Sinful and Not Condemned

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
-Romans 8:1

I was listening to a lecture by John H Coe on “Why We Sin When We Know So Much“,  and was struck by his challenge to pray the words, “Search me Lord and see if there are painful ways within me.”  He instructed  the audience to ask God to show us where the hurtful, wretched and destructive impulses that we hide so well in order that He can deal with them.  It is a prayer that asks God to pull back the curtain of your life to expose to the light what we would rather keep in the dark.

Why on earth would I want to do that?  What confidence do I have that God will not condemn me, ridicule and shut me out forever?  St. Paul speaks candidly in Romans 7 of his own struggle with sin and the effects it has on every sphere of his life.  He even asks at the end of the chapter, “who will save this wretched man?”  The climax of the chapter gives the good news that Jesus alone has saved us from ourselves by His death and resurrection and by His work, we can safely trust God with our secret sins and our deep destructive habits and thoughts.  We can pull back the festering bandage and trust in his mercy to deal with us gently and mercifully.  You see our confidence is in the words that there is “now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.”  I can expose what he has forgiven, what He knows is under wraps without fear of reprisal or rejection.

Maybe this week you can take God up on his mercy and ask God to search you and see if there are painful ways within you and that He would work on those damaged and sin-diseased part to bring healing and wholeness to your life.

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