. . . you are guiltless!
Sometimes you have to say things more than one way in order for people to hear and understand. It is one thing to say that someone is justified and another to say that someone is righteous, even though they mean the same thing. For some people it doesn’t make sense to hear that our sins are no longer counted against us.
There is a transition in our thinking from legalism to grace. Sometimes it takes a long time to work through that transition and, in some respects, it isn’t really complete in this world. We accept the fact that God loves us and does everything we need to be saved. We accept the fact that we belong to Jesus and can never be taken away from Him. But we struggle with the idea of our sin. For so long we were taught that our sin was the center point of our lives, that everything revolved around our sin. It is very difficult for us to accept the freedom and victory Jesus has given.
I recently heard a young man pray that no one would go to hell because of his neglect. He was burdened with the idea that he was responsible to tell everyone he met, or everyone he could, about the gospel. Now, this young man believes that God loves him. He just thinks God is disappointed with his performance.
There are several things I could say about this. First, please understand that no one goes to hell because you neglected to tell them about Jesus. People who suffer eternal damnation do so because of their own sin, not yours. Those who seek the Lord will find Him, with or without you. Those who are not interested in the things of the Lord won’t be interested in what you say either. The point is that no one is saved by your testimony and no one is condemned by your lack of testimony. It simply doesn’t work that way.
But it is also important to understand that God expects your failure. That’s why you needed a Savior. The whole point of the law side of the gospel message is that you cannot please God with your performance. God does not hold you guilty because you tried and failed.
And even more: God doesn’t even hold you guilty for not trying. Paul is very clear.
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1
No condemnation! Why? Because you are guiltless! There is no sin on your account. Jesus has washed it away. It is gone and you are free. All your disobedience is forgotten by His love.
Of course, I know that someone will say, “Sure, that’s for those who ‘do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.’ That isn’t for those who disobey. There is still guilt for those who walk according to the flesh.”
Wrong! The Lord does not define “those who are in Christ Jesus” by their performance. He defines them by their relationship with Jesus. The second half of the sentence is not a condition that must be met if you are to be free of condemnation. It is an explanation of the life of the believer. Those who are in Christ Jesus do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. That’s what the verse says. And there is no condemnation for them because they are guiltless.
No sin on your account. You are free from what you have done. God does not hold it against you. You will not have to give account for the sins He has forgotten. Obviously, sin is not a good idea. There are still serious consequences.
But the Lord holds you guiltless.