The Christian life is becoming daily more difficult. They still go to church, but secretly feel that victory is out of the question.
They have no weapons for what they face each day.
Christians everywhere are realizing that fact.
Many Christians are at their wit's end.
But victory is the Christian's right, as truly as the air we breathe.
We must see ourselves enthroned with Christ.
We must see ourselves according to God's own Holy Word, as crucified with Christ,
dead, buried, raised, and made to sit in heavenly places with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Without this, we will go down in ignominious defeat in spite of all His strivings and our prayers.
With this, we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us.
Even at our best we, as Christians find the example of Jesus remains an ideal infinitely
beyond our reach.
The trouble lies in the fact that we are proceeding on the wrong basis.
God does not expect us, as a result of our own efforts, to be like Jesus.
He expects us to realize the utter impossibly of such a thing.
For instance, see Romans 7 when Paul came to the end of himself.
He expects us to receive Christ as our very life disowning any other.
He expects us to realize our position of utter oneness with Christ, for He has blessed us
with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ. ( Ephesians 1:3 )
We cannot fully appreciate the glory of our position as Christians.
We Have been raised up with Christ and together with Him made to sit in heavenly places.
We have received an abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness so that we might
reign in life by with Jesus. ( Romans 5:17 )
We must do this without looking at positions which are no longer valid for us.
First and foremost, we must remember that the Christian does not stand on the
ground of condemnation.
Our position as Christians is not that of criminals, judged and found guilty, on the way
to our execution.
Now it would seem unnecessary to mention so elementary a matter.
This is for beginners.
And yet how much of the Christian's time is spent secretly groaning under a sense of guilt
This is where, if we are honest, most of us who are Christians find ourselves.
Israel having been delivered from the bondage of Egyptian slavery, and not yet had entered
the Promised Land sighed for the flesh-pots of Egypt.
Though at first we did experience a sense of relief and forgiveness and freedom,
as time went on we fell back under a yoke no less galling than that which was ours
in our unconverted state, before we knew Christ.
What has happened?
What can this mean?
Shall we with John the Baptist ask: " Art thou the Christ or should we look for another? "
It is a simple matter.
We have stepped back under the law.
Then, our plight as Christians causes us to cry out with Paul: " Oh wretched man
that I am, who will deliver me from the body of this death? "
Then we have also listened to the voice of the enemy, though we did not realize that's who it was.
It seemed to be conscience, condemning us for our lack of love and our endless imperfections.
But, in reality, it was the enemy intending to get us down by accusing us.
He is the accuser of the brethren as we read in Revelation 12:10.
We thought we were being more Christian by striving more, praying more, reading our Bible more,
confessing our sins more.
But it brought no relief!
The awful, gnawing at our vitals continues.
The sense of guilt increases!
We need no Nathan to say: " Thou art the man."
A thousand voices are forever ringing in our ears giving the lie to what we long with infinite
yearning might be an altogether convincing testimony of a truly Christian walk.
Now the way out is to find a clear-cut recognition of the fact that, as Paul says in Romans 8:1:
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus. "
Let appearances be what they may, and the voices to the contrary a million, still this is a fact!
The reason, of course, is not found in ourselves, but in Another.
We were criminals, judged, and found guilty, on the way to our eternal doom;
for the law of God reads that the soul that sinneth it shall die.
But another bore our shame; another stood in our place.
It was the only begotten Son of God.
It was Jesus Christ our Saviour and Lord who took upon Himself the form of a man
as He was born in that manger in Bethlehem.
It was as a man that He came to grips with our sin.
It was through the shedding of His blood on Calvary's cross that He put our sin away forever.
The trouble with us Christians is that we have not realized that the Christian life not only begins
at Calvary, where we find a Saviour and forgiveness, it can only be lived at Calvary.
Rather than being a mere starting point to be left as we go on, we enter in an ever, deepening
way into its mystery.
With Paul we must cry: " God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Oonly as we live in an ever fuller realization of the fact that all our sins were put away at Calvary
can we rejoice in the efficacy of the precious blood of Jesus.
According to God's Word in John's First Epistle ( 1:7 ) "the blood of Jesus is forever cleansing us."
( the Greek is the present active tense )
When we truly see that we can stand up against the accuser of the brethren and we can be victorious.
It is only here that we find weapons, which are not carnal, but mighty through God for the pulling
down the strongholds of the enemy.
Against all odds, let conscience burn as it will, let the accuser throw up to us our entire wretched past,
let the law thunder its overwhelming " Thou shalts " and "Thou shalt nots,"
we must claim the right to a perfect freedom from all condemnation.
" If the Son set you free, ye shall be free indeed. " ( John 8:36 )
The Christian does not have to face judgment, for we have already passed from death to life. ( John 5:24)
It is not possible to exaggerate the importance of the affirmation of Romans 8:1.
Here we are told most emphatically that there is now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.
Oh, we should despise these awful guilt complexes which wreck Christians.
I say Christians, for the unconverted are not concerned about these matters.
They are dead in trespasses and sins.
They are not aware of their danger.
They have not been awakened to a sense of the wretchedness of their state.
They do not long for a holy walk.
Their consciences are not being taught by the Holy Spirit.
They are not tormented by the awful difference between who they are without Christ.
They are under the sentence of death and condemnation.
It is different with the Christian.
He has received Christ as his Saviour and in Him power to become a son of God.
As such the spirit of a Christian is consumed with desires to be like his Saviour.
He longs to please His Lord in all his ways and in every attitude.
It is precisely here that we have the problem.
We can get terribly under condemnation over this thing.
If we allow our conscience to condemn us; if we indulge ourselves in self-accusation; if we permit
the enemy, who is the accuser of the brethren to whisper doubts and fears and accusations at us,
then we will be defeated.
Of course, if there are sins that should be confessed and doubtful practices that should be
abandoned, that is another matter.
It is the Christian who would be all out for the Lord and who has given his all to Jesus, and who
suffers a gnawing sense of guilt, and who finds himself unable to throw off the sense of condemnation.
This hounds him and involves him in endless frustrations.
This is who we are considering here.
Here is where the infinite glory of the cross comes in.
On no other basis can the Christian move in the wondrous realm of freedom from all sense
of guilt and condemnation.
Here he experiences a complete liberation, for he looks up into the face of his crucified and risen Lord
who took all his sins and put them into the land of oblivion, even as the scape goat
on the great day of atonement upon which the high priest laid the sins of the people.
As the Christian looks to the cross where all his sins were dealt with and put away forever,
he is brought into an abiding peace.
It is the peace of God which passeth all understanding.
Now he has been freed and he should never again desire to be in bondage.
At every approach of the enemy let's cry out with great assurance: " Look at Calvary,
there is my answer -- now leave me alone!"
Remember that John 1:7 tells us that " the blood which He shed for us keeps us clean
from any and every sin." ( Phillips )
How wonderful this fact!
This establishes the Christian in his position of freedom from all condemnation.
Let me say it once more!
The Christian does not stand on the ground of condemnation.
In view of the efficiency of the blood of Jesus Christ which is forever cleansing us from all sin,
we are free from all guilt as the highest angel who dwells in the presence of God.
There is therefore now no condemnation.
Not now - not forever!
PRAISE HIS HOLY NAME!
Sermon by Dr.Harold L. White