Stomping on the gift
When we read about condemnation in a theological sense, it’s often framed as a punishment of sorts that God casts on us.
But then we hit the roadblock…
Jesus came for the whole world gathering up all of our sins into his death and resurrection forever. Sooooo, if this is the case - if Jesus’s final words are true, “It is finished” - how can we now be condemned?
Here’s another way to look at ‘condemnation’ that I’ve found to be more helpful…
Faith is a thing that is given to us by God. It is not something that we must (or can) muster up on our own. It’s a divine gift that can only be imputed to us from outside of ourselves (this is what some say that the preacher’s job is).
When we believe this promise, we’re saved by it. It sinks in for us, for whatever reason. But we’re always under the egoic condition of sin and must be reminded of our redemption again and again.
It is said that when we don’t have faith - when we don’t believe the gospel promise, we are ‘condemned’…
BUT, instead of seeing this as a punishment, it’s helpful to see it more as a forfeiture of the gift.
There we are, holding the gift of forgiveness and freedom in our hands, and rather than embrace it, we throw it on the ground and stomp on it.
I’ve been there. I might be there tomorrow. Or later today.
We all do this. It’s our natural propensity. Which is why I need the gospel - the good news of God’s love FOR ME (and you) - repeated to me in word and sacrament on a weekly (at least) basis.
It’s comforting to know that, no matter how often I stomp on that gift, I can never destroy it.