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If we are to fully appreciate the glory of our position as those who have been raised up with Christ and together with Him made to sit in heavenly places, the ground must be cleared of misunderstanding. Having received an abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness we may reign in life through Jesus (Rom. 5 v17). First and foremost we must note that we do not stand on the ground of condemnation.
How much of our time is spent secretly groaning under a sense of guilt. Though at first we did experience a sense of relief, forgiveness and freedom, as time went on we fell back under a yoke no less frustrating than that which was ours in our unconverted state before we knew Christ.
What has happened? Do we with John the Baptist ask, “Are you the Christ or do we look for another?” The fact is that we have slipped back under law. As Christians, with our consciences educated by New Testament ethics and our sense of right and wrong determined by the example of Jesus, our plight is even worse. We would despair altogether were it not that we remember how Paul, one of the greatest of Christians, cried out saying, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Rom. 7 v24). He also went this way.
Then, too, we have listened to the voice of the enemy. We did not realise it was the enemy speaking. It seemed to be conscience condemning us for our lack of love and our innumerable imperfections, but in reality it was the enemy, aiming to get us down by accusing us. He is the accuser of the brethren as we read in Revelation 12. We thought we were being more Christian by striving more, praying more, reading our Bible more, confessing our sins more. But it brought no relief. The sense of guilt increased. A thousand voices are forever ringing in our ears giving the lie to our longing to be a convincing testimony of a truly Christian life.
The way out is to be found in the recognition of the fact that, as Paul says in Romans 8 v1, “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ”. Let the appearances be what they may, and the voices to the contrary a million, still this is a fact. The reason, of course, is found not in ourselves, but in Another.
Yes, we were criminals, judged and found guilty, and on the way to an eternal doom, for the law of God reads, the soul who sins shall die. But Another bore our shame, Another stood in our place. It was the only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ the Lord, who took upon Himself a human form. It was primarily that He might as a man come to grips with our sin and might through the shedding of His most precious blood on Calvary’s cross put it away forever.
The trouble with us is that we have not realised that our life not only began at Calvary, where we found a Saviour and forgiveness, it must be lived at Calvary. Rather than being a starting point to be left as we go on in our own strength, we must enter ever deeper into its reality in our lives. With Paul we must cry, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ”. Only as we live in a fuller realisation of the fact that all our sins were put away at Calvary, and rejoice in the saving grace of the blood of Christ which according to God’s Word, in 1 John 1 v7 is forever cleansing us, can we stand up against the accuser of the brethren and rout the foe. It is only here that we find weapons which are mighty through God for the pulling down of the strongholds of the enemy. Against all odds, let conscience burn as it will, let the accuser throw up at us our entire wretched past, let the law thunder its overwhelming "Thou shalt” and “Thou shalt not”, and all appearances be against us, still we may claim the right to a perfect freedom from all condemnation. "If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8 v36).
We do not have to face judgment for we have already passed from death to life (John 5 v24). It is not possible to exaggerate the importance of the affirmation of Romans 8 v1 where most emphatically we are told that there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.
Oh, these awful guilt complexes which wreck us. We have received Christ as our Saviour and in Him power to become children of God. As such our spirits are consumed with the desire to be like our Saviour and to please Him in all our ways and in every attitude. It is precisely here that the rub is found. We can get under condemnation if we allow conscience to condemn us, if we indulge in self accusation and permit the enemy to whisper doubts and fears, and to accuse and condemn.
It is here that the inﬁnite glory of the cross comes into force. On no other basis can we move in the wondrous realm of freedom from all sense of guilt and condemnation. Here we can experience complete liberation, for we look up into the face of our crucified and risen Lord who took all sins like the scape-goat on the great day of the atonement. As we look to the cross, where all our sins were dealt with and put away forever, we are brought into an abiding peace, the peace of God which passes all understanding.
Now we must never permit any circumstance to bring us into bondage. With the weapon of the cross we must withstand every onslaught of the evil one who will move all hell in an effort to get us back on the ground of condemnation, flooding our spirit with a never-ending stream of accusations. We must learn to detect every approach of the enemy and to cast him out with a determined command, “Look at Calvary, there is my answer”. A great help at these times is found in 1 John 1 v7 where we are told that “the blood which His Son shed for us keeps us clean from all sin”(J. B. Phillip). In Greek the verb is in the present active tense. How very wonderful this fact is. What a weapon against the foe. How it establishes us in our position of freedom from all condemnation. God has placed us there and there we must abide if we would live victoriously.
We are accepted in Jesus, the One God the Father loves (Eph. 1 v6), and all the accusing spirits the prince of darkness has at his command cannot change this fact. We may realise the glory of our position because of Calvary’s cleansing, having been declared righteous, as we see in Romans 5.
We do not stand on the ground of condemnation. In view of the blood of Christ which is forever cleansing us from all sin, we are as free from all guilt as the highest angel who dwells in the presence of God.
From: “Reigning with Christ”. (With permission - Zondervan)