18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. - John 3:18 NLT
God has not condemned anyone and He doesn’t send people to hell. People are condemned when they reject Jesus, That is a personal choice and they have to earn their way to hell; “the wages of sin are death” (Romans 6:23) It isn’t God’s will that any should perish/go to hell. We each make a choice to accept the gift of eternal life or work our way to hell. A Christian cannot be condemned since we don’t “practice evil” We certainly fall occasionally but that is not our lifestyle. Condemnation comes from satan but conviction comes through the Holy Spirit. The feelings of guilt that a Christian has are not condemnation but conviction for failing to live up to the standards that Jesus has set for us. Jesus died once for all our sins, He is not going to the cross again. So, if you are feeling conviction and we all do at some time or other, don’t wait, ask God for His forgiveness and start to walk with Him in joy once again.
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.–1 John 1:8, 9 (NLT)
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
6 Leave your simple ways behind, and begin to live; learn to use good judgment.” — Proverbs 9:6 NLT
The word proverb means “to be like” . The book of Proverbs is a collection of thoughts or sayings teaching us what we should be like. The Proverbs and there are many proverbs in the Bible that are outside of the Book of Proverbs show us aspects of our lives and how we should look at them and how we should respond to them. In other words, Proverbs gives us a picture of the lifestyle of a Christian versus a non-Christian by contrasting how we respond to situations. Proverbs teaches us to respect wisdom and to seek wisdom for every decision we make. As in the passage we are looking at today, we are invited to partake of God’s wisdom as we would of food and drink. We need to sit with Jesus and ask Him for Godly wisdom before we make our decisions. Not just the decisions that we would consider as major, life-changing decisions but all of our decisions because God is concerned with the smallest things in our lives. Whether we turn left or right at the next intersection (be it on the physical highway or the Spiritual highway) could be the difference in whether we make it home safely or not.
43 For they loved human praise more than the praise of God. — John 12:43 NLT
There were many of the people, leaders in the religious communities and others who believed what Jesus was saying but refused to admit it in public. They were more concerned about what the Jewish leaders would say and do than they were about what Jesus said. They were afraid that they would lose their positions in the community and be removed from the synagouge. They would not admit publicly that they believed what Jesus said. When we read these verses, it is easy for us to criticize and judge these people for their lack of support for Jesus. But, if we stop, meditate and let the Holy Spirit lead us into the truth, we may just realize that we are sometimes like those people. Yes, our egos say we would never deny Jesus and perhaps, verbally we wouldn’t. However, we must look at our actions or our lack of action in certain situations. How many times have we been nudged by the Holy Spirit to say something to someone or do something for someone and by our inactions, we said “NO”. In those times, we became “secret believers” preferring silence over speaking out for Jesus, our Lord and Savior. How many times have we felt the shame when we are convicted of our inactivity by the Holy Spirit? Jesus said that “if you deny me before men, I will deny you before the Father”. If we do not speak out and our lifestyles do not show others that we are living for Jesus, then the truth of His words will judge us on the day of judgment. We must be willing to get out of our comfort zones and be ridicule, offended and persecuted because we believe the truth. There is only one God and only one Jesus who died for our sins. There is no other way to heaven.
10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker. 12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment. — James 2:10-13 NIV
God gave the Old Testament law to the children of Israel to show them that it was impossible for a mere human to live a life free of sin. No one was able to live a life without sin, so God, in His mercy established rituals and procedures for them to keep. As long as they stayed obedient to these rituals, they were not punished for their sins. Mercy is the lack of or a lesser punishment than our sins deserve(d). Just as the people back then received mercy, we can and do receive mercy without receiving salvation. It is God’s mercy that allows us to go on living, even when we choose a lifestyle of sin. We live under the law or covenant of grace. This does not mean that we don’t sin, it just means that we have a way of being forgiven without the rituals. Grace is God choosing to bless us even though we don’t deserve it. It is our faith in His grace that saves us. When we feel that someone has wronged us in any way, we must show them mercy because of the mercy that God has shown us. We must temper our judgment with mercy, realizing that we have received so much more than mercy from Jesus Christ. We should also show them grace, in the sense that it means showing them affection and kindness even though they are not worthy of it. Neither were/are we worthy of God’s mercy and grace, yet He went so far as to die for us.
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. — Romans 5:6-8 NIV
This is why we must show mercy, grace and forgiveness to those around us. We can and must forgive them of their sinful acts toward us. But only God can forgive us for all of our sins. Our mercy and grace is limited to what is done to us. God’s mercy and grace is unlimited. Only His grace can restore our relationship with God the Father. We must ask for His forgiveness believing that by grace through faith we have been saved, are being saved and will be completely saved.
24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. – Hebrews 7:24, 25 NIV
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. 3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.–Romans 12:1-3 NIV
When Paul says “bodies” here, he is talking about more than just the physical body that we see.The Greek word is “soma” which can mean “a sound whole” In other words, Paul is referring to the same things that Jesus listed in Luke 10:27, when He said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind“. We. like David, need a “heart after God’s heart” and we need “the mind of Christ” If we have these two things, then we can be sure that our soul is secure in Jesus Christ and it will be our desire to worship God with all of our strength. Our heart’s desire will be to daily ask God to “create a clean Heart” and “renew a right Spirit” within us. If we do this, our minds will be continually renewed by the Holy Spirit. If we stay in communion with the Holy Spirit who stays in communion with the Father, then we will know God’s will for our lives for this moment. And when you think about it, that is probably all we can handle. We won’t need to know what tomorrow is going to bring, if we don’t make it through today. Stay humble and walk in faith.
8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.—Micah 6:8 NIV
36 If anyone is worried that he might not be acting honorably toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if his passions are too strong and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married.37 But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin—this man also does the right thing. 38 So then, he who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry her does better. 39 A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord.40 In my judgment, she is happier if she stays as she is—and I think that I too have the Spirit of God.—1 Cor. 7:36-40 NIV
This is Paul’s warning against sex outside of marriage. In those times, most marriages were pre-arranged, so the person knew who they would be marrying. Therefore, Paul could make this warning specific to a particular person. In today’s world of dating, the warning would have to be generalized to mean any person with whom you are in any sort of social relationship. The couple, if they are unable to control themselves physically, should either stop the relationship or agree to get married and do so before the physical relationship leads both of them to sin. Either decision will keep us from doing the wrong thing. That does not mean that we rush into marriage just so we can have sex. There are “good” things and then there are “God” things. Search for and do the “God” thing, not the thing that feels good. Experience teaches us that if our marriage choices are not soaked in prayer, the end result can be disastrous. Once the marriage is consummated, praying together will keep the marriage together. Less than 1% of marriages where the couple pray together daily end in divorce.
If you make the decision to marry, then you are bound to each other “until death do us part”. Jesus set the example for us since He will never forsake the church
31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.—Eph. 5:31-33 NIV
5 Now I am going back to the One who sent me. But none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 Your hearts are filled with sadness because I have told you these things. 7 But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go away. When I go away, I will send the Helper to you. If I do not go away, the Helper will not come. 8 When the Helper comes, he will prove to the people of the world the truth about sin, about being right with God, and about judgment. 9 He will prove to them that sin is not believing in me. 10 He will prove to them that being right with God comes from my going to the Father and not being seen anymore. 11 And the Helper will prove to them that judgment happened when the ruler of this world was judged.—John 16:5-11 (NCV)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
The disciples must have wondered how Jesus going away could be better than having Him here, face to face. But Jesus knew that His time to leave was very near at this time. He also knew that the Helper could do something that He, in human flesh, could never do. That was to actually live inside a human being. The Helper, the Holy Spirit would take up a permanent residence inside those that accepted Jesus as their Savior. The Holy Spirit could be omnipresent, He could dwell in all of us at the same time thus as God had promised, we would never be alone, He would always be with each of us. He will prove to unbelievers that not believing in Jesus is the sin that caused Jesus to die on the Cross. He will prove that judgment happened when satan was judged. This judgment is spoken of in Isaiah.
12 King of Babylon, morning star, you have fallen from heaven, even though you were as bright as the rising sun! In the past all the nations on earth bowed down before you, but now you have been cut down–Isaiah 14:12 (NCV)
This judgment was also the event Jesus was referring to in Luke 10, when He said:
18 “Yes,” he told them, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning! 19 Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you.–Luke 10:18,19 NCV)
In this statement, Jesus tells us He was there in heaven when satan was judged and He witnessed satan being cast out of heaven. And now, Jesus has the blessings of the Father to give the disciples and us authority over all the power of the enemy. The Holy Spirit is the guarantor of that promise of authority and He fights our battles for us.