The Verdict {Because He Loves Me Book Study Week 4}

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

We are on Chapter 4 in our book study of Because He Loves Me here and at GraceLaced. Are you loving it as much as I am? It’s not too late to join us! Buy your book here.

I woke up this morning and the electricity was already off. It never came back on all day, and so, sadly, the never-plan-ahead-Joy is without a post and has a house full of hungry people. I am dripping with sweat, and only have a moment, but I want to say a few words about this, my favorite chapter of this book.

When I first read this book last year, this chapter is the one that finally allowed it all to sink in. It was my AHA moment. 

I knew it all in my head. Very well. But it had yet to sink way down into my heart, and fill and flood it. That’s what this chapter did. It took the gospel and sunk it down deep to my toes.

These two quotes were what spoke to my heart:

“He bore God’s wrath for every time when we knew we shouldn’t speak the way we were about to speak, but did it anyway. He received the righteous sentence for every unkind, lustful, selfish, wrathful, covetous, apathetic, vain, proud, dishonest, perverse thought, word, and deed that has ever proceeded from our hearts. The Father poured out all his wrath on His Son.” pg.70

 

Several of those adjectives describe me. That is what His blood paid for. My ugly, ugly sin.

And this quote makes me want to whoop and holler:

 

“Jesus’ perfect record has become ours. Because God has accredited or imputed Jesus’ perfect obedience to you, when God looks upon you, he sees you as a person who

  • always does the things that are pleasing to him;
  • is so focused on accomplishing his will and work that doing so is your daily food;
  • doesn’t seek your own will but seeks his will instead;
  • doesn’t seek to receive glory (praise, respect, worship) from others;
  • has always kept all his commandments;
  • lives in such a way that your life brings holiness to others;
  • loves others and lays down your life on a consistent basis;
  • lives in such a way that the people around you know that you love your heavenly Father more than anything else;
  • seeks to obey every command so that righteousness will be fulfilled.
In God’s opinion (the only one that matters!) that’s your record today.” pg.73
I find that totally astounding, don’t you?
The only way to silence my heart and find solace is to continually remind myself of my new identity in Christ and to be satisfied with that alone. If I try to be satisfied in my own accomplishments or identity, I’ll never know the comfort he promised.” pg.75
Scriptures that speak to me through this chapter are: 2 Corinthians 5:17-19,21, 1 Peter 3:18,Romans 8:3,4.
I pray this week that you and I would be blessed, be astounded, be overwhelmed by our verdict this week. The one that should say guilty, but instead says, innocent. 
How about you? What are you learning? Please feel free to comment below or link up a post if you are a blogger. Next week we will study chapter 5 with Ruth at Grace Laced!


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  • Kim

    This chapter was definitely for me! I need to re-read it frequently. My favorite parts were how she practically applied these truths of being justified to our own feelings of condemnation. I wrote in my journal a tailored version of what she wrote: “When my husband or children fail and I respond in an ungodly way, remind myself of this – I know I’ve failed to be the wife and mother God wants me to be but that’s why I need a Savior as do my kids and husband. Thank you Lord for giving me Your perfect record in Christ and even though I sin, I am accounted perfectly righteous before You! Please forgive me and help me respond to this great gift You’ve given in faith and grateful obedience. I will trust You to work in me as I recount Your blessings to me, Your grace, forgiveness, love, mercy, comfort, compassion, patience, all undeserved.” This has been such a great book and one I wish I read much earlier in my Christian walk but am thankful to be reading it now. :)

  • Kendra

    I have been excitedly waiting to see what folks would write about this chapter and already it does not disappoint. I am excited that you guys so far have been so inspired by this chapter. I had a bunch of the opposite effect. It was mentally difficult to get through this chapter for me, not because the blessings revealed through it aren’t abundant (they are!!) but for whatever reason, unlike the other chapters, I had trouble wrapping my heart around it.

    I understand the concepts and the Bible verses. But I kept feeling overwhelming guilt at how much our Savior has suffered for me and at how truly unworthy I am for this amazing divine gift. I guess Satan was just working extra hard to get at me this week, hitting me where he knows I’m weak – those same insecurities that I brought into this study and had been chipping away through the first few chapters. I have been praying hard for God to change my thinking and help me continue to really feel this concept, to have gratitude not guilt.

    I suppose this all sounds more negative than I mean it. This is wonderful news – the description of Jesus being put to death by lethal injection as a criminal really brought the concept home in a powerful way. The phrases Joy pointed out about us having Jesus’ sinless record (not just that our sins were taken away but that they were replaced with Jesus’ righteousness – wow!!) Amazing!! No wonder Satan doesn’t want me to fully grasp it. No wonder he wants me to continue to wallow in feelings of unworthiness and guilt. Imagine if he could make Jesus feel guilty or bad or unworthy, what a coup that would be. All the more reason to stand firm and not take on the guilt but be so very appreciative of this new personality I have been given through Christ’s righteousness and sacrifice!

    • Diane

      I had a rough time with this chapter as well. I just posted my thoughts at mylifeasrobinswife.com. I have so many ups and downs as I find my “joy” in my day to day (when it goes well) instead of the fact of God’s love for me in Christ which is constant and stabilizing. I am SO thankful that God is not done with me yet. :) Blessings!

      • Kendra

        Oh my, Diane – you expressed many of my inner thoughts so beautifully in your post! The thing that I keep reminding myself – which is so difficult for us perfectionists-in-training – is that we really, really aren’t in control. The Almighty God of the Universe is, and that is more than okay – it is great!!

        I just got done lecturing to my class on the topic of control. Psychologists suggest that having a sense of control is an innate and universal psychological need for us humans and that we are healthiest when we have some sense of control over our lives (which is why we pick up the toys from the living room floor every night, um, week, um, month? ;-) There is this spark in us that wants to be in control.

        BUT, the research also shows that there is one group of individuals who are healthier even when they perceive they have less control over their lives. My students are often shocked by it but you won’t be – it’s folks who have a strong relationship with God. Wow! We have this tendency to want to control our destinies (which isn’t entirely bad, by the way; it’s what keeps us getting out of bed every morning), but Jehovah God provides an additional peace and calm for those of us who know that He is (and let Him be) in control. Ahhh…

        The trick, as you mention in your post, is to let our minds steep in that idea (LOVE that, by the way!).

        • Diane

          Such good points Kendra! It is so good to know I a, not alone :). I am so thankful that God is the one who is really in control…even when I think I am :). I am also so grateful that HE loves me! :)

          Blessings!

    • Deb

      Kendra,

      This is the first chapter that I didn’t have to fight my thoughts (and Satan). I almost gave up on chapter one! And I thought all my comments sounded like Eeyore wrote them! Depressing. I think that realizing we really are all struggling with the same type of issues does help us but Satan always wants us to think we are alone. You just never know who is reading but won’t write a comment because they feel like they have nothing good to say. I certainly felt that way and it took a long time for me to hit the post tab. But I thought, maybe there are other people thinking and feeling the same way. I was glad other people “got it” and were positive but in the first few chapters I was still… blank. I said a prayer for you.

  • http://www.joyfilleddays.com/ Sarah Beals

    I didn’t get to read this chapter, but just this post did my heart good. Thanks for sharing, Joy. Love you!

  • Ellie

    The quote that stuck with me all week is,”Many people struggle with feelings of condemnation and guilt today because they’ve never really understood what Jesus did for them on Calvary. They think that their relationship with God is predicated on the fact that they’re not really all that bad, and then they wonder if God still loves them when they struggle with ongoing sin.”

    I believe that every woman who was saved at a young age especially needs this chapter. Sometimes, when people are saved at an early age, they don’t ever remember understanding the awfulness of their sin, and how completely helpless they are in becoming “better.” I am in this category, and for years struggled with insecurity, because I would wonder if I could really be saved and still commit the same sins. However, once I realized that Christ died a horrible death for what I would consider small sins, including the sins that I commit everyday as a Christian, I was able to see my salvation not as something that I tired to live up to, but as a true gift to me. (Eph. 4:8-9)

    I also really liked the author’s complete definition of justification. Not only did God take away my debt of sin, He replaced it His Son’s righteousness!

    It is so easy to lose this perspective, so thank you so much this book study!

  • Deb

    Oh my word! I can’t begin to say what an eye opening chapter
    this was! I highlighted so much.

    I would have to say this stood out the most for me:

    Elyse’s example and prayer on page 74. I don’t really know why I thought I was going to be the perfect mother because I got saved, and I wouldn’t have said that was my thought exactly, but that hit the nail on the head.

    Page 75 “I have to remind myself over and over that his righteousness is now mine and that the way my heart harasses me is more a function of my pride and self-sufficiency than a sincere desire for godliness… I sinfully long to be able to look at my life and feel good about my personal accomplishments- see what a good mother I am!-and it’s desire that spawns crushing guilt.”

    “Remember, his love came to us when we were his enemies. Why would he leave us now that we’re his beloved children?”

    I completely understood I am a sinner and I need Jesus, but I can honestly say I never looked at it this way. Like Joy said, it was an AHA moment… this chapter made so much clearer. I have been saved for almost 11 years and I am in a good church, but it finally clicked as I was reading this chapter. The fact that I get to “let go” of all that I have been trying to do and just see my need for the Savior is SO incredible! I think I will read this chapter over regularly to keep me focused on Him rather that my usual habit of
    focusing on myself.

  • Lauren_onebrightcorner

    Dear Joy,

    I thought I left a comment here last week, but can’t find it, so forgive me if I’m double-posting.

    I found your blog several months ago and quickly followed it. I have been so encouraged by your sharing! Your series on refreshment has been just what I have needed, and your heart for the Lord is such a blessing to me! Thank you for your honesty on your blog and your faithfulness to the Lord.

    I know you must be quite busy, so I’ll try to keep this short. One of your first posts that I read was this one: http://gracefullmama.com/sisterhood-he-sees-you/ I have to say it brought tears to my eyes and was incredibly convicting to me! So much so that I would love to get your permission to post it on my blog (www.onebrightcorner.blogspot.com)

    This week, I am doing a series of guest posts, and I would be so grateful if I could post this encouraging article! I think it would be a blessing to many of my readers, and a great way to introduce them to you! I would post the article exactly as you wrote it, and put a little bio about you along with a link to your blog. With your permission, I would love to use the picture of Tinang Kule as well.

    Again, I know you’re busy, but if you could let me know what you think as soon as convenient so I could plan for the week that would be wonderful!

    Love from your sister in Christ,
    Lauren
    bellabellegirl(at)live(dot) com