When My Savior says ‘Free’ But My Head Says ‘Guilty!’ Print E-mail



“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but  those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” Romans 8:1-5


Have you been there—just going over and over again your sins, and the times you have messed up, and the people you’ve hurt or led astray because of your sin? And now you are at a place where satan has fed you the lie that you are the only Christian struggling with sin. Or has he put the weight of guilt on your shoulders so heavy you can’t even crawl to your Abba Papa to pray?  Dear precious reader, I pray that you will run to your Father to be delivered from those lies and encouraged by these verses and amazing God-inspired truths to refuse satan’s condemnation.  


Walking down the dusty streets of Nazareth one summer afternoon, a man was almost knocked over by a boy racing past him. As he charged past, the little boy caught sight of his father and in his little childish shrilly voice called out, “Abba, Abba!”  The man began to understand the intimacy of the relationship that God has with us. What an amazing, God – ordained, God - initiated word for us to use in prayer—Abba, Father.


The Puritans have a beautiful illustration of this concept. Thomas Watson, a puritan writer, put it this way:


“A man adopts one for his son and heir that does not at all resemble or look like him; but whosoever God adopts for His child is like Him; he not only bears his Heavenly Father’s name, but His image.”


Yes we’re still talking about guilt and condemnation, but to end the cycle of sinning, being condemned, and then getting discouraged, I want to begin at the beginning—who you are in Christ. You are an adopted heir who looks just like your adoptive Heavenly Father. 

There was a guy in one of my classes who was adopted and we all thought he was lying until his mom finally stepped in and told us that yea he really was adopted. We didn’t believe him because he looked like the guy version of his mom.  That is what we are like when our Father looks down at us.  Christ has covered us, He no longer sees our sins, our faults, our short comings.  He sees the perfect image of Jesus Christ. That is what the first verse is talking about“There is now no condemnation, for those who are IN Christ Jesus.” When you look at your life you see your sin, whatever it may be. But God sees the perfect rightness of Christ. Amazing grace, isn’t it?



Any time you see “therefore” I really encourage you to go back and read the verses before to get the whole picture.  So let’s deal with the “therefore” first. Let me sum it up for you. Chapters 6 and 7 are all about our sin nature and the bondage of sin., “But I am of the flesh sold into bondage to sin.”  Paul paints the most depressing, hopeless picture of humanity.  And just when you’re about ready to throw your Bible against the wall and call it quits, this Romans 8 comes.  I love The Message version of verse 2: “A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ like a strong wind has magnificently cleared the air freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.”


Ok, so you’re struggling, feeling like you really screwed up. You feel like the guilt of your sin is about ready to smother youbut look at that verse. Yes your sin is wrong, yes, it’s serious and needs to be confessed, but let me say it again, “BUT GOD.” Even though your sin is wrong and terrible it is no longer yours to deal with.  Now does that mean you and I can go around doing whatever because grace has you covered?  Chapter 6 verse 1 deals with that: “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may abound? May it never be!”


But sin is no longer yours. Once, before you were saved, you had a debt you owed heaven for every sinful thought, action, word, or deed. They were recorded and then a payment was demanded. We were in debt up to our ears. It was like we’d taken a credit card and bought the whole burger king. We owed so much we couldn’t pay. But now, now there is a new power at work.  Now there is a new creditor and he has come to pay for what you can only moan about.  He has paid for your sins in full.  You not only were adopted bearing God’s image, but you were also paid for. Now you have His credit.


I was up at camp last year and we had a “talent-less talent show.”  The whole point of it was to make fun of oneself. Two little girls prepared to perform, one of them standing behind the other—you’ve seen it where the one in front locks their arms behind their back and the little girl in back slips her hands up and from the front.  It looks like the one behind is the arms and hands of the girl in front.


Well, being goofy, the little girl in back tries to feed the girl in front but she can’t see so she lands the salty Tabasco covered chip square in the eye of the girl up front. Yeah, it hurt… really bad. The one who had made the oops  felt terrible, almost worse than the girl with the blood red eye. All night the little girl stayed out on the outside of anything fun we were doing. Finally she couldn’t take it anymore and ran over to the girl whom she had chipped and burst into tears blubbering something none of us could understand. I looked around totally at a lose as what to do because I couldn’t deny what she had done and that it wasn’t bad but I didn’t want her to feel this bad and neither did the little girl. Luckily, Mrs. Sonya —a camp counselor jumped right in.


“What’s wrong?” she asked. “What’s going on?!”


I told her as fast as I could what  had happened and that the little girl was only in tears because she felt guilty, and I then got out of the way for Mrs. Sonya to fix it.


She looked at the little girl and without even blinking said, “She’s not beating you up over it so neither can you. Sorry.  Nope you just can’t.”  And then she walked away.

The little girl, who had been in tears looked up at me, took a deep breath, and blew out. That was it.  She was freed.  She didn’t have to feel bad any more. There was no guilt because there was no one calling her guilty.


Take this concept into your Christian life. Yes, it is a human trait to struggle with, even wrestle against, guilt and condemnation. Satan uses condemnation like a skilled warrior launching fiery darts at us to discourage us. But like the little girl, even when we feel guilty, or when people are pointing out our guilt, God, the judge, isn’t pointing at us calling us guilty. Yes Paul does drive the point home in chapters 6 and 7 that we were slaves to guilt and sin but then in verses 3 and 4  of chapter 6 he talks about the power of Christ to free us. 


You see Christ no longer looks at you and sees “guilty” or “in debt.”  He looks at you and, because of His power and because of what He did, your sins, your guilt, your condemnation is gone.”  But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, Who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.”  How amazing.  First Corinthians 1:30 says that no matter your sin, no matter what you’ve done, no matter what you heart or head is telling you, the power of Christ has set you free.  So rest dear beloved of God in that power that is mighty enough to set you free from your sins to fix the broken lives and to mend the broken hearts.


I love the line in one of the Hillsong songs that says, “He is mighty to save, my God is mighty to save.”  Rest in that strength; release your guilt to that strength.  When satan comes to you again and brings your past up remind him of what Christ has said. You are Adopted.  When Christ looks at you, He can only see His own perfection that has covered you.


“He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,” Ephesians 1:5.


When satan comes to crush you with the weight of your sin, tell him you are Bought, your sins are already paid for. Christ doesn’t beat you up for them so you can’t either.


“Having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” Colossians 2:14.


Cleansed, you are now living by the spirit in obedience to the Bible. You don’t live in the flesh, dwelling on your short-comings, but in the Spirit, amazed by God’s overflowing of grace. He, by His power and His grace, has cleansed you.  So when others point to your how deep your sin was, when satan brings back your past failures, and  when you can only see your sin, Christ sees you cleansed.   We can stand strong because He makes us stand in Him