Oh what a little confidence can do to someone’s attitude. As I looked up confidence in my dictionary, the first definition I came across was full trust; belief in the reliability of a person or thing. Someone once said, “Confidence is like a muscle: The more you use it, the stronger it gets.” For the disciple of Christ, confidence is crucial if the maturing process is to continue. The question is, “Where am I to place my confidence?”
The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack? Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” Matthew 19:20-21
You may remember, the man went away “sorrowful” because he had great possessions. It appears, at least on some level, that his confidence (i.e., full trust) in life was misplaced. But there is another, equally destructive mindset that can hinder, and at times, squelch growth and hope in the Christian; that is, no confidence at all.
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1
I like how Jim McGuiggan, in his commentary on Romans, emphasizes the above thought, saying, “It will be true after this life that there is no condemnation but it is also true that there is now, NOW, no condemnation.” As was mentioned in a previous lesson, we are a work in progress; and thus, we need to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12) But that work is not to improve our standing with God, for if one is in Christ Jesus, there is NO condemnation. This word condemnation speaks of a damnatory sentence. The sufficient work of Christ set the stage for mankind to be freed from the shackles of the Law and presented an opportunity for him to avoid such a sentence. Through that wonderful message of hope, called the Gospel, we are catapulted from the “power of darkness . . . into the kingdom of the Son of His love.” (Colossians 1:13)
For the disciple, our confidence (our assurance) is in Christ’s redemptive work! But that confidence should reveal not just what God will give us in the future, but what He gave us NOW that we are in Christ Jesus. And in this we can be sure, that there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. Period!