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Sabbath, July 14, 2012

What Jesus Came to Condemn

While reading a familiar passage of scripture some time ago, I was blessed with a wondrous thought.  The scripture that I read is found in John 3:17:  “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.”  The thought that came to me was this: Jesus didn’t come into this world to show us what we CAN'T be, but He came to show us what we CAN be -- through Him!

We have all “sinned, and come short of the glory (or, character) of God” (Romans 3:23), which is expressed in the Ten Commandments.  We might try to excuse ourselves, saying that we were born with a sinful nature, so, of course, we cannot keep God’s law.  However, Jesus, who was “in all things…made like unto His brethren” (Hebrews 2:17), came to this world and lived a perfectly sinless life.  Now, we have no excuse.  No one can say that God has asked the impossible.  Jesus’ life seems to condemn us, doesn’t it?  Yet, the scripture says that God did not send Jesus into this world to condemn the world.  How can that be?

We read in Romans 8:3: “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh…”  The law of God tells us how to live righteously.  It may encourage us to keep its precepts, but it’s weak because, in our sinful flesh, we’ve all sinned and our "carnal mind is enmity against God." (vs. 7)  So now, all that the law can do is condemn us.  Christ, however, came “in the likeness of sinful flesh” and lived a life without one taint of sin!  But, He did not do this to condemn the world, but to condemn SIN… in the flesh!  “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (vs. 4)  By partaking of the Spirit of Christ—the same Spirit by which Christ “condemned sin in the flesh”—, we also may live righteously, condemning sin in our flesh.  That’s precisely how “the world through Him might be saved”, for only “they that do His commandments… have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” (Revelation 22:14)  God did not send His Son into this world to condemn the world, but to give us an Example of what we may become through Him.

(Editorial from the archives.)

Blog written by: Lee Folkman


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