There is a trend in Christian circles and hearing it makes me shudder. It is the trend of self-shaming, and is often masqueraded within the use of Scripture. Shame is bad enough but even more so when we heap it upon ourselves.
We see or hear it when Christians say things like these:
“I’m not worth forgiveness. I still struggle with this sin.”
“I’m not as godly or holy as I should be.”
“I’m such a failure, I just can’t get this whole Christian thing right.”
Thinking like this inhibits our ability to come to the throne of grace, with full assurance in faith of our forgiveness. When we wallow in our sin, it lessens the power of the blood of Jesus’ sacrifice.
God does say we are sinners in need of grace (Romans 3:22-24). God’s Word does say that we were once in darkness, operating out of the flesh (Colossians 1:13-14). But the Bible says all kinds of other truths we need to grasp and believe as well. Many of those truths fall on us the moment we trust in Jesus as our Savior and start walking in the light (1 John 1:7).
1. We are made in God’s image.
Genesis 1:27 — “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
We bear His likeness, even before we knew Him. Think about how your words about yourself or other people reflect on His design.
2. We reflect His glory.
2 Corinthians 3:18 — “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
People see Him through us. Will they see a person so enthralled with pouring guilt over sins that they’ve committed or will they see a person walking in grace and loving the freedom that forgiveness offers?
3. We are worth dying for.
Ephesians 2:4-9 — “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
And that means that we are loved beyond any thought of self-preservation. God Himself came down to pay our penalty so that we would know we are worth something invaluable to him.
4. We should rejoice in redemption.
Romans 5:6-11 — “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
In all this, I’m not saying that we ought to take our sin lightly. Far from it actually, we must repent of sin, confess it and seek forgiveness and reconciliation. However, what I am saying is that we need to walk in the freedom that we have through faith. We must walk in our identity in Christ.
If people are constantly hearing struggles with sin and rarely hearing the joy of redemption, there is something vastly wrong with our theology.
1 John 1:9 — “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Instead, “let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:22-23)
I urge Christians to stand in the grace given to you. Please stop cutting yourself down and bashing yourself with shame and guilt. If you believe in the redemption of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven! Act (and speak) like it.