For August 1, 2021
Guilt and shame are powerful weapons the Enemy (Satan) Satan uses to manipulate our past memories to perpetuate our feelings of insecurity. As a result, many of us yet fall prey to the lie that we can never be forgiven and remark, “God won’t forgive me…You don’t know who I am or what I’ve done!”
We cannot change our dysfunctional past; what we’ve done has been done, and what others have done to us, can’t be undone. We must let go of the caustic spiritual, emotional, and psychological baggage, and we need to accept and embrace our loving God along with the new identity He gives us in Jesus Christ by faith,
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love (1 John 4:16-18 NIV).
Unfortunately, many of us are yet imprisoned by our intense feelings of being beyond all hope and help because of our unfortunate past. Tragically, we can waste precious, non-recoverable time distancing ourselves from others; feeling distressed about not being forgiven, accepted, and embraced because of our past behavior.
Jesus’ perfect sacrifice covers our sin as the Lamb of God (John 1:29), who is fully capable to save “to the uttermost” all who come to God by Him, seeing He lives forever to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25). However, forgiveness of sin alone leaves us deficient before our holy God. His righteousness must be satisfied also,
If God merely declared us to be forgiven from our sins, that would not solve our problems entirely, for it would only make us morally neutral before God. Such a movement is not enough to earn us favor with God. We must rather move from a point of moral neutrality to a point of having a positive righteousness before God, the righteousness of a life of perfect obedience to him.1
We have the ability to make two choices in this life. Either we can accept the Lord’s gift of forgiveness and receive its blessings, or we can reject it and become subject to God’s fierce wrath. Accepting the Lord’s gracious gift involves our repentance or to turn from our sin and turn to God by faith in Christ. Once we do, God forgives our sin and restores our fellowship with Him instantly,
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God (John 1:12-13 NIV).
Through the blood of Jesus Christ, we can approach God expecting His acceptance as He exchanges Jesus’ perfect life for our imperfect one. Now when He looks at us, He no longer sees vile sinners. He sees the “clean hands and the pure heart” of His Son, Jesus Christ the Righteous One. We are now suitable for His eternal fellowship.
Much like condemned criminals, we stand before the Righteous Judge, as guilty condemned, helpless, and hopeless because of our nature and our sins. Yet, His Son intercedes by assuming our sin, guilt, and penalty, and we receive His innocence, righteousness, and glory,
The death penalty that Christ endured holds good for the believer, through his identification with Christ in His death; having been crucified as to his unregenerate nature, and justified from sin, he walks in newness of life in Christ.2
Instead of sentencing us to death, the Judge releases us with a new destiny. Now, with no troubling past, we are all the more aware that we matter to God. This is accomplished because tells us that Jesus Christ possesses all power in Heaven and in earth; including all power in Heaven and earth to forgive our sins. The Greek word used for forgive is aphiemi (Strong-G863), which means to let go, send away, to cancel, or to pardon.3
In Christ, our sin nature is canceled, let go, sent away, pardoned, and forgotten forever. In fact, our sins no longer define us. Instead, God defines us by His great salvation,
Through his life, death, resurrection, and exaltation, come deliverance from the guilt and power of sin and the gift of new life through the indwelling Holy Spirit. So the believer is saved by Christ’s work on the cross (Acts 4:12); he is being saved now by the work of the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier (Philippians 2:12) and he looks forward to completed salvation in the life of the age to come (1 Thessalonians 5:9, 1 Peter 1:5).4
It is difficult for humans to forgive and forget, since we tend to demand retribution or keep mental and emotional records of wrongs when other people have offended us.
But this is not the case with God when we come to Christ. Although our fallen nature and sin offends Him far more than we could ever offend another person (we’ve disobeyed or ignored His perfect righteousness for us) yet, He keeps no record of our past. Neither does He impose a probation period until we “earn” His good graces—because the blood of Jesus washes all of our sins away. As Psalm 103:12 tells us, He has removed our sins as far as the east is separated from the west.
God looks beyond our past to extend His mercy to us—a people in need of restoration. Much like in the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11–32), our Father no longer sees us as “dead and lost.” He sees us as “alive and found.”
Prompted by His great love, God restores us to full access to His Kingdom without restriction. In 1 John 4:10, love is defined by how God loved us enough to send His Son to be the payment for our sin. The Lord also directs our steps and takes special delight in every detail of our lives.
Liberated from our sinful past, our guilt and shame no longer define or confine us. Because nothing can separate us from God, nor can anyone or anything make us guilty before God,
If God is for us, who can ever be against us?…Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself…Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?…No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:31, 33-35, 37-39 NLT).
Guilt and shame should never bind us again. For in Christ, our past is forgiven and forgotten forever. It is ironic how God knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows those “secret” sins few people if any know about. Yet He is willing to love, accept, treasure, value, and forgive us forever. Won’t you give your life to the Lord today and experience the deep and lasting freedom only He can give us?
What a Wonderful Savior!
- Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, (Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press; Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1994) 725.
- W.E. Vine, “Freedom,” Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, W.E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, William White, Jr., Vine’s Dictionary of Biblical Words, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1985) 255.
- See: James Strong, Dictionary of Greek Words, Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, updated ed., 3rd printing, (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 2009) 1612, and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature F. Wilbur Gingrich and Frederick W. Danker, ed., 2nd rev. ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979) 125.
- J.D. Douglas, Walter A. Elwell, and Peter Toon, “Salvation,” The Concise Dictionary of the Christian Tradition, Doctrine, Liturgy, History, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1989) 335.