“Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us – who was raised to life for us!-is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us.” Romans 8:34 (MSG) Jesus listened, He cared, He healed, He guided us towards real life. He did even more than that. He explained clearly to His disciples what would happen, but the disciples could not understand Him. “Jesus, now well on the way up to Jerusalem, took the Twelve off to the side of the road and said, ‘Listen to me carefully. We are on our way up to Jerusalem. When we get there, the Son of Man will be betrayed to the religious leaders and scholars. They will sentence him to death. They will then hand him over to the Romans for mockery and torture and crucifixion. On the third day he will be raised up alive.'” Matthew 20:17-19 (MSG) Jesus came so that we would not be condemned: “God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.” John 3:17 (MSG). Jesus took our condemnation and nailed it on the cross. He took our blame and our sins and hung it on that cross: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1 (NKJV) At the risk of repeating myself, there is no more condemnation for those who follow Jesus!
Still having doubts? Check out Jesus’ last words: “It is finished!” John 19:30 (NKJV). This is our confirmed. The debt was paid.
During World War 2, the Jews were condemned by the Nazis. To Hitler, Jews were parasites that needed to be exterminated.
How could anyone accuse people like that?
Nonetheless, they did. Yet amidst this total and complete hatred, there were those who chose to love the Jews, even risking their own lives to save those who were persecuted. Julien Bilecki was one such person. He was a teenager living in Ukraine, when one day, 23 Jews came to his home asking for refuge. It was a well-known fact that anyone who took Jews into their homes would be eradicated. Nonetheless, the Bilecki family listened to the pleas of these condemned Jews, and after hearing their story, they decided that they had a job to do in order to save these poor people. With the help of the Jews, they built a bunker. They camouflaged it well, and no one was the wiser. About the time it was completed, however, winter set in. The footprints in the snow would lead anyone straight to the hideaway. How would they feed these 23 people without being caught?
Another problem was that buying extra food would also work to raise suspensions… The Bileckis decided to share their own winter stash of food, and Julian, who was still young, would set out every day, jumping from one tree to another, until he arrived at the bunker. As a result, there were no telltale footprints left in the snow.
Though the Bilcekis had to deprive themselves to save these persecuted people, they never regretted it. They provided them not only with food, but also with clothing, and when they were close to being detected, they moved them to another place. Thanks to the sacrifice of the Bileckis, all 23 Jews were spared and survived the war.
After the war, the Bileckis were still quite poor. The 23 Jews who survived the war thanks to the sacrifice of this family came to the rescue of their benefactors. They sent the Bileckis food and clothing, even money, by mail. 50 years later, Julian received a free ticket to fly by plane to New York. He had never flown before, but when he stepped out of the plane, the five remaining Jewish survivors applauded him with enthusiasm. Everyone there had grey hair, and Julien told them he had feared he would never see them again, but this trip to New York was like God paying him back.
Although the Nazis condemned the Jews, they were not condemned in Julien’s eyes. He was well aware that he might die trying to save them, yet he risked his life to give them his all. Julien showed them the heart of God.
Jesus came to our neighborhood for two reasons: He gave His life so that we could live, and he proclaimed: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1 (NKJV).
If you feel condemned, it is time to come to Jesus. He will assure you that your Heavenly Father loves you indeed: “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:18 (NKJV) Rob Chaffart
(To access the entire “Radical Grace From the Book of Romans”, please click here.)