Living the Resurrected Life. The Testimony Part 12 The Water, The Blood, and the Spirit, Part 5 - The Spirit,Conviction versus Condemnation - David Mitts
Last session we began speaking about the testimony of the Spirit. We compared the impact of trying to solve the issues of our conscience from self-efforts, what the scriptures calls dead works to living the overcoming life by the Spirit.
“how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14)
What drives dead works? Our conscience. Our conscience is defined as that part of ourselves that determines the rightness or wrongness of something. How do we do that? What informs our conscience?
I think our conscience, at its root is informed by our need to find out what is good and evil in our lives and then to choose what to do or say. In this sense, our conscience is activated by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
“For God knows that on the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will become like God, knowing good and evil.”” (Genesis 3:5)
Being “like God” is a statement about our conscience. Becoming God in our lives is determining goodness and badness of others. Yeshua calls determining the goodness or evil of another asjudging others.
“Do not judge, so that you will not be judged.” (Matthew 7:1)
When we judge, we act as God in the matter and worse, define ourselves by our judgments. The core issue with our judgmentsis that we possess no true standard to judge anyone or really anything. The only plumbline we can reasonably use is the commandments of God, because we know that God is good, and His Word is true. Yet what makes even our reliance on God’s Law unworkable is the motives and intents of our heart. Hebrews 4:12 tells us:
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Heb 4:12 NASB)
This verse reveals to us that even the word of God which is living and active will ultimately just reveal what our motives and intentions are to us. So, when we judge another, we do it generally because of the pain we are suffering and not as an impartial judge. We have true internal standard of goodness and so we react and respond through the lens of our partial, wounded standard.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. (1Co 13:9-10 NASB)
Our partiality is a description of our woundedness, trying to vainly figure out who or what we can trust in the world. Paul calls this type of thinking “childish reasoning”.
When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now, we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. (1Co 13:11-12 NASB)
It is through the speaking of the Spirit, the testimony of the Spirit that we can mature into the knowledge of who we are.
"But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. (Joh 16:13 NASB)
The Holy Spirit hears and speaks. The question is who is the Spirit listening to? The Word of God, who is Yeshua! Who does Yeshua listen to? Abba.
For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. (1Jn 5:7 NKJV)
In Heaven there is an eternal agreement in the testimony. It is called being “one”. To be “one” which we are designed for, there must be a sense of security in a relationship based on love.To feel secure in any relationship, we must feel that mistakes are not a reason for rejection. Performance based religion of any type always thrusts us into perfectionism. This doesn’t just have to show up as what we do but can also be revealed by our dogmatism to our perspective or belief system. Rigidity is a symptom of insecurity.
Even when we are right in our beliefs, the need to be right demonstrates our insecurity in our relationships. God is the ultimate example of being right and He refuses to allow His perfection to diminish His love for us.
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
Notice it is created things that try to separate us. Our beliefs are created things. They will always separate us if we make them dogmas. It’s not the beliefs themselves that are the problem, it is the need to prove ourselves by them.
This is where the issue of condemnation versus conviction arises. Condemnation is the situation where we feel threatened in our identity. Paul tells us:
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation at all for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)
Being in Christ Jesus is a statement of identity not performance. It is the condition of being “one” with Him. It is the lack of covenant understanding that is responsible for most of the mischief promulgated as faith in the Believing community.
What do I mean by that? Well think of the ideal marriage covenant as God intended.
“And said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND HIS MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’? “So, they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no person is to separate.”” (Matthew 19:5-6)
One flesh is the natural corollary to the spiritual reality of being one with Messiah. Paul spoke about this:
“For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are parts of His body. FOR THIS REASON, A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND HIS MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.” (Ephesians 5:29-31)
From this parallel, we can learn ow truly cherished we are for who we are not for what we do.
Think of a new marriage and the process of discovery of one another. Say the husband cooks or doesn’t cook or the wife cooks or doesn’t cook. Regardless the process of discovery reveals the relative strengths and weaknesses of each. Love requires us to cover or protect those weaknesses. Maybe if both can’t cook, then a cooking class is in order. What is NOT acceptable is rejection. I can think of many examples of this process of discovery. What makes it beautiful is the uniqueness of the walk of each couple learning who they each are and how to come into oneness.
Similarly in our walk with the Lord, we begin positionally as one. We cannot become more one with Him than we are at the moment of our betrothal which we call salvation.
Salvation as a term implies that we need to be rescued from something oppressive. I know sin and the slavery to sin is oppressive. Yet there is something much more demonstrative of the love of God than what we are rescued from. Yes, we all come out of the Egypt of sin and death. I am not minimizing that. Rather, I am stating that there is a deeper process of discovery in the love of the covenant than the deliverance from the rule of sin and death.
In the place of covenant, we are one with Him and begin to learn how to love Him beyond the confines of sin and death. This is the place of liberty. The Spirit breathes this liberty into our being:
“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)
How does He breathe it? By dropping the veil of performance in our relationship to Him.
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
We come into the face-to-face reality of the betrothal of covenant. The bible tells us the veil is the separation to the face of the Lord. The veil is embodied in the flesh of Yeshua.
“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,” (Hebrews 10:19-20)
The veil was torn in the Temple when the physical body of Yeshua breathed His last breath.
“And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split,” (Matthew 27:50-51)
Reality was transformed with the death of Yeshua. The veil, that His flesh represented was the efforts of man to become righteous in the flesh. This is the power generator of condemnation. It is summarized by the Apostle Paul in Romans 7
“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.” (Romans 7:18)
Anytime we add using any version of works to our faith, our trust in the voice of God, we restore the veil, the separation from God. So, then how we perform acts of righteousness. Through the leading of the Holy Spirit. He alone can lead us into all truth.
“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” (John 16:13)
This leading is called conviction. The Spirit convicts of truth. The Spirit does not ever condemn the saints only those who remain in the flesh, behind the veil.
“And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more;” (John 16:8-10)
There is judgment for the world but conviction for the saints.The purpose of conviction is righteousness.
Activation: Present ourselves as instruments of righteousness.
“And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.” (Romans 6:13)
This week seek the Lord on what you need to present to Him of your life as yielded to righteousness. This is conviction, never condemnation.