Today Satan, aka, the Home Inspector came into our home to discern everything that could possibly be/could go wrong with our house. Home inspectors walk through, (and this time the guy walked through with our potential buyer) and keep meticulous notes that can and will be used against the current homeowner.
What is so hard for me, as I write this, is to think about all of the little things (or big ones) that the inspector can use against me. Because of his findings, I could lose a buyer or lose a lot of money. His judgments, even though they can often be flat out incorrect (as our last inspector proved), can cause great damage. And because they have real potential to harm, such inspections can prove quite frightening. Although I'm thankful that the Lord has brought much peace to me in this crazy time (today I also had to buy a new AC unit for our FL house), the inspector's judgment is real. It has real consequences, and therefore can elicit real fear.
But I was encouraged by the gospel last night in our CD group. We looked at Romans 8:1-17, and particularly in the context of confrontation. Either in giving or receiving confrontation, the gospel offers so much in the way of this. There are simply no "home inspections" for the Christian. There is no outside judgment that will hold sway over the Just Judge of all the Earth.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Because the righteous requirements of the law have been met, I don't have to consider criticism as if it were coming from home inspector. Whether the home inspector has a point or not, the fact that he writes something in his report, now puts me on the defensive. I have to contend or defend. There are no perfect houses, and so as soon as I let him in my house, I have a target on my back.
However, while there are no perfect people, there are Christians who have been declared perfect and therefore no longer subject to shame or deductions. And because they are no longer subject to punishment, they no longer should have any fear of others' home-inspector-like opinions. And judgments.
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.
We don't have to fear critique, which is meant to help. We don't have to fear judgments or punishment or check-lists, which are meant to harm and hurt. We don't have to fear confrontation, which is meant to help.
Most of the times we treat those who lovingly confront us or offer helpful critique like home inspectors. But in reality, there are no more home inspections for us. We are set. Jesus took the home inspection for us, on our behalf, so the requirements of the law would be met in us.
Loving confrontation is a beautiful thing. It says, "Stop choosing death when Jesus offers life." Loving confrontation does not come to another as a home inspector with a check-list, but a humble fellow sinner that by God's grace has noticed sin in our lives. He or she cares that we're stuffing our face with mud-pies, when we can have apple pies in the shade.
If we/I can begin to look at critique and confrontation, and even at times simple disagreement from God's Romans 8 perspective over us, we'll save ourselves the "need" to defend, contend, and pretend. Believing this takes a lot of work, but whoever said believing the gospel was for the faint of heart. Not Jesus.