through His Word
by Katy Kauffman
Guilty, guilty, guilty, I told myself as I waited for the judge’s verdict. My head hung low as I waited for his decision.
I can’t believe I did that again. What was I thinking?
I glanced over at the gallery of spectators. Their condemning glares held my attention. Faces of disapproval. Their eyes penetrated my soul. I saw the faces of those who had made me feel inferior in the past. Who made me feel despised. Among them sat an envoy of the enemy, an ambassador of guilt and shame. He had harassed my spirit too many times. Of course, he would show up now. Truly I felt condemned before the judge even confirmed it.
A familiar face stood out among the others—my own. How many times had I beaten myself up over falling back into the same old habits? How often had I promised God I would be better, I would be different, and then I didn’t deliver on that promise?
The judge looked up from the paper he was holding, and cleared his throat. I turned toward him, hesitant to look into his eyes. Instead of condemnation, I saw kindness. Instead of fury, mercy. Then he spoke.
“I have reviewed the charges, and evidence has been presented on both sides.”
I looked over at the prosecutor who smirked.
My defense attorney appeared close to me, closer than I thought he was sitting. He put an arm around my shoulders, all the while keeping his eyes on the judge.
“I have reviewed the evidence,” the judge started up again, “and there is but one document that resolves this case.”
He held up the paper and showed us the front side. Down by something that looked like a signature was a red smear. I squinted and realized it was blood.
The judge picked up the gavel. With the smallest hint of a grin in his eyes, he declared, “Not guilty.” And the gavel fell.
In shock I ran to the judge’s bench and grabbed the paper. My name was on it with the word “offenses” written under it. Then I looked at the signature. The name of my attorney. And there was a note.
Because I love you
How many times have you felt like you were sitting in a courtroom with Satan smirking at your latest mistake? Through my teen years and into adulthood, I struggled with guilt even though I knew that God forgives us and loves us perfectly. I was acting as both the defendant and the jury. Guilty, guilty, guilty.
God assures us in Romans 8:1 that He is the only person who can act as judge and jury.
“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 NKJV
This verse bears the name of our defense attorney. Our Savior from sin and the eternal consequences it brings.
Not condemned, but forgiven. Not sentenced to spiritual death, but given life. This is what we possess when we become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. Forgiven and alive. Forever. No negotiation.
No amount of spiritual harassment from the enemy can undo the perfect work of Jesus’ death on the cross. We receive a different verdict when Jesus puts His arm around us and says, “Because you believe in Me, you’re forgiven of all your sin. I gave My life for yours, because I love you.”
What a gift. What a relief. Not a reason to flourish in sin, but a reason to flourish in mercy, forgiveness, and God’s help. To love Him back with our entire being because He gave His Son so we could be forgiven and know Him forever.
God, thank You for Your precious gift. “Not guilty.” Two words I treasure, two words that move me to follow You more closely.
When Satan sends thoughts of condemnation your way, how do you deflect them? Tell us in the comments below, and may none of us as children of God allow condemnation to keep us from drawing close to God and being on fire for His kingdom in this world. Look into His eyes, and see love.
© Copyright 2020 by Katy Kauffman
This post continues our Building Your Arsenal series, discovering powerful principles of victory in Romans Chapter 8. Check out our first two posts if you missed them:
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forgiveness, freedom, guilt, condemnation, Romans 8, Building Our Arsenal: Truths of Victory from Romans 8, A Different Verdict, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies