Summary: Our freedom in Christ does not remove our struggle for freedom to live above sinful practices or to avoid giving in to temptations.
A. History affords many lessons of America’s struggle to maintain her freedom. Thousands of lives have been lost in this battle.
B. While we have freedom in Christ-and are therefore no longer under condemnation, we often struggle with feelings of defeat, disappointment and depression. We are forgiven yet we feel chained.
C. Our freedom in Christ does not remove our struggle for freedom to live above sinful practices or to avoid giving in to temptations.
I. Our Position In Christ (vv. 1-4)
A. Believers are no longer under condemnation (v. 1)
1. Have you ever considered the importance and impact of that statement?
2. Suppose you were on death row. Day after day you thought about the needle that would be inserted into your arm-the needle that would cause your heart to stop beating. Or you imagined how it was going to feel when the electricity started flowing. You were without hope. All your appeals had been exhausted. It was just a matter of time.
3. But then suppose you were on death row with your sentence under appeal. It was decided that you would be tried again, and this time when the jury read your verdict it was “Not guilty.”
4. Whereas you were once destined to be put to death, now you are free to leave the bars behind and resume a normal life.
5. Only the person who had experienced the above could really appreciate and understand the meaning of this new lease on life.
6. Perhaps we should contemplate the implications of what Paul says in this one verse more often.
7. Prior to Christ, we were on death row-a spiritual death row. We were in a holding cell waiting for the day when our execution would be carried out.
8. We had no appeals to make, but suddenly we were set free. After questioning how such a thing could happen, we were told that someone else was going to serve our time and take our punishment of death.
9. Such a set of circumstances was beyond our understanding, but we were overwhelmed and overjoyed by our new freedom.
B. Under no condemnation means God has declared us not guilty.
1. We have already examined in great detail sin and its consequences.
2. For Paul to declare we are no longer under condemnation should fill us with praise for what God has done in our behalf and motivate us to serve him with our best abilities.
3. Instead of hell, it means we get to enjoy heaven. Instead of a life of misery ruled by sin, we get to experience abundant living along with God’s power to help us live obediently.
4. Instead of continually missing God’s ideal, we get to experience realizing his plan and purpose for our life.
C. Where do feelings of condemnation come from in the believer’s life or why do we feel them?
1. Paul says we are no longer under condemnation, but all of us struggle with feelings of condemnation at some point.
2. Satan is the primary source of messages that pertain to past failures and sins that bring guilt feelings. He brings messages that lead us to question whether or not God has really forgiven us or whether we are truly a Christian. All messages that do not agree with Scripture’s teachings can be attributed to him.
3. Feelings of condemnation can also be a product of our upbringing. Messages given in childhood by our parents or other significant figures. Messages that informed us we would never amount to anything or that our destiny was such and such.
4. We may feel guilt because of past failures. Perhaps we have some significantly bad things in our past life and we simply cannot believe God can use us under those circumstances. At that point, it is Satan working in our consciences, but these messages are not coming from God.
5. We may have unbelieving friends or even spouses who are good at pointing out our inconsistencies.
6. If we have low self esteem-which can result from childhood messages, this too can make it easy for us to condemn ourselves.
7. Feelings of condemnation can even result when comparing ourselves with other believers. We are not at the point they are, so we condemn ourselves for not doing better.
8. One unfortunate result of feelings of condemnation is that we learn to enjoy it there.
9. For an example, we can return to the example of the prisoner. No prisoner wants to remain in prison but at the same time many learn to find contentment as they become familiar with their surroundings as well as the order or hierarchy that accompanies prison life.
10. Leaving this instills fear in them, and many cannot cope with civilian life when released. Therefore, they repeat crimes so they can return to life as they knew it.