Freedom from Past Guilt

We all have skeletons in our closet. Even for the best of us, there are some sins that seem to haunt us when our soul gets quiet and still. Our past failures tend to come back over and over again to remind us of just how much we fall short. For some of us, these memories make us feel worthless and empty. So often we get plagued by thoughts such as, “I will never be good enough for God to accept me” or thoughts like, “I’ve failed so many times, there is no way I can be saved!” Oh friend, if this is you, you are being deceived by the lies of the enemy. You have forgotten the beauty of the Gospel! You see, the Gospel breaks us free from the chains of past failures. Although we are all failures, and although we have committed horrendous sins, the Gospel is the good news that Jesus was righteous for you. The apostle Paul tells us that, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Jesus took on your sins past, present, and future on the cross. If you believe in him, and trust in Jesus you are given the righteousness of Christ. You were once an enemy of God, but now you are adopted as a son or daughter.

Don’t be haunted by your past failures, the Gospel has freed you from guilt. In Christ, God sees you as valuable and righteous. You can never be good enough to earn God’s favor, but by God’s grace he has given you his favor through Jesus. Remind yourself of the Gospel daily. Preach it to yourself often, and counter attack the lies of the enemy with the truth. You are accepted and righteous before God not on your own merit, but on the merit of Jesus. What glorious news!

Run to Jesus

Hebrews 4:14-16 is a passage that never ceases to be an encouragement to me.  Here is what it says:

"Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
This is a beautiful reminder that God is for me, and that in the midst of my ever present weakness, Christ identifies with me.  He is sympathetic of my shortcommings.  Jesus has faced temptation as I have faced temptation.  He knows what its like to be human and to experience incredible suffering.  The beauty of this passage is that it reminds me that in my troubles I can run to God not away from God.
I'm sure you can relate, but when sufferings come my sinful impulse to be self sufficient. I come up with a strategy to get myself out of this mess.  I put in place a 5-step plan to suffer no more.  If it is with tempation, I come up with a rigerous accountability system to help stifle any possibility of sin.  Often times I isolate myself and try to take care of my problems with my own strength.  However this is so contrary to the truth of the Gospel!
Jesus, as my high priest, means that I can run to him, not away from him.  This means that I can approach his throne and find grace and mercy in my time of need (which is literally every second).  The Gospel means I trust in Christ's strength, not my own.  Everyday, I have to remind myself of this truth and take a spoonfull of Gospel before I head out the door. The root of self-sufficiency is pride, and the Gospel is a medicine that quelches the egotism of my sinful heart.
In you suffering and in your sin run to Jesus.  He is the Kingly High Priest and he loves you and cares for you.  Therefore, boldly approach him with confidence and you too shall receive mercy and grace to help you in your time of need.