Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Freedom to Move On

One of the things I treasure most about the Christian life is the opportunity to repent, change, and move on from a transgression. Part of the pain of my past was having to wallow in what I'd done--how I'd sinned against God--with nothing to do about it (or even a clear recognition of what the problem really was). I just had grief, bitterness, and raw pain rising inside of me due to my own sins, with no idea what to do. I wanted to fix everything, but how?

When I ran to Christ, there was a clear sense inside me that I was soiled. I remember at the time knowing that Jesus was what I needed--that none of the other 'answers' that had presented themselves in the form of other religions would cut it. I knew it. I needed someOne to pay a debt I couldn't begin to repay.

I needed to change my legal status before God. I didn't exactly think in those terms at the time: I just knew I had to cling to Jesus, right now. I was messed up and unholy, an undeserving creature that had spat in His face. I had nothing to offer Him, but I wanted Him. Without the blood of Jesus, which was offered as the sacrifice for my sins, I didn't have the power to legally change anything about my state before the Lord.

But Jesus had the power, because He had sacrificed Himself and is at God's right hand! Isn't it amazing that He would speak up for us, just because we ask Him to? He is always interceding for us. That means that when we mess up, He is there as an advocate:

Hebrews 7:25-28
Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.

1 John 2:1-3
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.

That makes me really glad, because did I mention that I am a screw-up?

And Jesus solved my problem about what to do when I sin (as you saw in 1 John above). Not only have my past sins been cleansed totally, but when when I sin now, I know what to do about it--and it's all about what He's already done about it! There is repentance available to me: real change. That's what I didn't have before; there was no way to change. There was just human will, human resolution, and human failure, time after time.

Hebrews 9:11-14
But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

How much more will the blood of Christ purify my conscience from dead works to serve the living God... Not only has God provided the way out of sin and condemnation, but He has freed me so that I can serve Him. The ultimate freedom is beautiful, joyful servanthood. Only my God could come up with that! But that's a discussion for another day.


JP Manzi said...

Great post!! and AMEN

Evan said...

Excellent post, Kristen. I relate completely to your wallowing in the past. We can never be reminded too often of what Christ did in dealing with our sin and the freedom from condemnation that we now have because of Him.

Kristen said...

Thanks, guys. :)

I think that often the 'no condemnation' scripture is abused as a license for immorality ('yeah, I am smoking pot, but there is no condemnation!') Ahem--there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. Not just in general, you know?! Praise the Lord for progressively sanctifying us, and for helping us up when we stumble!

Molly has some great thoughts on condemnation vs. chastisement/discipline today.

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