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About twelve years ago I was living in a lot of shame.
I believed in the saving and forgiving power of God. I loved him and wanted to honor him with my life. I wanted to share the good news of his love and forgiveness with the world!
I worked (along with Steve) with Campus Crusade for Christ. We spent the school year working on college campuses in Colorado Springs, and then we spent the summers reaching out to communities with the beauty of the Gospel in Long Beach, California or Juneau, Alaska.
But I was trapped in shame at my inability to overcome my sin and live a life fully pleasing to him.
I wanted to share the good news of Jesus with the world, but I wasn’t living in the truth of it. I strongly felt the irresistible beauty of knowing Jesus, my Savior. But I was trapped in shame at my inability to overcome my sin and live a life fully pleasing to him.
You Made Your Mess, Now Clean It Up
When I was younger, I was taught, like most responsible children, to clean up my own messes. If I spilled in the kitchen, I was expected to grab the necessary towels and cleaning supplies and clean it. Even when I was too young to do a very effective job of cleaning, I was expected to do my best.
I completely agree with this lesson of childhood. Can I express to you how pleased I was the other day when my youngest child spilled in the kitchen and cleaned it up, albeit rather badly, all by himself? Hooray! I managed to teach him some responsibility! But in my heart I moved that lesson of responsibility into my spiritual walk as well.
It was as though God was shaking his head in disappointment and frustration, saying, “I just cleaned up this mess! Well, grab some paper towels and do your best,” all the while knowing that my efforts would be futile, and my stains would remain.
I believed that God had forgiven my sins when I put my trust in Him when I was young. But I unconsciously thought that every sin after that time was my responsibility to clean. It was as though God was shaking his head in disappointment and frustration, saying, “I just cleaned up this mess! Well, grab some paper towels and do your best,” all the while knowing that my efforts would be futile, and my stains would remain.
Righteous, Unstainable, All The Way Through
So there, I sat, a professional Christian (so to speak), heart-sick with shame because I couldn’t keep my robes of righteousness clean. I tried to manage it. I tried to fix it. I tried to out-maneuver it. And I failed every time.
And then one morning in our staff meeting I read 2 Corinthians 5:21. Again. (Isn’t it frustrating how you can see a verse twenty times and not really see it?)
“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
2 Corinthians 5:21 NASB
God opened my eyes to see the words of this verse in a new way. Suddenly, with all my heart, I knew that I was clean. I knew that because of the work of Christ on the cross, when I put my faith in his work on my behalf, I wasn’t just wearing robes of righteousness that I had to hope to keep clean. No, I was righteous! Through and through!
You are righteous! Through and through!
And now, because of this work of Jesus on the cross, sin doesn’t stick… Unstainable!
Christians, Jesus became sin and suffered God’s full wrath on the cross and we became righteousness. It is not a fair trade. We got the better end of that deal. But God delighted to sacrifice for us, because he loved us and wanted us to be with him.
And now, because of this work of Jesus on the cross, sin doesn’t stick. We are righteous with his righteousness. We are made right with God! Unstainable!
And that, my friends, is the good news of the Gospel. Amen!