Contrary to what some people believe, God did not send Jesus into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. So why, then, do so many people feel judged and condemned by God?
Condemnation is a pre-existing condition
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:16-18 (NKJV)
Jesus did not come to condemn the world, but to save the world. Condemnation is a pre-existing condition. Consider the relationship between a natural doctor and a patient. Many people walk around with a physical condition and some may not yet be aware of their condition. But when they see their doctor for a check-up or to diagnose certain symptoms, they expect their doctor to give them an accurate medical report based on his educated conclusion. And when the report is not so good, the patient understands that the doctor is not the source of the problem. No one blames the doctor for the reality of cancer in their body and no one faults the doctor for exposing the condition. In fact, we expect the doctor to tell us the truth, whether it is a good report or a bad report. Because if there is, in fact, the existence of a previously unknown sickness or disease in our body, we want to be aware so that we can begin the proper treatment. It would be foolish for the patient to reject the doctor and the treatment simply because they would rather be in denial. But yet that is exactly what so many people do toward Jesus. They don’t want to hear that they are walking around with a pre-existing condition of sin. So they reject Jesus and His word. They would much rather walk in denial of their spiritual condition than to face the reality and seek treatment.
Jesus is not the source of condemnation, He is the solution to condemnation.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16–17 (NKJV)
Condemnation is a pre-existing condition which is why God sent His Son into the world… that whoever believes in Jesus would not perish (would not be condemned) but have everlasting life. Jesus did not come to condemn the world, but to save the world from the very condemnation many are seeking to avoid. You will not avoid condemnation by avoiding Jesus. On the contrary. You will only avoid condemnation when you come to Jesus.
What is the condemnation?
Since Jesus is not the source of condemnation, why do so many people feel condemned when they hear the truth about Jesus and His word? What is the condemnation?
“This is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” John 3:18–21 (NKJV)
In other words, people “feel” condemned when they are simply made aware of the existence of sin, especially when they want to continue living in sin. As a result, many will choose to walk in denial of the truth so they can avoid the “feeling” of condemnation while continuing to willfully live in sin, which is, in truth, the very source of the condemnation they are seeking to avoid. So they misinterpret their “feeling” of condemnation as something coming directly from the Lord, and as a result they avoid the very Person who can properly treat the condition… and even treat the “feeling” of condemnation itself. Jesus does not want anyone to be (or even feel) condemned. He came to save and deliver.
The Solution to Condemnation
God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world… John 3:17 (NIV84)
Jesus is not the source of condemnation, He is the solution to condemnation. And only Jesus has the proper treatment and prescription to deliver us… and He gives us instructions on how to put this terrible, pre-existing condition into remission.
Then [Jesus] said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations…” Luke 24:46–47 (NKJV)
Repentance is a willingness to make a significant lifestyle change. Repentance is what puts sin in remission. Consider a patient who has diabetes or cancer. Most patients would want their disease to go into remission, and in order to do so, there must a lifestyle adjustment. For example, the doctor may instruct their patient to (1) remove unhealthy foods from their diet and (2) to drink plenty water and exercise daily. The first is to remove what is unhealthy, and the second is to add what is healthy. The same is true with God. In order to receive the gift of life and the remission of sins, we must choose to not only receive what is healthy, but to remove what is unhealthy from our life—which is called repentance. This is a requirement. We must be willing to make a course adjustment; to change our unhealthy lifestyles. There are two things we must do. We must (1) identify and remove the things that are unhealthy to our life, and (2) identify and receive the things are healthy to our life.
Remove what is unhealthy
In various places, the Bible tells us what to remove from our life. The following passages list various things that are harmful and destructive behaviors. We need to identify whether or not any of these behaviors exist in our life, and if so, it’s time to make the decision for a course adjustment and to receive the love of Jesus.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19–21 (NKJV)
“Unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;” Romans 1:29–31 (NKJV)
“…lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.” 1 Peter 4:3 (NKJV)
This is not an exhaustive list, but if any of these are present in your life, simply recognize that it is harmful and that it is sin. Some of these things may even seem enjoyable to you, but much like the diabetic who enjoys sugar, in order to live the life God so desperately wants to give you—life more abundantly—you must be willing to identify and remove the harmful habits and choices in your life. That’s called repentance, which literally means to turn; to make a change. Repentance is a willful choice and leads to forgiveness and the remission of sins. This doesn’t mean you will never sin again or make future mistakes, but when you do the Bible says, “If we confess our sins [which simply means to admit that we have sins], He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” John 1:9. In other words, when we admit that we have a problem and call it what it is—”sin”—we not only receive forgiveness, but we also receive the prescription medication (so-to-speak) that completely removes the virus from our system. We have been cleansed. The power of sin is in now in remission and there is NO condemnation from Jesus Christ!
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 (NKJV)
You can choose to receive the truth of God’s word and to accept His treatment and His love and grace …or… you can refuse to accept the reality of your pre-existing condition and continue living in sin, which will ultimately bring about the very condemnation that Jesus came to prevent.
Receive what is healthy
My son, give attention to My words; Incline your ear to My sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh. Proverbs 4:20–22 (NKJV)
1. The word of God brings life and health. When you are in God’s word, you will receive life and health, and sin will stay in remission. But you must be a doer of the word. It does no good to merely read the labels on your prescription medication if you aren’t going to follow the instructions. The same is true if we don’t live our lives according to God’s word. If you are not in God’s word on a regular basis, sin may begin to come out of remission and rear its ugly head. Psalm 119:9 says it this way, “How can a young man keep his way pure?” In other words, after sin has gone into remission, how can you remain pure and healthy long term? The answer follows: “By living according to Your word. Psalm 119:9 (NIV84). In other words, you will remain healthy and pure as long as you continue living according to the word of God.
2. Jesus must be the Savior and Lord of your life. If you have not made Jesus the Lord of your life—or perhaps you said a prayer some time ago, but for one reason or another you find yourself not fully living for the Lord—now is the time to receive the life that Jesus offers. The Bible says that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved. This simply means you need to believe that Jesus is alive and confess with your mouth that He is Lord.
Pray this prayer aloud and mean it in your heart:
Dear God, thank You for tugging at my heart today. You have been trying to get my attention because you love me. I confess to You that I have the pre-existing condition of sin and I need forgiveness. I believe in You and Your Son Jesus. I believe in my heart that You raised Him from the dead and that He is alive today. I confess today that Jesus is Lord. I give my life to Him. I choose this day to live for You. I know I’m not perfect and I may make mistakes, but I know that you love me and will help me become the person you have called me to be. I love you. From this moment forward, I am a follower of Jesus Christ. Amen.
If you prayed this prayer for the first time or if you made a recommitment to the Lord, this is not the end. This is the beginning. The beginning of a brand new life. Find a good, solid, Bible-teaching church and attend every week. Get involved. Buy a Bible and begin reading it. The Gospel of John is a good place to start. Attend Bible studies. Pray. Make new friends who will encourage you in your new walk with God. And most importantly, continue to grow in your personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
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