Joyless Sinning


If “there is . . . now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1), why do so many believers still go around bowed under inner condemnation? Sometimes it is taught that to acknowledge this condemnation is a sign of humility. One leading churchman said, “The people outside the churches are unforgiven sinners and the people inside are forgiven sinners.” Then they are both sinners and, as such, under condemnation. That kind of Christianity fits this description: “Just enough religion, not to keep one from sinning, but enough to take the joy out of it.” So the ordinary church member goes on with joyless sinning. He calls it humility, but it is really a humiliation of the Redeemer, for if He doesn’t save us from sin He doesn’t save us from anything—including hell, for sin is hell begun.

In the communion ritual of the Methodist Church, after the prayers of confession and acceptance of forgiveness and the partaking of the communion, there is this prayer, “God have mercy on us, Christ have mercy on us.” As if nothing had happened! We go away still crying for mercy, our piety a guilt-ridden piety. Where is the note of the authentic evangelical movement? See the words to Charles Wesley’s hymn “And Can It Be That I Should Gain?”

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray,
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light:
My chains fell oft’, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
No condemnation now I dread.

A follower of the gloriously converted layman, Haug, was turned away on a rainy night from a farmhouse. As he went away he said, “It’s wonderful to have the peace of God in the heart at this time of night.” The farmer couldn’t sleep, ran after him, brought him back, and was converted.


O God, a guilt-ridden piety has no power to convert others. Give us the authentic note of “there is now no condemnation,” and help us to shout it from the housetops. Amen.


There is therefore no condemnation in me for I am in Him.

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

2 Responses

  1. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Abide in Christ. When we step aside from the awareness of Christ’s presence we open the door of our heart to the “accuser of the brethern” and the devil’s joyless condemnation. Keep your eyes and your heart ever focused on the living Jesus.

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