When you experience pain or suffering, what’s your first reaction? Is it something like, “Why me Lord?” or is it more like, “Thank you Father for this experience allowing me to draw closer to you.” If you’re like most people the first reaction is probably the one you have.
We all will have our trials and troubles because we live in a fallen world. As Paul says in Romans, “The wages of sin is death.” So when we have a problem we won’t necessarily experience death but we should be reminded that something we said or did might be the cause of our situation. Sometimes it is God working in us.
Let Christ sanctify you when you have pain and trouble instead of hanging on to disappointment, anger, and bitterness. The key to contentment in every situation is a willingness to look below the surface of your pain and see both the good that Christ is working in you and the glory that is guaranteed to follow.
Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
“So, you think you’re pretty special?” the father asked the child. “Well, you know what? You are!”
God thinks of us the same way. In His eyes we are special and unique in so many ways. He made us in His own image. That’s pretty special don’t you think? We are all God’s children and because of that He loves us without end. No strings attached. He loves us so much that He also disciplines us when the need arises.
Fathers love their children without measure. No matter how big the mistake, the father loves the child anyway. God loves us the same way. He also knows when we sin and He knew that there was no way for us to receive forgiveness for our sins except through the blood of His own son Jesus.
Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” That’s a very special love don’t you think? God sacrificed His own son so that we could be free from our sins. Wow!
Remember. The next time you start feeling as if you are unloved or that no one cares, Jesus is right there whispering in your ear, “I love you so much that I died for you. Take my hand and let’s walk together forever.”
“God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins. We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us.”—Romans 3:24
Do you want more than anything to be set free from the guilt of sins past? Do your sins grind you down on a daily basis? How do we get set free from all this guilt? I know it’s something all believers want but somehow just can’t manage to get a good grip. We are incarcerated by our past. In our minds we have been found guilty! Our executioner’s footsteps echo against stone walls. We sit on the floor of the dusty cell, awaiting our final moment. We don’t look up as he opens the door. We know what he’s going to say.
“Time to pay for your sins.” But we hear something else! “You’re free to go. They took Jesus instead of you!” The door swings open, the guard barks, “Get out.”
And we find ourselves with shackles gone, crimes pardoned, wondering what just happened? Grace just happened! Christ took away your sins. Romans 3:24 says, “God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins. We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us.” What happened? Grace happened!
When you think back over your life are you pleased with what you remember or are you like most who had some rough patches along the way? Sometimes when I think about it, I feel saddened because I wish I could have done better or not made the mistake. But you know what, God isn’t keeping score. And, the fact is there is nothing we can do on our own to secure our salvation and an eternal home in heaven.
Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, died for our sins (all the rough patches we had) so when we stand before God on judgment day our sins are erased with Jesus’ blood. The next time you begin to dwell on your past, remember His blood and its power to wipe your slate clean.
A final word of encouragement. God doesn’t remember your sins. Not one. So you don’t need to either.
One of the concerns often heard from believers is the fear that God has not forgiven them. Despite having confessed their sins, they’re still uncertain of their cleansing and wonder if they didn’t feel sorry enough. Instead of rising from their knees purified and restored, they feel as if a cloud of God’s disapproval and disappointment is covering them.
This kind of thinking is based on feelings, not truth. Salvation comes through faith in Jesus and His death as payment for our sins. The moment we believe, God declares us righteous in His eyes, and all our sins—past, present, and future—are forgiven. Romans 8:1 reassures us that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” It’s not our confession of wrongdoing but the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7).
Another reason some doubt God’s forgiveness is the erroneous belief that confession maintains our salvation. If we think any unconfessed sin leaves us open to the Lord’s condemnation, we’ll continually wonder if we’ve forgotten some transgression or haven’t confessed quickly enough.
Both of these misconceptions are caused by a faulty understanding of what confession is. Confession means agreeing with God that what we have done is sinful and doesn’t fit who we are in Christ. As the Holy Spirit brings conviction, we begin to feel inner discomfort and guilt. Although we are still God’s children, our disobedience disrupts our fellowship with Him. The solution is to go to our heavenly Father and confess our wrong so we can be cleansed and restored to the peace and joy of our relationship with Him.
Is it easier to say Your sins are forgiven,’ or Stand up and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”
— Matthew 9:5-6 NLT
It’s easy to tell someone his sins are forgiven; it’s a lot more difficult to reverse a case of paralysis! Jesus backed up his words by healing the man’s legs. Jesus’ action showed that his words were true; he had the power to forgive as well as to heal. Talk is cheap, but our words lack meaning if our actions do not back them up.
We can say we love God or others, but if we are not taking practical steps to demonstrate that love, our words are empty and meaningless. How well do your actions back up what you say?
Mark 8: 34-38 Calling the crowd along with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me and the gospel will save it. For what does it benefit someone to gain the whole world and yet lose his life? What can anyone give in exchange for his life? For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
After Jesus’ encounter with his disciples concerning who they thought he was, he offers the following discourse on how to save your life as well as how to live it.
Some of his comments might be confusing and against today’s standard of how to be successful. Jesus says that if we want to follow him we have to deny ourselves. In today’s society that’s almost an impossible task because we tend to think of ourselves first.
When we are happy with our successes we become prideful and think we are the ones responsible. If we don’t want to confess that Jesus is the reason then it would indicate we are ashamed to be associated with his name. Based on that Jesus said, “if you are ashamed of me in this sinful world then upon the day I come into glory with the Father, I will be ashamed of you.”
That statement has significant and lasting results on where one spends eternity. If we don’t accept him as our Lord and Savior and proclaim His gospel of the good news, He will not stand in our place before the Father on judgment day.
This Easter take the time to reflect on what Jesus did on the cross and the end result. He beat death, rose from the grave and sits at the right hand of the Father. Our acceptance of His death for the remissions of our sins will position us to spend eternity in heaven with Him.
So, don’t be ashamed of the name of Jesus but instead Take Up Your Cross and proclaim the Good News. He is alive.