Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Woman Condemned

“I’ve known all my life that I am condemned. I’m a sinner. I’m going to hell and there is nothing I can do about it.”

Those were the words shared with me by a lady who just recently started attending Grace Church. She was introduced to our church through a few different people who attend Grace that God had brought into her life. Not every counseling session I have includes a self-portrait like that one. So what was my response? I gently replied,

“You’re exactly right!”

“You are condemned!”

“You are a sinner!”

“You are going to hell!”

“And there is nothing you can do about it!”

I don’t think she realized when she walked into my office that her analysis was exactly where it needed to be in order for her to understand the grace of God. It is true of each of us. We are condemned because we are sinners and as a result we deserve hell. The wages of sin really is death and there is nothing we can do about it. Being good will not change the fact that we are sinners. Going to church…even Grace Church in Lititz, PA…will not change the fact that we are sinners. Getting baptized will simply make us “wet” sinners. On our own we are completely helpless to get one step closer to God.

But then I was able to share with her the Good News of the Gospel, the fact that everything that had to be done for us to be forgiven, for us to have a relationship with God, for us to know for sure that we are going to heaven, happened when Jesus died on the cross. I showed to her and explained to her that, "God made Jesus who knew no sin to become sin for us so that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." I told her how God put our sin on Jesus’ account on the cross so that He paid the penalty for our sin even though He was fully perfect. I then explained to her how when we put our faith in what Jesus did for us on the cross as our only way for forgiveness and eternal life, that God puts the righteousness of Christ on our account and declares us righteous “in Him.”

I then had the sweet, sweet privilege of leading her in a prayer of trust, placing her faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As her eyes (and mine) welled up with tears I showed this dear lady who began our time together with the words, “I’m condemned,” this verse from Romans 8:1, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Just another story of what our church is all about…MEETING people where they are and MOVING them to where God wants them to be!

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