NOTE FROM PASTOR J R FOR SUNDAY, JULY 16, 2023
This Sunday is the 7th Sunday After Pentecost and the summer heat has been very abundant this past week in Central Alabama. I hope you have found some relief from it. I also hope you join us to discover some relief from scriptures used to condemn when it was intended to encourage and enlighten.
Have you ever heard something that was intended to be good news but was told in such a way that it sounded like bad news? Unfortunately, this happens when preachers believe the best way to motivate a person is through negative stimuli. God does NOT share that view!
Consider the first verse of Romans 8, the assigned text for this week. It is a declaration of hope and rejoicing. In chapter 7, Paul described the Christian conflict where we delight in the law of God and desire to serve God. Yet, there is this yearning in us to use passions within our “humanness” in ways opposite of the law of loving God and loving and serving others. The reality of our dualistic existence of being a spiritual being in a physical body, is that we often find that even when we want to do what is right, we fail to do so.
It is at this point that religion often makes the great news of “no condemnation in Christ” sound like terrible news using negativity of condemning folks for their failure to live up to the fullest of the 2 great love commandments. Instead, it should be simply encouraging them with the promise of God’s forgiveness. What a difference that would make! It is vital that we re-think this passage to help people discover, that even when we mess up badly, there’s hope for “there is no condemnation for those ‘in Christ.’”
Join us for worship Sunday, in-person, by Zoom or Facebook Livestream, to learn more about what it means to be “In Christ” with my sermon, “Rethinking of No Condemnation ‘In Christ!’” It is based on “Romans 8:1-11.”