April 16, 2008
“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst.”
1 Timothy 1:15 (NIV)
If you are anything like me, you may have doubted at times whether or not God truly accepts you. Although scripture clearly tells us that God forgives our sins, sometimes we feel our sin is too big for God to forgive. We question God’s acceptance of us and allow ourselves to to feel defeated by guilt and shame. Why is it that we continue to walk this way?
In 1 Timothy 1:15, Paul states that he is the worst of all sinners. I believe the terrible sin that Paul is referring to was that he tried to destroy the Church before He became a believer. Before he accepted Christ, he was one of the primary ones to throw the stones that killed innocent Christians. But what Paul truly wanted us to know from this passage is that he recognized he was a sinner, but that he also had a Savior. Paul continues on in this passage of 1 Timothy, “But for that very reason, I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who could believe on him and receive eternal life” (1:16-17). Even though Paul had sins in his past that he obviously deeply regretted, he wholeheartedly accepted the fact that Christ accepted him.
I spent many years being held captive by the guilt and shame of sins in my past. I would repeatedly ask God for forgiveness, but still feel ashamed after saying “Amen”. I failed to realize that by not accepting God’s forgiveness, I was dishonoring Him. By doubting His ability to accept me, I was doubting God’s capability to completely forgive. As a result, I gave the enemy a stronghold on my heart and was convinced that I didn’t deserve God’s forgiveness, nor His acceptance.
During a powerful worship service one day, I finally heard God speak to my heart, and He showed me that I was the one keeping record of my sins, not Him. I was the one condemning myself, not Him. After years of being an emotional prisoner of guilt, I was freed, instantaneously, by simply wholeheartedly accepting the fact that God forgave me, loved me, and accepted me.
Jesus came to save sinners like you and me. Despite the severity of our sin, Jesus died to pay the penalty for that sin. Let today be the day that you truly accept the truth that God forgives you. Let today be the day that you stop condemning yourself for sins and honor Him by accepting His merciful acceptance of you.
Dear Lord, please heal my heart and help me to release the guilt and shame of my past sins into Your hands. Please give me the strength to stop condemning myself, and instead bask in the glory of Your forgiveness and mercy. With you, I can be a new creature. Thank you for sending Your son to pay the penalty for me, so that I can spend eternity with you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Reinventing Your Rainbow by Tracie Miles
No More Shame, Message on CD by Lysa TerKeurst
Allow Christ to cleanse your heart of any guilt and shame by accepting His forgiveness.
Are you dishonoring God by not accepting His forgiveness?
Are you continually asking God for forgiveness for the same sin, therefore keeping your own records?
Do you truly believe with all your heart that God loves and accepts you?
Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (NIV)
1 John 2:2, “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” (NIV)
© 2008 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Wednesday, 16 April 2008.