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No more condemnation
By Jonathan Wong
I’ve been a Christian about 20 years now. Since I first accepted Christ, I started going to Sunday School and then to church, all the while serving in areas that I felt God had given me talents in. My girlfriend and I became tutors in Sunday School and were part of the music team and the choir.
However, my girlfriend and I became sexually active, and she got pregnant. I was 23, and she was 22. We confessed our situation to the church leaders and were relieved of all our service in church and told to refrain from partaking of the communion as part of the disciplinary action, with the assurance that we will be restored after some time.
The guilt and condemnation of what we had done was immense and a great burden. We were ashamed of ourselves. We got married, and after about 3 years, we were restored to church ministry. Yet, nothing felt the same. Singing in the choir became just singing and doing something we were good at. Going to church soon became a burden. The Bible became dead to us.
After our second child in 2003, we started missing church now and then, due to all sorts of excuses. Then, it completely stopped when our third child came in 2006. The responsibilities and burdens of life took a toll; church became a distraction, and God became an after-thought.
My marriage became very rocky, and my wife and I would be constantly arguing, mostly over financial matters. My short temper did not help. We were on the brink of a divorce until divine intervention came.
One day, a former church friend of many years started making contact with me on MSN Messenger and asked about my family. He began to minister to me and introduced the message of grace to me. I vividly remember him telling me that I already possess God’s righteousness and that it could not be taken away even if I sinned. He told me of testimonies of healings and miracles of supernatural proportions. It was too much to take then, too radical. I asked, “Could it really be so easy?” I couldn’t believe that God would bless, heal and miraculously confer favour to us.
I finally accepted his invitation to join him at his church on Easter 2010. As he continued to minister to my wife and me, as we continued to mingle in the presence of other church members, as we continued to soak in the wonderful Good News of grace that brought us to Christ in the first place, the supernatural became a natural part of our lives.
We began to accept the truth that we are the righteousness of God in Christ and revel in the fact that by Christ’s perfect, finished work at Calvary. We felt our burdens of life, the condemnation and guilt of having had pre-marital sex while serving in church and conceiving a child out of wedlock, lifted off our shoulders completely.
For the first time in so many years, we felt liberated with so much joy. My relationship with my wife healed. My finances started straightening out. Money came from unexpected sources and helped to relieve debts and support the family. There was supernatural favour in all areas of our lives. The key to all of that was to learn and experience shalom and rest in our hearts.
A particular highlight was how my mom re-dedicated her life to Christ. She had accepted Christ in her teens, but after her older sister died of cancer, she resented God and denounced her faith. She embraced another faith strongly for many years, reading more books on that religion that I had read of the Bible.
When we first started attending the new church, her condition became much worse, and the cancer metastasized to all parts of her body. We prayed for a miraculous healing for her. Unbeknown to us, God was actually healing her spiritually instead. Through the visitation of the pastor and a few other friends from my present church, God softened her heart and she re-dedicated her life to Christ a week before she passed away. As staunch as she was in her previous faith, her eventual re-dedication to Christ was nothing short of a miracle to me.
Now, my wife and I are actively serving in the church’s worship team, and we cannot wait for the next service in church. We’re always excited and expectant to be washed over by the word of God, and we can never hear enough of His grace.