Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
Why are some Christians so unhappy? There are, of course, differences in personal temperaments, with some being more expressive and others being more reserved, but still within those confines there are some who live as if they are condemned, not liberated.
If there is a constant presence of sadness and resignation in our Christianity we have not yet learned the wonderful truth espoused in these verses. We are called to freedom in Christ, set free from accusations and condemnation by His atonement for our sins. Later in the chapter Paul wrote of “the glorious freedom (liberty) of the children of God” (8:21) and this is to be the basic nature of the Christian life – not a morbid, depressing, self-deprecating, haunted hopelessness, but an uplifting, liberating, positive freedom of heart and life.
When Christ commanded us to deny our self and take up our cross daily it was so that we might follow Him into joy and peace inexpressible. A self-centered person is a miserable, unhappy person. Like a planted seed, we die to our “seedness” to become something greater – a living, vibrant, fruitful plant for Him. Dear Christian friend, we are loved and helped in Christ, lifted to the glorious liberty that God had planned for us to live in all along. Guilt, failure, and discouragement are not to be our closest companions, but rather purity, victory, and hope in Him.
Like all of the promises of God, it is our simple faith in them that makes this become our reality. If we have met the requirements of God of true repentance and faith in Him, then we should continue in the confidence that all of His promises are ours. Do we believe that God loves us? Do you believe that He loves you? Do you believe that He gives peace and joy to those who call Him Master? This is not mere positive thinking – even though it is thinking positively – not some trick of the mind that is supposed to help us to see life differently. If it were only a mental trick, it would not last.
We are helped along in this attitude by His Spirit and His word and the fellowship of believers. We are to keep our minds focused on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy, following the examples of the happy committed Christians, confident that the God of peace will be with us (Phil. 4:8-9). He has called us to hope and provides this for those who walk in trust. Let us embrace this reality by faith, entering into His rest. If we wait for God to “make us happy” in spite of our lack of faith, we will remain unhappy. We must take what He has already given and has already promised and by faith enter into joy!