by Becky Peters
This article was originally published in the July/August 2015 issue of Daughters of Promise. To read more or purchase a digital copy, click here.
Hungry soul, I have just a few words to say to your desperate heart. You long for something deeper. You know there must be more to life than what you are living. I know that feeling. It’s the kind of desperate longing that makes you scared to be alone.
This message is for you. Father, do the work you said you would do and make truth come alive by the convincing power of your Spirit.
I love the simplicity of the Gospel. Seeing the power of the Gospel brings life-altering, I’m-never-going-back-again change. Coming face to face with the love of the Father, and actually believing that He loves you will radically shake up your world and satisfy you like nothing else can.
Sadly, while many of us have grown up hearing about God, we have not all heard the true Gospel. We are guilty of head knowledge, of theorizing, of speaking many true things about a God that we don’t know personally. Consequently many of us have lived a life of perfection on the outside, like beautiful tombs full of bones of the dead.
We need to stop theorizing and seek this Jesus with all our hearts. We need to know Him.
The way to God is through His Son, Jesus Christ. I go to the throne of God in boldness and confidence because I am clothed in the righteousness of His Son, Jesus Christ. I have tried coming to God other ways, clothed in a righteousness as slimy and foul as a pile of sewer-soaked scraps: my own righteousness. Understandably, I have found not a trace of boldness in my heart in coming to Him in this way. It’s absolutely exhausting.
The simple Gospel is that God loves me, that when I confess my sin and repent, my old self is crucified and Christ lives in me. He forgives me. Because of my faith in Him, He places His righteousness into my account. He sees my spirit as RIGHTEOUS. I am justified, or put right with God.
The beauty of the Gospel is that there is an exchange. Jesus gave His life in death so I could have life in Him. But it doesn’t stop there. I now have to die, so He can live through me. I have to decrease so He can increase. I have to die to my reputation, image… to my entire self, so that Jesus Christ can live in me and be showcased through me.
The beauty of the Gospel is that there is an exchange. Jesus gave His life in death so I could have life in Him.
This death is a subject we’d love to avoid. It’s painful. (And who loves pain?) But I have found that there is no life in Christ until I have seen my sin, and until I die, for we can’t both be ruling my life at the same time. The cross brought death. The cross was torture, pain and agony. The cross of Jesus was the place where He died, but that is not the end. The cross is an invitation for you to put your faith in Him and be transformed, not only because of His death, but because of His resurrection. The cross was not the end. And in the same way the death of myself is not the end, because it leads to life. His life. His life through me.
Now I see the futility of the years I spent dressing up in these rags and presenting myself to God. It only brought more shame and guilt, because instead of being put right with God by faith in Christ, I was trying to make myself right with God by faith in myself.
Look at the profound love the Father has for you. Look at His mercy for you in sending His Son to die a horrific death so your chains could be broken. Look at His grace - that He allowed the Son to die in your place. Look at His righteousness, for it is enough.
His grace can’t be improved on or added to. It stands alone as unaided and gloriously acceptable payment for my sin and shame.
Tired soul, stop dragging the strain of your own self around. Through faith in His righteousness, you can die, and then fully live!
Jesus came commissioned for a special work of setting captives free. I am living proof that this is truth. I have seen this liberty in my own heart and in the lives of people I love. When I believe through faith that He is enough for my sins, I am honest and broken about my sin and take it to the cross, that sin no longer has power to control me.
Jesus Christ is the One who can break addictions, old thought patterns, shameful behavior and secret sins. Don’t hide anymore! Bring your sick, shame-soaked soul to His cross.
You can’t hide your sin when you kneel down at the cross. But in your brokenness you’ll see His love. You’ll see that in His justice He can’t overlook your sin, your imperfections. You’ll see that His cross was the way that God’s wrath was satisfied, because through His sacrifice you can wear clothes of righteousness.
Admit your sin and hide behind the cross. Now that you are in Christ you can come boldly. See His grace? It’s enough. See His righteousness? It’s enough. Rest in this.
Step out of the beautiful whitewashed tomb of performance, and admit that you’re a sinner. Forget the religious show. A life full of bones of the dead won’t be your story anymore. Be honest and admit your sin. You can’t make it through this life without a Savior. You need His righteousness for that initial step of salvation, and you need Him to be your Savior every single day until you die.
I have decided to follow Jesus because I have found that His righteousness is enough for my sin. I put my faith in His Word. I believe Him when He says He loves me, His grace covers my sin, and I am righteous.
I have decided to follow Jesus because I have found that His righteousness is enough for my sin. I put my faith in His Word. I believe Him when He says He loves me, His grace covers my sin, and I am righteous. And this is how I want to live the rest of my life.
And so, dear friend, for those days when that enemy says, “But you’re a Christian now, and Christians don’t fail like this”, hold fast to the promises of your Father. He loves you, He has redeemed you, He will drench you with forgiveness when you come to Him with your sin, and His righteousness is enough.
And one magnificent day you’ll stand before God, and He’ll see His own life inside of you, and He will wipe the tears from your eyes, putting an end to all pain, and He will say, You’re righteous, and you’re mine.
Come, Lord Jesus! Until then, stand strong in Him.