God says you are… not condemned.
Larry Nassar is a former USA Gymnastics team doctor. In 2017 he pleaded guilty to charges of child pornography and was sentenced to 60 years in prison. In late 2017, he entered a guilty plea to 10 counts of sexual assault. For these crimes, in January of 2018, he was sentenced to serve 40-175 years after the 60-year federal prison term is fulfilled. There are over 150 women who have accused Nassar of sexual abuse. He was abusing children under the guise of medical treatment. Children who were seeing him to relieve pain and improve their health.
It’s pretty easy for us to look at this story and see the legal component. Nassar was breaking federal laws and has been found guilty and sentenced for crimes he committed. But, there’s also a moral component.
Listening to the women confront Nassar during the sentencing hearing last week was heartbreaking. News reports and social media feeds were full of coverage and editorials about this story, said to be one of the largest sexual abuse scandals in sports history. The public is outraged because it’s morally reprehensible to use, damage and abuse young girls the way he did.
Our standing with God has both a legal and moral component as well. We spoke of the moral component last week when we talked about the spiritual sickness of sin that we all need Jesus’ healing for. God says you are healed.
Sin also presents a legal problem. You’ve broken God’s law and the punishment for sin is death. You’re legally under the sentence of spiritual death. But, the good news of the gospel means that Christ’s righteousness is credited to you and you cannot be condemned for the crimes you’ve committed.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2)
No condemnation. Someone else took the sentence and punishment that you deserve and you are released from the requirements of the law. This, my friends, is beautiful, life-giving, soul-drenching grace.
It’s as if after sentencing, someone stepped up before the judge and offered to serve Larry Nassar’s sentences; offered to be condemned in his place. That didn’t happen in the courtroom last week for Mr. Nassar. But, spiritually it’s available for him through Jesus Christ, just as it is for you. You might not be convicted of multiple counts of child abuse. But, we are all guilty under God’s law.
Through Christ, God says, you are not condemned.
- Have you chosen to accept Christ’s payment for your sins?
- What is your reaction to the grace of God today?
- How does your freedom from condemnation cause you to want to live?
I’m so moved by your choice to take my punishment. It wasn’t an easy, pain-free path you chose in obedience to the Father. It was excruciating and lonely. Thank you for doing that for me. Help me be always reminded of the beautiful, sacrificial, loving nature of that precious gift. Help me live, speak, act and worship in ways that reflect the truth of the freedom you’ve given me. In gratitude and love for that freedom. In the reality of my “no condemnation” legal standing. Bring to my heart ways that my attitudes and actions need to change to align with that truth.
I love you, Amen.