Over the years of my ministry, I have had the privilege of leading people to the Lord, to His saving grace and sanctifying grace. It has always been a joy to see the change in a person’s life when he/she acknowledges Jesus as his/her Lord and Savior.
I recall talking with a lady who had seemingly struggled throughout her life about whether she was truly saved. She grew up in the church, was faithful at each service, and tried to be a good disciple. However, she had never known what it was to have the confidence that her sins were forgiven. One time, she shared with me she would like for Jesus to literally speak to her and tell her she had been saved. She had no problem having faith in someone else’s salvation but lacked the assurance of her own salvation.
One day, she was reading Psalm 32:5b (NIV) when seemingly a light bulb came on. God did not speak to her audibly, but He did speak to her through His word. The Scripture simply read, “I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’ – and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” In that moment, she realized that years ago she had offered her guilt and her burden of sin to the Lord. She remembered confessing her sins and knew she had genuinely tried to walk with God since that time. Then the light bulb became brighter. Even though she had confessed her sins earlier, she had not received the grace God was providing. She became aware that to receive God’s grace is as important as to confess her sins. For years, she had said “yes,” meaning she would turn from sin. However, she had not said “yes” to relaxing and knowing she was a child of God. She instantly became a different person and felt His Spirit bearing witness with her Spirit.
Sometime later, Satan approached her with a question of “why do lingering feelings of guilt sometimes occur?” For a moment, she felt confused. Like someone about to faint, doubt was closing in. Then her mind reached back to a previous conversation she and this pastor had shared. She remembered the words I said to her that sins can be forgiven in an instant but flashbacks of shame can occur for a lifetime. There is a difference in experiencing guilt and experiencing shame. Sinners experience guilt. Christians experience remorse and sometimes shame but never guilt. Jesus bore all our guilt and shame when He died on the cross, so we can feel relieved of both. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV) we read, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
We need not doubt our salvation, and we need not confuse guilt with shame. Every day, we can bathe in the presence of the Holy Spirit and enjoy His new creation.
Fri, 08/12/2022 – 13:20