This week my dear friend and amazing designer joins us around My Messy Desk to talk about a word most of us view negatively. I love how she puts a positive spin on condemnation and I think you will, too!
For if the ministration of condemnation be glory,
much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.
2 Corinthians 3:9 (KJV)
I have to admit – when I first read this verse in the KJV, I was stumped. I was hesitant to whip out my Bible dictionary and look up condemnation, because…c’mon. Condemnation is one of those words. It’s one of those words that really doesn’t need explaining, right?
We all know this word in all of it’s forms – judgement against, verdict – down in the depths of our souls, we know it. Some of us fear it. Some of us wonder about it.
All of us pray it won’t ever be us on the receiving end.
Going against my instinct, I dove in to the dictionary to find that the use of this particular translation of condemnation had an added element to reveal a lovely reassurance.
A gift, even. The gift of condemnation.
Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary explains that this usage is a noun (katakrisis, 2633) rather than a verb (kataginosko, 2607). Rather than this word meaning the process of condemnation, it is more so “the process leading to it.”
When Paul was writing this particular chapter in 2 Corinthians, he began preaching on the awesomeness of the gospel by directly contrasting it to Judaism. In fact, much of chapter 3 reads like a conditional statement…if/then. Looking at the same verse in another translation brings more clarity:
“If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious,
how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness?”
(2 Corinthians 3:9, NIV)
So…this isn’t about condemnation. It’s about what is greater than condemnation, because condemnation exists. This isn’t about the effectiveness of the Old Testament law, it’s about how much more effective the justification of Christ is, because the Old Testament law exists.
It’s like, yes…ice cream is awesome by itself. But ice cream is MORE awesome because hot, humid, summer days exist. Ice cream in North Dakota winter just isn’t as satisfying, right?
Sometimes, the gift is far more powerful when you realize its opposite. After all, the laws of Moses were initially a gift from God to man so that we could get it right and be closer to Him.
Romans 8:1 says it perfectly: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”
I hate to admit it – but too many times in my life, I’m focused on the fear of condemnation. Instead, it seems, I should be thankful that it exists. Without condemnation, we wouldn’t have had the chance to be saved by the blood and indwelt by the Spirit.
Without condemnation, we wouldn’t know Jesus.
Katherine DiZio is a Graphic & Web Designer based in Philadelphia, PA and is currently pursuing her next adventure. Kate boasts the Lord as her miracle, and strives to surrender – above all else. She has been blessed to marry her soul mate, Jeff and together they have a son, Elijah. You can connect with her at HappilyIncomplete
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