What Do You Believe About The Doctrine Of Condemnation?
The laws of man are only respected when they are properly enforced and when they carry with them a penalty that is proportionate to the crime. Fear properly employed in law enforcement grants the executor of the law more respect. This fear is of two kinds; there is a reverential fear of the law, and a fear of the consequences of breaking that law.
With this kind of fear it ensures that the law enforcer "beareth not the sword in vain" (Romans 13:4).
The law is a wonderful thing. The Scriptures tell us that the law is good. Can you imagine the chaos and anarchy that would grip our land were it not for our structured legal system?
The Lord uses the legal word condemnation to describe the state of all mankind. Beginning with those who have transgressed and broken Godís law in the Garden of Eden. When the man Adam originally sinned he judicially brought the state of condemnation upon the entire human race. Romans 5:12 tells us: "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." Mankind today is connected all the way back to the first Adam as a sinner. The judicial state of condemnation rests upon all men. Romans 5:18 explains the concept scripturally, "Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all man to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life."
The word condemnation means to declare a person guilty and worthy of punishment. Condemn and condemnation are judicial terms, the very opposite of the words justify and justification (Matthew 12:57; Romans 5:16, 18). Because of the Holy demands of Godís righteousness, man who is in the state of being condemned is also spiritually dead and will suffer eternal death as his punishment.
To be under condemnation is an awful state. Yet a recognition of this condition is so necessary for a person to really see and understand his awesome need. Just knowing that we are guilty sinners, lost and condemned should make up appreciative of the gift of salvation. Sadly, however, so many have become hardened in their sinning and either have no awareness of their sin state or no longer care.
The purpose of this study is to create a proper understanding of the doctrine of condemnation so that no one needs to remain in this awful state. May God bless as we consider who the condemned are.
I. WHO ARE THE CONDEMNED. vv. 17-18
The condemned are not those who are condemned by the Lord Jesus Christ but are those who are under the condemnation of the law. A man today cannot have the law executed upon him unless there is a law to be broken. Romans tells us that sin is not imputed where there is no law (Romans 5:13).
God gave man an awareness of his state of condemnation by his inability to keep the law. The law that was given by Moses shows man that he is a law breaker in every way. It is better stated that when a man breaks one law he is guilty of having broken them all. It is also true that you do not have to teach your children to be bad, to lie, or do evil things. Instead they must be taught to be good, and to be truthful.
Some including Nicodemus, may have felt that Jesus Christ had come to intensify the state of condemnation. But we are told: " For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved" (v. 17). God is a merciful and loving God yet He cannot compromise His Holiness. He is not walking around Heaven looking down upon earth with a gigantic bully whip. But He also is not able to pardon the sinful transgressor or excuse him until he looks up to Jesus by faith and is born again. The condemned are simply those who continue in their lost state and are not believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Those who do not believe fall into two major categories. There are those who are not believing ignorantly, and then there are those who are not believing foolishly.
A.THE CONDEMNED INCLUDE THOSE NOT BELIEVING IGNORANTLY v. 18
Ignorance is not always bliss. Especially in regards to your salvation. Yet many people across our world are ignorant of the Gospel Truth. In a world where people are more acquainted with the Coca-Cola soft drink than they are with the Lord Jesus Christ is a shame. The Coca-Cola industry had its beginning around the turn of the last century; Christianity, on the other hand, has been birthed for nearly 2000 years. Yet it is reported that Coca-Cola has been carried into many places that the Gospel has not even touched.
One must realize that there are many heathen countries who do not have a clear presentation of the Gospel; but it is sad to know that there are increasing numbers in the United States who do not know either. Many like this, in the States, are being born into families who have turned blatantly from God to "serving idols." Romans 1:28 explains this condition, "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do these things which are not convenient:" Verses 29 through 32 further explains this condition. The effect that this condition has on their offspring is horrifying. It is as though these children are being born into "cultural heathenism." Their parents are refusing the teachings of God, and removing themselves from those who do teach Truth. Their children have no opportunity to hear the Truth which means that they are growing up ignorant of that Truth. Thus, they are "cultural heathens."
Many who embrace intellectualism and much of its humanistic teachings find themselves unwilling to accept or believe the plain and simple teachings of the Scriptures. They profess themselves to be wise but are only fools. They are, "Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (II Timothy 3:7).
B. THE CONDEMNED INCLUDE THOSE WHO ARE NOT BELIEVING FOOLISHLY. v. 18
Psalms tells us that, "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God." With Godís fingerprint on every act of His creation and with the Scriptures as a testimony of truth, there is no excuse for not believing the creator God. Yet men are foolishly rejecting Him.
Not only do people reject Christ Jesus intellectually, but they also reject Him experientially. They experience the fact of His existence but they foolishly reject Him because of their love for the things of this world. Satan, who is the god of this worldly system, "decorates or adorns" this world for the "carnal consumption" by the masses. The word world in this sense comes from the Greek word cosmos from which we get the word cosmetics.
I John 2:15-17 reminds and commands us to, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."
Whether it be an intellectual or pleasure "snare" that keeps one from believing, the results are the same. CONDEMNATION!
II. WHAT IS THE CONDEMNATION? vv. 19-20
A textbook definition of condemnation has already been given, but what does it really mean scripturally to be under condemnation? The Lord Jesus when speaking to Nicodemus said, "And this is the condemnation, than light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather that light, because their deeds were evil." Condemnation is based upon a comparison and upon a contrast. The comparison is "light" and "darkness." Who are you like? Who do you really compare to?
The contrast is "Truth vs. Lie." Satan is a "liar and the father of it" John 8:44. Christ Jesus is the "True Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" John 1:9.
A. THE LIGHT HAS COME v. 19
The purpose of light is to dispel darkness. The Lord Jesus Christ came with His primary mission of bringing the Light into this sin darkened world. Never in history has their been spiritual and moral darkness as there is today. Dare to pick up a paper or turn on the news broadcast without seeing or hearing of some wicked and obscene activity taking place. At this very writing, while in Trinidad, I picked up the Trinidad newspaper and saw the 48 year old neighbor of the ex-sheriff of Port-of-Spain, sprawled out dead after having been shot twice. The ex-sheriff shot his neighbor because "they could not get along." Any newspaper will bear this kind of "news." Sexual perversion, lying, stealing, vulgarity, nudity, and violence all further darken this world today. Wicked television programming, ungodly video and ungodly music are further indicators of where we are spiritually. But praise God, the light did come and as believers we too may be "bright lights shining in dark places."
B. THE LIGHT WAS REFUSED vv. 19-20
When Jesus came with the Light, it was as though the masses were saying, "Thanks, but no thanks." Their love for darkness was greater because "their deeds were evil" v. 19.
Admittedly, the attractions of this world are very enticing. Satan sees to that. Yet the pleasures delivered this way are only temporal, "for a season" (Hebrews 11:25). Many are guilty of chasing their "elusive butterfly" but never finding the lasting peace and joy that they are so desirous of. All that Satan gives is counterfeit, but all that the Lord gives is real and meaningful.
To enjoy the pleasures of sin while rejecting The Light means spending eternity in Hell where there will be eternal darkness. Is this not a terribly high price to pay for just a moment of fleshly gratification? Yet "wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction."
III. WHAT HAPPENS TO THE CONDEMNED? vv, 21 (cf. v. 36)
Those who believe and are no longer under condemnation "doeth truth" and "cometh to the light" verse 21. "Cometh to the light" is in the perfect tense in the Greek meaning that he keeps on coming, he comes again and again ... an again Ö . By doing so the believer demonstrates that he is "wrought in God" v. 21.
My father and mother testified to the truthfulness of this statement as well as anyone that I have ever known. They were saved after living many years outside of the church. My father was forty-two when he was saved and my mother was thirty-nine. Until then they both along with my sister had never even attended a church. My father was a drunkard who would put his liquor bottle under the seat of his car and drink from it. I would ask; "Daddy, whatís that?" He would reply, "Thatís my bottle, son."
After he, my mother, and sister were saved, and after attending church for the very first time, their lives were radically changed (II Corinthians 5:17). At this time my father purchased a 1951 Ford in which the car seat went all the way to the floor. I remember asking my daddy, "Where are you going to put your bottle now?" He pulled me real close and said, "Son, I wonít need a place now!" Praise God!
From that time on there was a great difference in each of their lives, with their faithfulness being recognized by everyone who knew them. I had the honor of preaching both my sisterís and motherís funeral knowing that upon their being born again they are now in Heaven.
Even as I am writing this, having just landed at Miami International Airport on my way home, I carry great concern. My father, while I was on a mission trip to Trinidad and Grenada, was stricken with pneumonia and had a heart attack. He is in a coma; it looks grave, but I have the blessed assurance that all is well because he is no longer under condemnation, but has passed from "death unto life." To God be the glory!
A. THE WRATH OF GOD RESTED UPON THEM BECAUSE THEY REJOICED IN THEIR SIN. v. 36
Godís mercy is wonderful and it is everlasting, but His Truth and Holiness is not compromised so that he condones the sinner. We are often guilty of teaching our children and being taught ourselves that sin does not have is consequences. There are less and less clear absolutes. People are being taught humanistically an amoral position in life. They do not teach nor practice morals. In their lost condition, they are inviting the wrath of God. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." (v.36) "And even as they did not life to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them" (Romans 1:28-32).
B.THE WRATH OF GOD RESTED UPON THEM BECAUSE THEY REJECTED THE SAVIOR. v. 36
The condemning judgment of God is assured to all those who reject Godís grace. Remember, Christ did not come to earth to condemn the world, but to save those who believe. Those who reject the Savior will face the eternal wrath of God and hear the words "Depart from me Ö ." The Judge has spoken!
(I returned to my father on Thursday night and sat with him until Sunday morning, which was his coronation day!)
Material From Dr. Max Alderman, Ph.D