1 Jn. 3:18-22
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
The boy could not look his father in the eye, and his friend thought he knew the reason why. His assumption was that the father must be a hard man and difficult to please. After all, the exchanges between the boy and his father were always of few words, and the boy never really spoke of his father outside his presence. The friend thought he had figured it out, but then he spent more time with the boy. This young man had secrets, and he had many reasons to keep them from his father. What the friend saw was a boy who lived a different life outside his father’s presence, and the guilt of that life could be felt whenever he saw his father’s face.
The scriptures tell us that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ, and that is quite a loaded statement. It makes us wonder how someone can follow Jesus yet still feel condemnation. This should not be possible according to God’s word, but there is a clear issue here. To be in Christ is to live in Christ, which speaks to the way in which we manage these lives. To live in Christ is to be of the truth, which is the basis for this passage. If we are in Christ and are of the truth, then we will not feel condemnation in the heart. We will be confident before God because our convictions will lead us to please him. Even if we fall, we are convicted but not condemned, and we confidently approach him in repentance.
Speaking personally, I have felt condemnation only when I have had something to hide. Those were times when I was not living for the Lord in truth. Those were times when I had taken back my life and decided to live as I pleased, and condemnation surfaced because I refused to repent. It is much different when we live in truth. We then have nothing to hide. When we sin, we feel as the Lord feels about it, and we are drawn to his presence with confidence that He will forgive us. We can look him in the eye because we are living a life that pleases him. Father, help us to love and live in truth, that condemnation would have no foothold and that we always will be confident before You.