“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” Romans 8:1
In dashing up and down the staircase in our home here at Seminary, each of us (Sam, Liam and I) have occasionally taken a stumble on one or two of the steps. The funny thing, however, is this: each time I have taken a tumble, it was when I was going up the stairs!
The norm for falling (if such a norm could indeed be established) is down a set of steps, however, in my case, I have always fallen upwards! One of my gufty size 11 feet would catch a step on the way up, and I’d take a mini-tumble (although I’m not quite sure if a any tumble by a person of my size could be quite described as being “mini”.)
Needless to say, every such gravity-defying fall, is accompanied by an outburst of laughter from my well-meaning, and very supportive family.
This got me thinking. In life, we often stumble and fall – whether that’s a physical fall, an emotional fall or a spiritual one. With the physical falls, we can get up and nurse the grazed knee or the bruised elbow. The emotional falls, are a little bit harder to mend, however, over time, and with the necessary support of friends and loved ones, they can be healed. (The wounds that is – the scars may never quite disappear!)
Spiritually, however, when one falls “from grace”, or “into sin”, or “out of relationship” with God (whichever term fits one’s theological framework), the reality is, no amount of “self-medication” or any number of support networks are going to bring about a permanent healing in this area. There may be momentary placation of conscience, but an ongoing walking in forgiveness and lasting freedom will not be known in this way.
Any lasting healing of the soul from its disease of sin (both original and actual (sins of commission as well as sins of omission) ) can only be accomplished through the forgiveness that God offers through our Lord Jesus Christ!
John C Maxwell wrote a book entitled, “Failing Forward”. I have not read it as yet, so cannot comment on it. However, the title itself is so “against the grain” of what society associates with the term “failing”. Surely to fail, means one is set “back”! Surely failing equates “down and out”! Likewise with my “antics” on the steps. Falling cannot be upward! It MUST be downward! It must be flat in the dust and dirt of life’s road, where one can be left to be trampled upon by those who are “more religious” or are “more spiritual”.
If this is the understanding: Failing equates backwards! Falling equates downward! STOP PRESS! Pause for just a moment! We are forgetting something; something that cannot, and dare not be forgotten in matters spiritual! It’s a four-letter word described by the hymn writer as “Amazing”! It appears simple, yet is so profound! It appears insignificant, yet is the hinge upon which the entire hope for right-standing before a holy God, hangs! It’s a little word called GRACE!
Many have cheapened this grace by seeing it as a safety net to continue in their sin. (Paul speaks against this in Romans 6:1 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+6&version=NIV ) Countless others, however, myself included, have joined in with the saints of all time in lifting their voices above the accusers, the judges, the self-righteous Pharisaic spirits of our time and bellowed out from hearts of thanksgiving:
“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me; I once was lost but now am found; Was blind but now I see!”(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazing_Grace)
Friend, where are you at? Have you messed up so badly, that you feel there’s no way out? Has your past been so tainted with ugliness that you feel there’s no hope for your future? Does the voice of the enemy refuse to let you forget the mistakes of yesterday, and this is threatening your tomorrow?
God says: “… there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” Romans 8:1. Every accusing voice in your life must be silent! Every criticising ignoramus will be shut up – The King of Kings has spoken! You are free! You are forgiven! You are favoured!
By His grace, your “failing” can be “forward”. By His grace, your “falling” can be “upward”!
Walk now in His freedom, in His forgiveness!