Friday, December 11, 2009

From Dishonour to Freedom

Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. ~Isaiah 25:8-9 (NRSV)

In just two short weeks we will celebrate the birth of the Messiah, the One who removes our disgrace and wipes our tears.

Don't you just love that phrase, "He will take away our disgrace?"

Disgrace (n) - shame, dishonour, discredit, scandal, humiliation.

Disgrace (v) - bring shame on, bring into disrepute, tarnish, stain.

The coming of the Christ child was not just a promise to forgive our sins, but to remove the scandal of those sins, so that our names (and His) could not be brought into disrepute.

Do you find that you sometimes go to God seeking forgiveness, yet you continue to allow the sins you have confessed to stain your own view of yourself? You allow the shame of the sins to linger? I know I do. I'm truly sorry for the wrong I've done, but it never leaves me; it's always in the back of my mind. I can't share the gospel with this person - I'm too messed up. With my background, I should never be in public ministry. I can't possibly serve God in that capacity! I'm a liar, a failure, a hypocrite. Anyone who knows me will know the truth about who I am and what I've done...

Yet we are promised not only that we will be forgiven, but that our disgrace will be taken away. The redemption of Christ means that the stains on our lives are completely removed.

You know those laundry commericals? The ones where the "testers" grab someone in a grocery store and rub all sorts of goo and gunk onto her white shirt? Then they treat the stain with their special formula stain remover, wash the shirt - in cold, icy water, no less - and it's like the stain was never there.

It's the same when Christ erases our dishonour - like it was never there.

So don't let past sin hold you back. If God is calling you to teach a Bible study, to speak in front of a group, to share the gospel with your neighbour - do it! Your old junk doesn't matter - it was never there. Don't hold onto shame that Christ has already removed. It is the very fact that you are imperfect and you have a past that will bring glory and honour to the Name of Jesus. The fact that our tarnish has been brought to a shine is a demonstration of His greatness and grace.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. ~Romans 8:1-2 (emphasis mine)

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