In this sermon, part of a series on the Book of Romans, our founding pastor, W. Graham Smith talks about condemnation and what Christians should do when they sin. Here are some excerpts:

What should a Christian do when he sins? Three things:

You remind yourself that Jesus Christ has already paid for your sin.

Look at 1 John 2:1-2, “My dear children (Christians), I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense — Jesus Christ the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins…” You see, Jesus is in heaven now, speaking to the Father in our defense. He says, “Father, I bore the penalty 2,000 years ago; and there’s no such thing as ‘double Jeopardy’ — being punished twice for the same crime.”

Then you confess your sin.

Look at 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” That word “confess” in Greek means, “I agree with the statement that someone else makes.” Confession simply means, “I agree with you, Lord. That thing I said or did was downright wrong. God, I got angry and blew my top today unnecessarily. God, I had a judgmental, critical attitude. Lord, I gossiped, and Lord, You are right. That was wrong.”

There are three things confession does not mean:

  • It doesn’t mean to BEG: “Oh God, please, please, please forgive me!” God wants to forgive you.
  •  It doesn’t mean to BARGAIN: “God, if You forgive me, I will never do this again.” Folks, if you have a problem with a certain sin, it’s going to be a lifelong struggle, and God knows that; and you may be back asking forgiveness for that same old sin. Confession doesn’t take care of the future:  It simply gets you back into fellowship with God right now.
  • It doesn’t mean to BRIBE: “God, if You forgive me, I promise I’ll read my Bible everyday; I’ll begin to tithe; I’ll even take notes on the sermon every Sunday. (If you did that, I’m sure He would forgive you — that’s the one thing that touches His heart!) “I promise: I promise.” Don’t make promises. You may break every one of them!

Accept forgiveness from God and forgive yourself, and focus on the future.

Remember Philippians 3:13, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Now when you understand all this about grace — that you are not under condemnation but forgiven in Christ — then remember this also: God does not want you to condemn yourself either. God gets no pleasure in watching you emotionally whip yourself; in fact, it grieves Him. Putting yourself down doesn’t do anything to make you more spiritual…

God wants you to serve him with a clear conscience. When you refuse to accept God’s forgiveness, and when you refuse to forgive yourself, you’re not living under grace: You are a prisoner of the law. Remember, God always responds to us out of love. Why? Because we deserve it? No — because we are “in Christ Jesus.”

Now when you are “in Christ,” God looks down at you, and He doesn’t see your mistakes, your imperfections, your sins. He sees you “in Christ”; and Christ is perfect, and for God to reject you, He would have to reject Christ. And that is the good news of “no condemnation”!


Graham has a lot more to say about this topic. If you would like to learn more, please download and read the attached transcript of the sermon, as the above excerpts do not even scratch the surface. If you would like to do a word search on the transcript, download the file, and then open the file with your web browser after downloading and use your browser’s find feature.


June 9, 1996

Romans 8:1-2

Rev. W. Graham Smith

Download Transcript (PDF)