Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1

Imagine what it would be like if you were caught red-handed in a crime. You were arrested and brought to jail, and then before the judge. There was no way out. You were guilty. The judge knows it, everyone knows it. Your crime carries the punishment of life in prison with no hope of parole. In essence your life is over. All the freedom, all the dreams, all the hopes for your future have been dashed by this one desperate and stupid decision.

Now imagine that while you are standing before the judge he stands up, comes around the bench and stands beside you. He states to all in the court room that He, Himself, will take full responsibility for your actions. As a result, you are free to go. The judge not only removes the penalty for your sin, but, with the power vested in his position he removes your criminal record as well. You are free to go with no record of any wrong doing. Awesome!

You leave the court room that day and go directly to the local office supply store and by a lanyard to hang around your neck. You hang a sign from your neck that says, “Guilty. Sentenced to life in prison” in big bold letters. Everyone you come in contact with sees the sign and avoids you. If, by chance they don’t see it, you point it out to them, making sure they are aware of your despicable crime.

Everyday that lanyard reminds you of your failure. Some days the weight of it is almost more than you can bear. It keeps you from pursuing your dreams. It affects the relationships you have now, and keeps you from moving ahead to build new, vibrant relationships.  Eventually, the weight of the lanyard is too much. You lose it all.

One day you are sitting on the curb and you hear a voice behind you. You turn to see the judge who pardoned you. He has a completely shocked look on his face and asks you what you are doing here. You show him the lanyard and explain how its weight has completely destroyed your life.

The judge sits down on the curb beside you. Gently he reaches around and takes the lanyard from your neck. The relief you feel when the weight of the lanyard is gone is unbelievable. “Thank you!” You say to the judge. He puts his arm around your shoulder and looks into your eyes. “You were never meant to bear this burden,” he says as he looks you straight in the eyes, “I took this from you once. Why take it back. You are free. Now, go! Go enjoy the freedom of life!” With that he takes the lanyard and destroys it before your very eyes and you feel freedom like you have never felt before.

That’s what it means to be free of condemnation. When the apostle Paul penned Romans 8:1 he wanted us to know that we are free. We don’t need to be tied to the sins of our past. They are done. They have been removed by the judge. You are free because of Jesus Christ to enjoy life, to pursue your dreams and to grow healthy strong relationships with those around you.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. Thank you for taking my sin on the cross. Thank you that I no longer have to be burdened by the mistakes of my past. You know I have made many mistakes, hurt people and destroyed the trust of many. Please forgive me for those sins. I praise you that I am no longer condemned. Empower me to live life free of the feelings of condemnation. I hereby give you my lanyard. Amen.