The people wept over how far they had walked away from God. Then Ezra, a teacher of the law, and Nehemiah, the governor, told them to move past their guilt and shame. Nehemiah and Ezra weren’t giving the people permission to sin. Instead, they were redirecting the people’s attention: Stop focusing on how bad we are, and start focusing on how great God is. Nothing could undo the past. The people’s hearts were repentant, and it was time to move on.
Realizing we’ve sinned causes a specific kind of sorrow called conviction. The good news for every believer is that Jesus made it possible to move past this grief. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Once we’ve confessed our sin to Jesus and repented, it’s time to stop grieving. We may not feel forgiven immediately, but we are. When Jesus forgives us, we are truly forgiven.
General feelings of worthlessness and shame are not the same as conviction, and these feelings are not from God. Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” When we trust that Jesus’ payment was enough, we receive abundant and everlasting grace.
Jesus really does love and forgive us. To be a Christ follower, we must operate in Jesus’ strength, choosing His grace over our shame.
How would it change your week to focus on God’s goodness and grace rather than your past?
Father, show me anything that displeases you. Help me realize I am no longer condemned but washed clean in the blood of Christ.
Kiefer is the Worship Leader at Pleasant Grove Reformed Church, outside of the church he is a creative director and graphic artist.
At 11 A.M. for our worship service!