If you are wrapped up in a sin, feeling hanged by its guilt, lost in the sense of unworthiness that it casts like an impossibly long shadow before your feet, a plea:
Repent and believe in the saving, justifying Jesus of Nazareth.
He does not cast aside penitent sinners.
He does not disown grieving tax collectors who beat their breasts over their greeds.
He does not shame the mourners in this funeral procession over here, the one marked “not many who were wise.”
If you are devastated or depressed due to your recent sins, like I was this past Friday night, take some hope from a brother in the only Christ: turn from those filthy things and receive the free gift of Jesus’ pure covering of righteousness. Receive it. Trust in the cross-killed, Father-raised Jesus and and be cleansed from all unrighteousness. Confess and be clean. He is giving away hope and peace, here, and it can’t be bought, so put away your wallet.
I was downcast on Friday night after I surrendered to anger and self-pity. And that was right. After all, He disciplines those He loves. But oh, what comes after the discipline is marvelous.
The Jesus who saves sinners will comfort those who mourn. He will justify those who cry out, from the heart, that they are terrible men and women who need mercy. He will rescue those who call upon His Name. He will give away the earth and the Kingdom like they are an inheritance He has an unchallengeable, glorious right to. Because they are. And He does.
If you’re drowning in anger, lust, bitterness, the boredom of materialism, or the churning of jealousy, turn from that sin and believe the Gospel. Come in faith to the Savior. His forgiveness is sweet, and it’ll make you sing, if you hear it right.
It’s an impossibly beautiful thing to leave the temple knowing you’re justified. Your feet step out the door and into the sunlight and you feel alive to God and holiness. You were crying from grief, but now a very different breed of tear is streaking your face. You start to walk home and you realize you’re smiling. You know there will be a grand party someday for former sinners, thrown by the very King whom they had sinned against. And you are quite confident, by the King’s unfathomable, unsearchable grace, that you are very much invited.
My encouragement for the sin-trodden and despair-worn like me: Repent and believe.
“He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: ‘Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get. But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, God, be merciful to me, a sinner! I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.'”
*Note: This post was adapted from an e-mail I sent to our church.