Isaiah 53 is a fascinating passage. It was written around 750 years before the crucifixion, yet it describes it in even the minutest details. If you haven’t already, take a few minutes to read and meditate on it. It goes beyond just prophesying how the coming messiah will suffer and die; it also talks about the implication of that death. Perhaps the most famous verse of Isaiah 53 is verse 5, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
What we were healed from is what I want to talk about today. Firstly, we were healed from our sin and it’s eternal consequences through faith in Christ. Jesus stepped into this world and took on the punishment for our failings at the cross. That’s not the only aspect of our lives that’s been healed though. I believe that in his death and resurrection, Jesus heals us from out guilt and shame.
Guilt and shame have long been tools with which Christianity and the Church have bludgeon Jesus’ followers. I think that we can all think about times in our lives that we have struggled and failed and were only made to feel worse after a Sunday service. We have all seen how some choose to use the Bible to beat people over the head with and to tell them that they’re not good enough. This is why so many people walk away from the faith. Why would you want to be a part of something that’s only ever going to beat you down? There are plenty of other places in this world to find that. The Church should not be one of them.
Christ came and died so that we would be freed from guilt and shame. Hebrews 2:17 tells us that Jesus was the “propitiation” (payment) for our sins. Christ has paid our debt. Furthermore 1 Corinthians 1:8 says, “(Jesus) will sustain us to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Not only has Jesus paid our penalty, he has promised that those who have placed their faith in him will remain “guiltless” until the end.
This is all because God’s love for you always supersedes your failings. Romans 8:39 is famous for saying that, “Nothing can separate us from God’s love through Christ Jesus our Lord.” We have been forgiven, not just of our past sins, but also for all of our future sins. Those who follow Christ live in a constant state of forgiveness.We are to repent and avoid sin at all cost; scripture is clear on that. We do that for our good and to show the world our faith, not so that we can be saved.
If we are forgiven and loved by God through Christ, then why do we walk around morose and downtrodden? We have no time to feel guilt and shame. All that we should feel is the love of God. Yes, we’re going to struggle, falter, and fail. Yes, we need to ask for forgiveness each time. However, we do not need to beat ourselves up over it. Why do we hold our sins against ourselves when Christ is screaming to us, “That’s why I gave my life for you!” In the song “How He Loves” written by John Mark McMillan and then later recorded by the David Crowder Band, there’s a beautiful lyric that goes, “And I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way he loves us.”
Say goodbye to guilt and shame. We don’t have time for them anymore. All that we should make time for is to feel the love and forgiveness that was offered to us when Christ offered up his life. We no longer need to walk around with heads held low. Lift up your eyes, oh broken believer, and feel the warmth of God’s love shining on your face. You have been healed and freed of guilt and shame, forevermore.