You are sitting on the back porch with some friends talking about the latest TV series you watched when the conversation takes a turn. One of your friends clears her throat a bit and says something you weren’t quite prepared for: “So, I’ve been struggling with watching porn lately. I’ve talked to my mentor about it, but I’ve stepped away from watching shows like that. It’s just not good for me.”
Everyone stops. In the most caring way, your other friends jump in to tell her they’re proud of her courage for confessing her struggle. They’re so glad she’s told someone and that she has accountability. And the whole time your stomach is churning, because you just want to tell them it’s something you’re struggling with too. It feels too hard to say out loud even though you know the truth: In Christ, there is no condemnation (Romans 8:1).
Jesus Changes Everything
There is a total pivot that happens in our lives when we turn it over to God. Romans 8:1 shows us: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Does following Jesus mean we won’t ever struggle or sin again? Absolutely not. But it does change everything about the way we can respond to it all.
The enemy wants you to feel so much shame about your struggle that you keep it to yourself. You stay in your own head, deciding you’re the only one on the planet to ever struggle with this sin and it is too big and too alarming to admit.
But, there is no condemnation.
When we go back to week one and two of this study and remember that (a) we are all sinners, and that (b) before Jesus gave his life on our behalf our sin equaled death, we see how big of a mess we were in. Without Jesus there was no solution. But Jesus did not die on our behalf so we could then keep living the same life, held back by the same struggles, and trapped in the same self-made prison. We are free.
Go and Sin No More
Too many of us follow Jesus yet are still walking around carrying the weight of chains and being tied so tightly to our secrets and sin. But Jesus has already given us freedom.
We just have to live like we are actually free. Take a look at John 8 for example. We find the story of a woman who was brought to Jesus by the Scribes and Pharisees. They wanted her to be stoned, because she had been caught in adultery and that’s what the law said should happen because of it. What did Jesus say instead? Look at John 8:7–11.
- “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” (v. 7).
- “She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more” (v. 11).
The gospel isn’t an excuse for us to keep sinning, but it is a permission slip for us to confess, take the shame off, and walk freely in the other direction. The beauty about walking alongside other followers of Jesus is that you get to cheer each other on, hold each other accountable, and keep pointing each other to Jesus the whole way home.
Because of the gospel you can say your sins out loud. Because of the gospel you can take off the chains now. You are free.
Watch a captioned version of this week's video here: https://vimeo.com/392525640