We're back on the Romans Road again this week and we've arrived at our next stop. Romans 8:1 tells us "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." This promise is a game-changer for all believers. We can now say, as born again, Christ-bought children of the Most High God, that we will not be condemned for our sins and we are free from the penalty of hell. Did you catch that, believer? You're free! Christ has washed you clean by His precious blood and covered you in His righteousness. 1 John 1:7 reaffirms this for us as it says, "But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin."
The gospel of Satan, however, teaches that there was never any condemnation to begin with. "Judge not" is a favorite verse in the devil's OCB (Out of Context Bible as I like to call it) which he preaches from. This indoctrinates people to make statements like, "Get off my back" and "You're not my judge." In Satan's gospel you aren't condemned because there's no standards. It's all relative. You're free to say things such as, "I'm my own person" and "I'll do what I want whenever and however I want!" Sadly, this type of mindset has given rise to so much sin and carnal behavior. It's accompanied by massive arrogance towards any and all opposition that lovingly, but truthfully stands in its way. We see it played out far too often in the LGBTQ+ movement, liberal agendas, re-writing and deconstruction of laws, reckless tolerance and lack of accountability, the normalization and endorsement of violent behaviors, and the re-defining of sinful terms. No longer is it homosexuality, but now it's "alternative lifestyles." Drunkeness is now labeled as "partying," while fornication is just simply being "sexually active." Adulterers are re-branded as just "having an affair" and drug abuse is being defined by many as "recreational."
God is not mocked. These lies perpetrated by the father of lies are not fooling our Heavenly Father and should not be fooling His people. The word of the Lord is clear in Isaiah 5:20-21 when it says, "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter. Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight." The truth of the matter is that there is most certainly a standard and that standard forever and always comes from Almighty God. The enemy can cleverly try to redefine and manipulate all he pleases, but all his efforts and shady talking have not and will not blot out the truth which God has established for all mankind for all of eternity.
Continuing down the road we come to Romans 10:9 which says, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Do you believe that? Have you confessed that? Is your heart bowed to Christ and Christ only? I pray that it is and I pray that you know grace is only through faith in Jesus and Jesus alone. In a world looking for solutions and answers to our constant sin problem, the TRUE Gospel declares Jesus as the only answer. In other words, certainty can be had because of Christ and His word. His promises are true and everlasting.
The false gospel according to Satan is the exact opposite. His message is based on uncertainty. You'll never really know for sure if you've truly got salvation. His gospel teaches that you've got to constantly keep working harder on yourself. Your good deeds need to far outweigh your bad ones. "How will I know?" you say, and the answer from the devil is, "You won't...so just keep working hard and hope it all turns out well in the end." This is how the father of lies operates. Constant deception. Constant fear. Constant worry. The uncertainty and guessing games lead to pathetic theology and beliefs. Two glaring examples would be the concept of karma and the lifestyle of legalism. Both of these works-based approaches are exhausting! There's never any rest because it's all about your never-ending quest to be "good enough."
Thankfully, the true Gospel has a different message. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your sous. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." What an invitation! Jesus, the King of Kings, invites us (dirty, rotten sinners) to "come unto me." He didn't invite us to come to our works, our possessions or our relationships. All those have nothing to offer us in light of eternity before a holy God. Instead, Jesus says to come to Him: a personal Savior. He then tells us to bring our "labor" and "heavy laden" selves for a heavenly exchange. The term "labor" hear implies all of the burdens we put on ourselves, while the term "heavy laden" speaks of the burdens our surrounding world puts on us. Put bluntly, our sin is heavy baggage and this world is only adding to that weighty sorrow. Ironically, Jesus doesn't say He will simply take it away, but tells us to trade this out for His "yoke" which is called "easy" and His burden which is "light." Now, I'm not expert on weights and measurements, but one would think that in order to get relief from a heavy load, taking it off and not replacing it would be ideal. However, Jesus tells us to take off our burden while replacing it with His and here we find the beauty and humility of the Gospel. The reason we find His yoke to be easy and His burden light is not because we are carrying it, but because He is the one shouldering the load.
It is no longer us who must carry the weight of our sin, but Christ has taken the unbearable burden of our debt to God and placed it on Himself once and for all. He and He alone gives us rest from the dramatic, consequential heaviness of our iniquity as He takes it from us while replacing it with the eternal, light weight of His righteousness and glory. Satan, on the other hand, always leaves the heavy weight of sin on you and I and never offers rest, but only increases the burden. Jesus does the exact opposite and out of His perfect love bids us to come to Him and Him alone for peace with God and rest for our weary, sin-sick souls.
I trust you've been sharpened from riding down the familiar path of the Romans Road with me. I pray we guard our minds and hearts from the tempting lies of the enemy. I pray we find ourselves always on the true, established, faithful path of the Gospel. I pray we never deviate down any supposed shortcut the devil may attempt to lure us away with. I pray we are found firmly and faithfully in Christ alone.
Blessings to each of you,