Delivered From Sin
When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, they hid from the holy God (Gen 3:8). They were ashamed and scared (Gen 3:10). To a holy God, sin is disgusting. To a perfectly good and just God, sin is unallowable, which is why the penalty for sin is death (Rom 6:23). Jesus, the sinless man, willingly died in our place for our sins, so that those who trust in him won’t experience death’s sting for their sin (1 Cor 15:55-56). These are the facts. We can praise God for this incredible provision and sacrifice for us.
Living in Shame
But even as we know we will not ultimately be conquered by sin and death’s sting, we still live with the symptoms of the sin disease Christ has cured. The result of sin, both in the guilty ones His Spirit has convicted, and sometimes in those who have been sinned against is shame . . . sometimes really intense, really hurtful shame.
While we are in our flesh, we will sin and we will be sinned against (Rom 7). But experientially, does that mean those in Christ have to live in feelings of shame?
As Rebekah talked about in part 1, God’s answer to this question is a resounding “No” (Psa 34:4-5; Isa 50:7; 1 Pet 3:18; Rom 8:1). While scripture tells us we do not have to live in miserable shame, I sometimes still want to hide from God. Can you relate? Even when I know he graciously pardons my guilt and covers my shame when I repent of sin and unbelief and believe in what God says is true, I don’t always live cleanly with him in that mercy. I have a hard time shaking my shame.
But when shame haunts even after we’ve repented with a contrite heart, this tells us we do not properly understand the character and work of Jesus. To apply the complete forgiveness with which God absolves our guilt and covers our shame, we must see, know and seek to understand the Savior that was sent for us.
Jesus is Not Your Nana
When I commit my most grievous sin (again) and think of facing Jesus with it, I sometimes catch myself imagining confession to someone more like my grandmother than the biblical Savior. Do you know what I mean? Picture someone you would never cuss in front of—someone who would be genuinely shocked and horrified by that. Is that how you imagine Jesus? That if he saw your sin he might be more inclined to ask for his smelling salts than to crucify it?
Jesus is perfect and sinless but he’s not shocked by your sin (Heb 4:15). In fact, he bore your sin on the cross and took the punishment for it 2,000 years ago (2 Cor 5:21). So while he did not commit sin, he is not unacquainted with the deepest levels of raw, nitty-gritty darkness in you. He bore it. He took on the sins of the world—not just yours (1 Pet 2:24).
Pornography, pedophilia, rape, murder, apathy, torture, betrayal, exploitation, slavery, abuse—Jesus shouldered the weight of the worst sin you can imagine . . . for all time . . . for the entire world (1 Pet 3:18; Rom 6:10). Is there room for the darkest sin you have committed or experienced in the scope of what he endured? Absolutely. Not because the sin isn’t that bad, but because the weight of sin that crushed Jesus Christ was worse than we can comprehend (Isa 53:5).
Jesus is deeply grieved by sin, so much that he died to conquer it (Jn 11:35; 1 Cor 15:57). And he’ll be back again to finish the job, vanquishing sin forever—this time not in sacrifice, but in battle (Heb 9:28).
Jesus is A Warrior King
In my deepest shame I have this sense that my sin must be answered—with judgment, condemnation and punishment. If I’m really honest with myself I actually want it to be, maybe because God has written something of his justice on my heart as an image bearer.
Jesus took the punishment for sin on the cross and Satan stands condemned already (Jn 16:11). But understanding that Jesus is returning to obliterate sin completely one day helps me to realize the extent to which my sin, and the sin against me, will be exterminated completely and forever. In understanding this reality set forth in God’s Word, I understand that I am free. My shame is no match for the strength and perfection of my beautiful Warrior King and his scorched earth campaign against sin. He annihilates it easily with his grace.
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. Revelation 19:11-16
The gospel tells me that in his first coming, Jesus took sin’s blow for me through sacrificing himself in my place. But it’s not just by his death that I am saved, but also by his resurrection to finish his work (1 Cor 15:12-17). The full realization of the gospel covering the sin that hurts me in this world is in the certain hope that the risen Lord, Jesus will return to this earth to destroy sin and death (Rev 19:11-16, 1 Cor 15:24-26).
In my darkest shame, I remember him—who he is and what he has done—and my face is radiant, never covered with shame (Ps 34:5).
Dorsey Swindall is a biblical counselor with One-Eighty Counseling and Education in Louisville, Kentucky. She and her husband have two children.