Yesterday, one of my pastors was talking about the mission field and sending people out. Up on the screen were a couple of verses. We’re all probably familiar with the first verse:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
What did God do? He loved the world. I’ve discovered that love can be a tricky word in some camps. I always thought of love as deep affection toward someone. It could be emotional love, or love shown by actions, too. We experience emotional love towards someone in boyfriend/girlfriend relationships, marital relationships, when we have a baby, the love we have for a mentor or a dear friend. Of course the highest level of love we’ve received from anyone is the love from Christ, who died for us. That is love in action. These were the thoughts that entered my mind after I read the verse.
I looked up at the screen again, and saw the next verse after John 3:16. Verse 17:
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
I must have read this verse three times. It struck me that we so often stop after verse 16, but don’t continue with verse 17.
God did not send his Son to condemn us.
Wow. Jesus did not condemn even sinners? No, it says God did not send Jesus to condemn the world. The world is full of sinners, so no, Jesus did not condemn sinners. My mind turned away from the preaching an onto the word, condemn.
I picked up my phone and looked up condemn. I knew what it meant, but wanted to see the words the dictionary used – all of them – to define the word:
Immediately after reading through the definition, I recalled how often I’ve been rebuked or reproved publicly (online), but I hadn’t ever thought of it as condemnation. Those two italicized words are synonyms of condemn. Every time I speak out against Patriarchy, every time I give reasons why I’m not settled that only men can teach and preach, every time I say that I do not believe husbands should rule over wives, I am condemned by a certain crowd. I am shown disapproval in public. I am criticized, attacked, denounced, berated, even hammered, and told that they are “concerned” about my salvation, etc.
When sharing things publicly, my words are fodder for debate. I’m okay with that. But a debate is not the same thing as condemnation. What I have experienced from supposed “godly” pastors and church leaders is behavior nothing like Jesus. They want to convince me that I’m wrong and they are right, or that I’m rebellious for thinking such a thing. They are condemning me.
What’s interesting is if you address these people and question the way they are attack you and your beliefs, they quip they are telling you this in love and they are being Biblical. It never feels like love. It’s rude. It seems like a clanging cymbal to me. Love is patient and kind, right?
What did that verse say again? Oh yea, Christ did not condemn. If someone had wrong doctrine, Christ did not condemn. Even if someone was a sinner, He did not condemn. Remember the woman at the well with many husbands and living in sin? He told the truth, but He did not condemn her. He showed her love. Remember the thief on the cross – how did Christ treat him? He did not condemn, but offered salvation. Christ saved the world through redemption, not condemnation.
So, the next time you feel condemned (and I’m speaking to the choir here), whenever someone attacks you and your beliefs, feel confident that condemnation is not of Christ – – because Christ does not condemn . . . the Bible tells us so!
14 thoughts on “Christ Saved the World through Redemption, Not Condemnation”
Good insight, JA!
I needed this today! 🙂
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Great post, JA.
I’m glad, Pakesteve. Thanks for letting me know. I couldn’t get it out of my head, and so that’s when I know I need to write it out 🙂
Great points JA.
I’m absolutely certain, however, that Jordan Hall and his stupid ilk can vomit forth a thousand and one citations as to why you’re wrong about everything, ever, forever and ever amen, leave it to the man-preachers, blah blah blah. My apologies, I always get crabby when I can’t boot someone in the mouth when they richly deserve it it.
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Lovely. Romans also jumped to mind: Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2For in Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life has set you free from the law of sin and death
“What’s interesting is if you address these people and question the way they are attack you and your beliefs, they quip they are telling you this in love and they are being Biblical.”
What’s even better is that when you “rebuke” these people that are saying things in love, they will say that they are being condemned. Confronting abusers can be exhausting.
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I think there’s more to it. Christ did rebuke and condemn, but the more I think through the patterns of that condemnation, it seemed like Christ condemned spiritual abuse and abusers.
In my background, though, Christ was taught as condemning false doctrine and hypocrisy, which is why it was thought appropriate to “rebuke” incorrect theology, but even when Jesus rebuked doctrinal errors, it seemed to be within a framework of abuse. He corrected the false doctrine of the Sadducees, but he did not rail against them in the same way he did against the Pharisees. Which is also an interesting lesson – it seemed that liberalism wasn’t as big of a deal to Jesus as spiritual abuse, which is exactly the opposite of what I heard in Reformed churches.
Correct, Mark. Christ rebuked the Pharisees and the abusers.
It’s hard to love someone when you’re judging them.
Religion never seems to change. It was the same in Jesus’ day as it is now.
Probably going by your feelings isn’t the best way to be led. These verses seem to indicate you can correct people in love.
3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may –command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer 4 or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. 5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.
1 Timothy 1:3-7 NIV
Wow -“Corrupt Religious Leaders” condemnation…
Pot meet kettle…
To my friend Julie Anne…
A virtuous women.
Who can find a virtuous woman? Like Julie Anne…
for Julie Anne’s price is far above rubies.
Julie Anne perceiveth that her merchandise…
Her labor for the Lord, is good:
her candle, her light goeth not out by night.
Julie Anne stretcheth out her hand to the poor;
yea, Julie Anne reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
And is a blessing to many.
Julie Anne is not afraid of the snow for her household:
for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
Julie Anne maketh herself coverings of tapestry;
her clothing is silk and purple.
For royalty. Daughter of the King.
Many daughters have done virtuously,
but Julie Anne excellest them all.
Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain:
but Julie Anne, a woman that feareth the LORD,
she shall be praised.
And now, my daughter Juie Anne, fear not;
I will do to thee all that thou requirest:
for all the city of my people doth know
that thou art a virtuous woman.
So sweet, Amos. Thank you 🙂