A Tale of Two Sinners
Jesus Offers Freedom From Guilt: A guest post from CoCo Ashley.
This is the first of our guest posts for the year, which will usually be posted on the 27th day of every odd-numbered month. This excellent post comes from CoCo Ashley, and I pray that it blesses you as much as it did me.
When I sat down to think over the events that occurred during the first Holy Week, one thing I noticed is the different reactions that people can have toward the gospel. Some people are enthusiastic--like the people of Jerusalem who shouted “Hosanna!” during Christ’s triumphal entry--while others are determined to keep Him dead like those same people when they shouted “Crucify!” just a week later.
As others have pointed out, some people--even Christians--are living in a Good Friday world despite the fact that God has given us an Easter Sunday reality. For anyone who is in Christ, we have been passed from death unto life, but a lot of us aren’t living like it! We’re still living under the carnal mindset of death and condemnation.
Let’s consider the different reactions of two of the disciples--Judas and Peter. Both of them dropped the ball on their commitment to Jesus in pretty significant ways over the course of Holy Week: Judas betrayed Jesus and sold Him to the Sanhedrin for thirty pieces of silver, while Peter denied having anything to do with Him not once, not twice, but three times. They both disowned their Master--a pretty big deal if you ask Matthew 10:33.
However, if we continue reading, the Bible reveals that their transgressions led to very different outcomes. Judas succumbed to the guilt and ended up hanging himself (Matthew 27:5). But Peter wept bitterly for his mistakes and found reconciliation with his Savior after the Resurrection (Matthew 26:75, John 21:15-19). Why did one sinner find death, while another--who was just as guilty according to God’s holy standard--was given life?
The answer is that while Judas walked in darkness and despair, Peter allowed the kindness of Jesus to lead him to repentance. Guilt and conviction are not the same thing. Once an offense has been forgiven, guilt and shame have no place in the life of a believer. Yes, the Holy Spirit will convict us, but He will never guilt us into believing we are beyond hope.
The enemy will tell us it’s over--we’re too far gone, nobody could ever love us, Jesus doesn’t really care if we die. He tries to make us believe that we’re condemned to a miserable life to pay for our mistakes. But Jesus tells us the exact opposite.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, ESV)
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9, ESV)
The beauty of the gospel and the hope of Easter is that death has been defeated! Jesus took the punishment for every one of our sins when He breathed His last on the cross. And because He rose again, death no longer has any hold on Him--nor on us, His children. We are forgiven and free because of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
This Easter, will you choose to accept that forgiveness? Will you embrace the life and joy and peace that the Father offers, like Peter did?
Or are you going to stay stuck in your ways and chase your sin to your death? Jesus wants you to know that the fate of Judas doesn’t have to be yours.
And for those of us who are already in the family of God--let the Holy Spirit convict you, but never let the devil condemn you. There is life to the full to be found in Jesus Christ. His name has the power to break every chain.
CoCo Ashley is a young writer devoted to using her words for the glory of God. She has been writing for as long as she can remember and dreams of one day publishing both fiction and nonfiction. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her talking with her friends, reading a book, or simply being an introvert with music in her headphones. Connect with her on her blog at cocoschitchat.com.