But you already know the answer before the judge even speaks.
You committed the crime, you pay the price. As the death sentence is being spoken someone steps up and offers to take your place. Nobody is more shocked than you, especially given that the person willing to take your punishment as his own, is none other than the judge's only son. And he was the most stand-up guy you could ever meet, never breaking the law, never doing anything wrong. He was the model citizen and he just asked his father for your death sentence.
Now, you are no longer guilty, but innocent. Someone else is paying for the consequences of your actions as if they had committed the crime and not you.
But accepting your innocence, and living in the freedom of your innocence are two different things. Yes, the prison cell is open but are you still living inside?
We are humans. We are a far cry from ever being perfect while we live on this earth. But God doesn't require perfection, he just asks for progress. When we fall, we need to get back up. God forgives us and we can move on. Read that again.
Why do let ourselves dredge up our past and all the guilty feelings that go with that? If you've asked God to forgive you, he has and you don't need to keep punishing yourself for something that's been taken off your record and removed from you. That no longer defines you.
Guilt is not from God. This is something I've been repeating to myself constantly these past few weeks because it's not a concept I'm familiar with. Yes, I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sin and took my punishment. Yes, I believe that he offers grace and mercy and love and freedom. Yes, I believe that I have been forgiven and that in Christ I am a new creation, that when God looks at me, he sees Jesus and not my sin.
But I don't live like that. I live like I'm the scum of the earth, not worthy to even be entering the church doors. That I don't deserve to fellowship with other Christians who, you know, have it all together (because everyone has it all together but me, right?). That if they knew the struggles that went on in my heart they wouldn't want to have anything to do with me (never mind that this has been disproven countless times, I still FEEL that way every now and then).
So if I say I believe one thing and then act like I don't, what does that make me?
It makes me a hypocrite. And we all know how much everyone loves a hypocrite. That God's word isn't enough for me. That yes, he's forgiven me but I still have to punish myself because Christ's gruesome death on the cross wasn't enough for me. What? How can that not be enough!?
How can Christ's death on the cross not be enough for you?
Live like it, people. Live like you believe his death is enough to cover your sins and stop punishing yourself for past mistakes that you've already asked his forgiveness for.
We sang this song in church today and I am always so moved by the words. Our names are written on God's hands and our life is hid with Christ. God made an end of all our sins (including past, present and future sins) we only need to look to him.
Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea
The great High Priest whose name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me
My name is written on His hands
My name is graven on His heart
I know that while in heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart
When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
Behold Him there the risen Lamb
My perfect spotless Rightousness
The great unchangeable I AM
The King of glory and of grace
One with Himself I cannot die
My soul is purchased by His blood
My life is hid with Christ on high
With Christ my Savior and my God