Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. 1 John 3, verses 21 and 22.
Think about it: deep in our hearts, if we aren’t bothered any longer by the things that happen or that we’ve done, then we are free. It’s the reason for Easter, you know. Yesterday we talked about confessing what’s deep inside of us. Root out the problem, open up, deal with it by telling it honestly to God.
Christ released us from the penalty for our sins. Once we understand that He took away all spiritual penalties for our sins, we realize we’re free. Our hearts need no longer harbor resentment, guilt, or shame. We can stand in front of God in full confidence that He doesn’t see the guilt, resentment or shame. He only sees us through the love of His Son.
Yet God knows we still live in a world of sin, that one of the fundamental ways that sin creeps back into our lives is from inside. The sadness of things in our lives burrows into our hearts and festers there, like a worm eating an apple from the core. Despite divine forgiveness, the enemy is always looking for ways to get back in. One of the primary ways is for him to plant doubt inside us. We constantly embrace that doubt, then we pick up the hurt again and internalize it.
You know that’s not what Easter was for. God wanted us to know that we were free, that we don’t need to feel condemned any longer. God sent His Son to die in our place so that we could stand free and clean before His holy presence. He did it so that we might ask more of Him, namely for Him to live fully through us. I’m living proof that He does, that He is always inside and beside my heart, beckoning me to let Him shield me from the enemy’s attacks. The lies, the cheating, the theft of love, the hurt, the grudges: I’ve done them. Have you? Is it any wonder that I felt miserable? How about you?
And is it any wonder that I feel like a burden is lifted off my shoulders when I understand, again and again, that my Savior died so I don’t need to live in misery; that I might live to ask from Him a life full of Him. He did it for you too. In these days after Easter, remember that. No death or sin in the grave of Jesus means there doesn’t need to be sin or death in our hearts.
Risen Jesus, thank you for removing death and sin. Thank you for taking away my guilt, my shame, my hurt. Live through me to help and serve others as You would have me do.