“Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion . . . and everlasting joy will be yours.” Isaiah 61:7 (NIV)

Guilt and shame are the natural responses of our inner justice system that demands that wrongdoing (sin) be punished. The problem is that we don’t want to be punished to the degree we know we deserve.

God had a similar problem with our situation. He is holy so He must punish sin to the degree it deserves. The only true punishment for sins against an eternal God is eternal death (Rm. 6:23). But, He also loves us perfectly and wants us to have eternal fellowship with Him. 

God provided the solution to this dilemma in Jesus Christ. “God made Him (Jesus) who had no sin, to be (our) sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21 NIV). This is the ultimate exchange in the universe. On the cross God laid our sin and the punishment for our sin onto his perfectly holy and divine Son, and laid on us His Son’s perfection. 

This great exchange is applied to us when we receive Jesus by faith. To walk in God’s forgiveness means, we must not only be mindful and thankful for God’s forgiveness, but we must also refuse to identify ourselves by our sins any longer. God identifies us by Christ’s righteousness. So should we. We are a “new creation; the old is gone and the new has come (2 Cor. 5:17).” Release your guilt and shame today and revel in the freedom of forgiveness.

© Paul R Downing

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