Looking Too Close

I think it’s common—and it’s common because it’s natural—to think that when we sin and we’ve done something wrong, that we incur guilt and that God’s not pleased with us. We have a conscience. God made us that way. We have minds informed by the word of God and we know who God is. We know that he’s holy, he’s just, he’s righteous. And we know that we’re not.

And so when we look in the mirror of God’s word and we feel the implications of our conscience, when we do things wrong, it’s natural to think, I’ve messed up and I’m ashamed of myself.

So what we end up having is a vantage point where we’re looking at the way that we think about our sin and the way that we feel about us and our guilt, and we project that upon God. And what’s so amazing about the gospel and the reality of being a Christian is that that’s not helpful, because God has gone through great pains to prove to us that’s actually not how he looks at his people.

Take a Step Back

What’s really important for us to do is to take a step back and look at the word of God and to think about the way that he has initiated and procured and secured and been faithful to his covenant relationship with his people.

For example, it’d be helpful to think about God’s eternal oath with his Son—that God has made a covenant with his Son and the Holy Spirit to secure the salvation of his people. So before we even sinned—before time began—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit covenanted together to save a people, and Jesus willingly accepted this charge and became a man.

The incarnation also, along with that oath, reminds us that Jesus put on flesh to identify with us. What a step of humility and love to come and identify with us in humanity as the eternal Son of God and as a man.

So he wouldn’t be ashamed of us, because he actually adorned flesh to come and be like us. But even more than that, he came and lived and then died upon the cross. The cross is the most brutal and shameful and embarrassing instrument of death imaginable. And Jesus, in his death upon the cross, bore our shame. He took our guilt, and then the Holy Spirit was sent from heaven to apply all that Christ has done for us.

He wouldn’t be ashamed of us, because he actually adorned flesh to come and be like us.

Be Driven to Christ

When you’re in the midst of guilt and shame—which we should rightly feel in the midst of sin—we have to take all that he has done and his promises to God and see that he’s actually not ashamed of us. It’s not that he excuses sin, but he welcomes sinners. He’s proven that through his oath, through the incarnation and then the death of Christ, and through saving us from our sin.

So it’s just a reminder that we have probably the wrong vantage point. It’s good to feel guilt, but that guilt needs to drive us to Christ and to see what he has done for us. And then we’ll find encouragement being reminded that even though we’re ashamed about sin, he’s not ashamed of us.

Erik Raymond

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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