So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. (NLT)
How sad it is to hear of many followers of Jesus being burdened by guilt and shame. They are like prisoners cringing in a dark prison cell after the cell doors have been unlocked and their freedom declared.
Jesus has dealt with our guilt and our shame. Our guilt arises out of the wrong we have done. Jesus took that burden on himself on the cross. Clinging to it ourselves is not only desperately sad and unnecessary but also a bit of an insult to his costly sacrifice.
Our shame arises not so much out of what we have done but out of the persons we believe ourselves to be. And yet Jesus brings us into God’s beloved family as adopted children. God’s Spirit lives in us. God wants to spend eternity with us. To see ourselves as miserable twisting worms is to contradict what God thinks of us.
Of course we are incurably imperfect in this life. Of course we can’t blithely dismiss our imperfections. But nor need we let ourselves be defined by them. Because of Jesus I can both mourn my imperfections and rejoice in my acceptance by him. I am no longer simply defined by that word ‘sinner’. I am rather defined by being a child of God, who does yet sin.
My guilt has been dealt with, as has my shame. My sin is one sad reality. God’s grace shown in Jesus is another, greater reality.