All of us have sinned, its as simple as that. We have this virus called 'sinful nature' which is part of the human system, through which the enemy tries to control us.
He even tries to control us through our own guilt.
Sometimes we think that we somehow have to hold on to sin, to continue to feel guilty and shameful becuase then somehow we will feel we have been 'punished' for it. We don't feel free becuase we hold on to sins, or we keep up with bad habits becuase we feel controlled by them or its just easier than it is to accept forgiveness, becuase its so hard to forgive ourselves.
Some churches are guity of encouraging this view, by putting guilt and fear into us. By saying we need to go to church to unload our sin becuase otherwise we're in danger of hell. By almost scaring us into repentance. Through making us feel guilty and worthless in God's sight, whether intentionally or not.
The truth of the matter is though that sins are unloaded by God, and in particular Jesus. We do need Jesus forgiveness to come into His kingdom. If we don't want to be part of His kingdom and reject Him there are consequences.
But we don't have to store up our guilt and shame. We don't have to hold on to anything. We don't need to be made to feel guilty or in fear. We shouldn't be put in fear of eternal damnation in order to get us to confess. We don't need to be constantly be bound up in sin. We are free.
Becuase the sin has
been paid for. Its no longer ours, we have no need of it. We can release it. Jesus has paid the price for it already, we are free to live the life He's called us to.
Repentance means to turn away from something, to go the other way.
That doesn't mean saying sorry and trying to do better. Its about saying that the way you've been living and the habits and things you've been doing aren't the right way, and you need to choose a better way.
We need to let go of our sin, becuase in Jesus eyes it has already gone.
We merely need to recognise our sin, turn away from it and realise that its already been paid for.
taken care of sin.
He has died and risen.
Our sin has gone.
I heard a true story recently about a woman was asked to see her Catholic priest because he was worried about stories that she'd been having visions of Jesus, and he was worried (because apparently to some Christian leaders its not good). He asked straight out that if she was having visions of Jesus, could she next time ask Him the last sins the priest had got forgiveness for at confession.
She came back to see him and he asked her. She took him by the hand and said "I asked Jesus what the last sins you confessed to Him were, and He simply said
"I don't remember"
Jesus says of our sin "I don't remember"
I'm beginning to understand now that its not a matter of unburdening ourselves when we go to church or even when we become a Christian.
Its about admitting that the sins we have and will commit and the sins we hold on to, the guilt we have, has
been taken away.
paid the price for our sins. They have been taken care of. We can let go of the things we have done wrong, the mistakes we make, the bad habits we feel guilty about, the lack of self-forgiveness, we can surrender them to Jesus.
We have had that taken away. We still feel the burden and guilt of it, we still sometimes feel controlled by it. We still sin, because we are not perfect.
We still sin, but the penalty for that sin has already been paid. We just need to allow that sin to be forgiven. God's not a God who does bargains, He's given us the greatest gift. Forgiveness and freedom.
If we don't choose it, then we hold on to the sin in our hearts and we distance ourselves from God. We don't allow the forgiveness we already have to become part of us, so at the end of everything that forgiveness can't be seen, the sin can still be seen. If someone doesn't even beleive they've sinned in the first place, they can't even see the need for it, so they can't accept it.
This could ultimately cause people to be seperated from God when His kingdom comes.That's why we need Jesus.
But even if we've accepted Jesus, we know what we've done and given it to God, we can still hold on to the burdens of these sins and the guilt we feel because we don't realise that the penalty has been paid for it already, and we can surrender it, and no longer need to be controlled by it. We don't need to hold on to it any longer. The guilt has gone.
taken care of them. We merely need to recognise what we have done wrong and surrender it to Him. It's done. Its forgotten. We're forgiven.
Of course there are sins we want to hold on to, to keep doing, that we don't want to give up becuase they are part of our comfort zone.
But we don't need them.
Jesus offers something better, if we just let go, understand we need Jesus forgiveness and realise that we are forgiven already and allow and accept that forgiveness into our hearts, we can then live in the freedom it provides.
This freedom is there welcolming us, and all we need do is accept our need for Jesus forgiveness, and embrace it.Then we are free to go into each day in that freedom, ready to worship God with abandon and to hear what new things He has to say to us, and to then go out and put them into practice.
As long as we hold on to our sin, as long as we allow guilt to control us and live in guilt and fear, then we won't be free from our sin.
But not becuase its not forgiven, but becuase we haven't accepted and embraced the forgiveness that Jesus is offering.
We all need saving.
We all need Jesus' forgiveness.
Its already there, waiting for us. We just need to accept our need for it, turn the other way and embrace it.If you ever feel like this, like sin is trapping you, like you are controlled by the guilt and fear from sin, like you aren't free, then ask Him to release you.
Walk in the freedom you have, then in that freedom choose to go to meet with fellow believers and learn more from Him, and sing His praises in true worship and thankfulness. Go out into the world and serve Him and live according to His values.
When you make a mistake, then recognise it, turn around and accept Jesus' forgiveness
If we all do this, then we will really experience freedom in Christ, and church will become a living, breathing, environment, somewhere we can't wait to get to. Then we become better equipped to be the people we are called to be, and to start 'doing church' outside of the four walls of the church meeting (which I will talk more about in my next blog).
Then we'll have a living, real church and a living, real faith.
Becuase Jesus has said 'I don't remember. It's already gone'