A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Some things that are True About Every Christian, and Not True About an Abuser

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. (Romans 8:1-9)

I trust that all of us who believe the Bible is the inerrant, authoritative Word of God will agree that this passage of Scripture describes several things that are true of EVERY Christian with no exception. Understanding this will set you free of many of the ploys of the enemy, and from those of his agents, abusers. Look for yourself in the text above and check it out. The Apostle Paul tells us that –

1. Every Christian is free from any and all condemnation from God. He is “in Christ Jesus” and that means that the believer’s sins have been imputed (transferred) to Christ on the cross and that the righteous obedience of Christ has been imputed to the Christian. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
(2 Corinthians 5:21)”  All of course by faith alone.  Is the abuser free from the condemnation of God?  Is he going to have a get out of jail free card on the Day of Judgment? NO!

2. Every Christian has been set free from the law (the active principle/dynamic) of sin and death. Sin, death. Sin, condemnation. That power over the believer has been broken. It was broken on the cross when we died there with Christ. See Romans 7 on this. The law has no more power over a dead man.

3.  Every Christian walks not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. According to. That is one powerful preposition! The Christian, without exception, now lives (walks) in accordance with/in agreement with the Holy Spirit in him. Perfectly? No, and yes. Imperfectly in the sense that the Christian can still commit sin. But immediately and perfectly (consistently) (see Galatians 5:16ff) this new power in him arises and opposes that sin.  Furthermore, it is the Holy Spirit who is the dominating dynamic in every Christian. It is this walking according to the Spirit that defines who the Christian now is.

4. Every Christian has a new mindset. EVERY Christian. The man or woman regenerated by Christ (born again) has had a major and radical mind renewal. That renewal is ongoing (see Romans 12:1-2), the mindset, the very mentality of the Christian is one that is in agreement with the Spirit, not the flesh. The Christian is concerned with and seeks after the things of the Spirit, not the sinful things of the flesh. He loves them. He yearns for them. Do we see this radical new mindset, this newness of person in the abuser?  NO!

5. The Christian is at peace with God and lives in true, new life. This is not true of the unbeliever. The unsaved mind is hostile to God. It refuses to submit to the law of God. In fact, it cannot obey God. It, yes it is true, hates God and the things of the Spirit. But this old hostility has ended and been replaced by peace with God in every Christian. [Tell me, surely you see that this is true. The abuser is at war with God. He cannot please God because he truly hates God and the things of the Spirit, like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control.  Right?  Read this passage very carefully. Many people who claim to be Christians hate this fact. The unsaved man is hostile to God. The unsaved woman cannot please God. Not even an itty bitty bit?  No! Listen again – “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

6.  If these things are not true of someone, then that person is NOT a Christian. “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him.”  That’s pretty plain, right?

7.  Every human being is in one of these two categories. There is no middle ground. A person is either in the flesh or in the Spirit.  Try as you might, you will not find any place in God’s Word for a 3rd, middle ground category.

Now go back and look again at the Scripture above and these seven qualities true of every Christian. Look at them and think carefully. What do they necessarily say about a person whose very mentality is one of entitlement to power and control over others, and who feels completely justified in using whatever evil tactics he needs to to gain and maintain that power?  See it?  They tell us that the abuser does not belong to Christ. The abuser is not free from God’s condemnation. God’s wrath is set upon him. The abuser has not been set free from the law of sin and death. He sins and sins and sins and stands condemned to eternal death. The abuser walks according to the flesh, not according to the Spirit. The abuser still is dominated by his same old mindset that thinks in agreement with his sinful flesh. The abuser is not at peace with God and is not experiencing new life. He remains hostile to God and to God’s Word no matter how much he tries to play the Christian. And therefore, on the authority of God’s Word, we see that the abuser is devoid of the Spirit of God and does not belong to Him.

And this message desperately needs to be proclaimed and put into application in churches, in seminaries, in the lives of all church members, many of whom would then find that they are in need of being born again themselves.

11 Comments

  1. newcreation

    Thanks again, Jeff, for the great counsel. I recently listened to a counselor/pastor on a radio/tv channel who offered some great, biblical advice. One of the things he said was that the Holy Spirit came for two reasons….to convict and comfort. I recently spoke with him on the phone via a phone counseling session. He asked me if I have ever seen my husband convicted by the Spirit which led to repentance and confession. Not where someone spoke with him and coerced him to say he was sorry only to go back to his old ways. I told him honestly that I have never experienced my husband coming to me on his own and repenting for anything!

    This counselor tells men that they should be asking for the conviction of the Spirit each day and that it is the only true way we can discern if one is a Christian; male or female. He agrees with leaving a marriage if there has been any kind of abuse and if the man does not seek reconciliation. And reconciliation has to first start with genuine conviction, repentance and confession.

    I am having to make a choice now. I have had to do this once before and now the thought of divorce a second time is more than overwhelming. Why one has to suffer so much for someone else’s selfish, abusive choices makes me angry. I am not having to choose to leave the marriage….there is no marriage here. I am having to choose one path over another….staying or leaving. Each will have its own heartaches and I am struggling with putting my feet in the water to move to another direction even though everything is the same here.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Now that’s good counseling!

    • staying or leaving. Each will have its own heartaches

      yes. And the very fact that you are thoughtfully weighing it up suggests to me that you are being wise. Bless you, and hugs.

      God loves those who wrestle with pros and cons; He only hates those who with proud stiff neck live their lives in arrogant disregard of Him.

  2. Seeing Clearly

    Thank you, Jeff. I receive these truths and putting them on my forehead. They will be as a balm for the mental and emotional stress I am experiencing. I have agreed to hosting a family reception with my N ex in his church. The rule bending has already begun. This baptist church looks fondly on him. The reception is for one of our children and there is no charge. This is the most that I have had to interact with him in the last 5 years. He has not changed and now I am learning why. He is not a believer.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Right on Carol!

  3. Reblogged this on The Shepherd/Guardian and commented:
    Are Those That Abuse Others Really Christians?

    • One thing that never ceases to amaze me is that so many “evangelicals” have no understanding of our freedom in Christ. (How can you be “evangelical” without understanding the evangel – the gospel?!) Since the initial use of the word “evangelical” in the 16th century, the meaning of that term has been so watered down that today it refers, to the most part, the modern version of pharisaism. The pressing need for the evangelical church today is a rediscovery of the evangel itself.

  4. Brenda R

    I have read this over several times. Not thinking about abusers, but looking at myself. Number 5 especially resonated with me of things that I need to work on. Self-control–I need to work on slowing down my response time in certain situations and not be so quick to give an answer that may not sound like it came from a Christ follower or perhaps is taking on something that is good, but may not be best and pleasing to Him. Talking to God before response would be valuable to me. Saying, “I’ll get back to you on that” would also be valuable.

    Number 3, no and yes. Praise God that when I sin he immediately let’s me know it so that I can get right with Him immediately and continue communion with Him

    Yes, the church needs to teach these things. If they did teach this frequently, maybe more would realize their indifference and seek the Lord’s peace and get their lives straight with Christ instead of playing Christian.

  5. Finding Answers

    Pastor Jeff wrote: 4. Every Christian has a new mindset.

    I am struggling with this as I process through part of a recent breakthrough.

    I have accepted how a lifetime of abuse has damaged and broken me. I kept comparing myself to others (yes, this is a sin), thinking my life had not been so “bad”. And the stigma / judgment is hard to swallow.

    And oh, does this hurt. I know there is so much of which I am capable, so much I have to offer, but not by the world’s standards. Nor by the world’s methods.

    A new mindset incorporates knowledge of all the attributes of God, yet I slip back into thinking I need to “help” Him along, although I know He is not like my abusers.

    My mindset is new, but “old”.

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