If you’ve ever watched “Duck Dynasty”, you know who Uncle Si is. If you don’t, he’s the crazy uncle we all have, but would never put on TV! Uncle Si was asked by someone once what his favorite Bible verse was. He told them John 3:17. He then said, “Most people can tell you what 16 says, OK. ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son.’ But they don’t know nothin’ about 17. It says Jesus didn’t come to condemn us. If anybody had a right to condemn someone, it would be the son of God. If he didn’t do it, then hey, we definitely are not qualified to do it. (1)”
As crazy as he can be on that show, there’s a lot of wisdom in what he said there. As Christians, we have to be careful because it’s easy to forget where we’ve come from. When that happens, we think of ourselves as more righteous than others and begin to look down on the lost or unsaved. The problem with that is that the One who is the very embodiment of righteousness did not come to the world to condemn it, but to seek and to save those who are lost. If He didn’t come to condemn the world, what makes us think it’s our job? We should have the same mission as Christ: to help the list find salvation instead of condemnation.
Another thing for believers to be careful about is condemning each other. People who consider themselves more righteous (religious) than others have a tendency to bring condemnation on others who do not believe the way they do. The problem with that is that Paul wrote in Romans 8:1, “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. (NLT)” If someone has accepted Christ as their savior, then we have no right to bring condemnation on them because their sins have been forgiven.
If you’ve been living under condemnation either self imposed or given by someone else, let me encourage you to read Romans 7 and 8. In chapter 7, Paul was very frank about his shortcomings as a believer. We all fall short. We all still sin. We all struggle to do what the Bible tells us even after we become believers. After Paul admits that he’s one of us, he flips in chapter 8 to remind us that there is no condemnation for being human. He reminds us that God does what we cannot do and that is salvation. It’s His work, not ours.
If you’ve been the type who condemns others, think back to the words Jesus spoke to the adulterous woman in John 8:10-11. “Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, ‘Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?’ ‘No, Lord,’ she said. And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I.'” (NLT) If you’re a Christian and you’ve been living under condemnation, then set yourself free based on Romans 8:1. If you are not a Christian and want to live free of condemnation, go back to John 3:16-17. God sent His Son to die for your sins. He took your condemnation for you so that you could be free and go to Heaven. He didn’t come to bring condemnation. He came to set you free from it.