…that He might be
just and the justifier
of the one who
has faith in Jesus.
I remember being a young girl, sitting on the sidewalk of my elementary school, doubled up with stomach pain, terribly anxious. I remember this scene happening time and again. Somewhere in my young mind was an unconscious acceptance that I was unsafe; that I did not belong where I was; that I was consistently on the verge of being exposed, and somehow that would be a very terrible thing. In my little-girl heart I came to feel condemned. That word defined a corrupt perception of myself well into my adult life.
The word condemned has no power on it’s own, of course. It’s just a word. But, when wielded by an enemy bent on destroying every human on the planet, it can bind and cripple.
The Bible says all have sinned and the penalty for that sin is death. That’s condemnation and it does include me. But God did something unimaginable in response to the death sentence looming over me, something so outside any box; so beyond any reasonable response to a condemned woman. The Living God exposed His heart and the passion that lives there. My condemned state was unacceptable to Him, so He did what only He could, and Jesus, who knew no sin, transferred my sentence upon Himself, died in my place, paying the price in full. The moment I surrendered my life to Jesus, receiving that gift of life, I was no longer condemned. God remained just while also being the one who justifies.
After decades of belonging to Him I still occasionally discover myself operating under the delusion that I, a free woman, am doomed and unacceptable. I give in to the temptation to self-justify by pursuing righteousness, striving for something God has already given me. I fight the temptation to earn my way into His graces. All the while He patiently reminds me I have access to Him, because I am His beloved daughter. He sees me pure, lovely and complete.
In the confines of time, I am being conformed into the likeness of Jesus. This work is already completed in the Heavelies. I am free to pursue Him, who is faithful and just to complete what He has begun in me. There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. Mercy.