my singleness, my lack of talent, my fearfulness, my selfishness, my thoughts, my blog statistics, my classes' behaviour, my classes' exam results, my dreams, my moodiness, my meanness, my sarcasm, my inability to run fast, my self-absorption... The list could easily go on.

Evidently, some of the burdens that bring condemnation are justified, others are the condemnation spoken over me my society, or by other sinners, or by the horrible whispers of depression.

But this story reminds me that Jesus chases all condemnation away.

When I first realised I was depressed, I began to engage in the process of trying to figure out what feelings of condemnation I ‘deserved’, and what feelings of condemnation were brought on as symptoms of an illness.

But as time has gone by, I realise that Jesus speaks words of life over all condemnation that echoes in my mind: whether my feelings of guilt come from my own sin, from society’s warped expectations, from depression, from the Accuser himself, Jesus still says, “neither do I condemn you!”

More than that we are promised: there is now NO condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. None! 

In any way I feel condemned, even in the ways where I am most like this woman- where my sin is most obvious and my guilt most indisputable, Jesus will not condemn, Instead, he is condemned in my place. I don't need to unpick my motives before I rejoice in His kindness. Wherever the condemnation might be coming from, it certainly is not from Him. What grace! 

He who died for our sins and was raised for our justification has taken his place on the throne. From his position as the Name above all Names he declares: neither do I condemn you.

“No condemnation now I dread! 
Jesus and all in Him is mine!
Alive in Him, my living Head, 
And clothed in righteousness divine!” 

"He scatters all our guilty fear; he turns our hell to heaven!" 

“There is therefore no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.” 
Romans 8:1 

1 comment:

  1. What a great reminder Philippa! It's such good news that we aren't condemned, whether it's for our sin, our shame, our emotions, what society says etc. I never really considered before that "there is now no condemnation" is just as true for our false sense of condemnation or the justified sense of condemnation because of our guilt and sin. Thankfully​ there's no condemnation for any of it! Thanks so much for your honesty and for putting so much of yourself in this post.


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