There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
If there is no condemnation to those who trust Christ, why do we so often insist on condemning ourselves or others for things that God has forgiven us for? Why do we play judge and decide that what Jesus endured to pay for our sins wasn’t enough and that we need to punish ourselves or others in some way for a past mistake? Why do we continue to deem ourselves unworthy of His grace when we know we didn’t deserve it anyway?
Perhaps it is because we are continuing in the flesh instead of in the Spirit. Perhaps we are still too caught up in our carnal idea of crime and punishment, of cause and effect that says if we do something wrong, we need to suffer for it. And while it is true that there may be consequences for certain of our sins, perhaps even lifelong consequences, it is also true that Christ took the punishment for our sins, and God will not punish us for them if we are trusting Christ as our atonement. He has set us free, and we don’t need to go back and be bound again by our sin.
Sometimes it’s so easy to see ourselves as unworthy. And the truth is, we really are. But God still gives His love and forgiveness to us freely, and so we can accept it freely. It dishonors God when we continually condemn ourselves for things He has forgiven us for because then we aren’t really trusting Him. We’re saying that something besides Jesus’ death is necessary for us to be forgiven. We’re saying we’re beyond the reach of His mercy.
Just as it is difficult sometimes to forgive others who have hurt us, sometimes it can be hard to forgive ourselves if we feel we’ve messed up in a big way. At these moments, we need to let go of our fleshly mind that says we don’t deserve forgiveness. We need to abandon the prideful heart that wants to run from the idea that we are capable of such horrible sins. And we need to receive into our hearts the truth that God’s grace is much bigger than our failure.
Are we trusting Christ as our Savior? Do we believe His Word, truly believe it deep down in our hearts, in the depths of our souls? Then let us ask God to help us forgive ourselves for what we feel is unforgivable and rest in His finished work. Let us understand that if God does not condemn us, we don’t have to condemn ourselves, but can instead find peace in Him.