Two Coverings: Guilt or Grace
Illustrating a Truth of Discerning the Enemy
It's one thing to have a covering. It's altogether different to live under it. As Christians we have the greatest covering in the world. Not only do we have the coverings that God supplies, we have the inside knowledge that our God Himself became our covering. The Atonement (what Jesus did for us at the cross) means "covering." Jesus became our covering at the cross! But how many of us can truly say we are living under it? Are we not at times just like Adam, trying to hide our sins, trying to hide from God, and living in shame due to the distressing sight of our "nakedness" (our weaknesses and inward sinfulness)?[i]
Every day we have an important choice set before us that we may not even realize we are making. If we are believers, God offers us the all-inclusive covering of His mighty grace: He has accepted us in the Beloved,[ii] forgiven all our sins at the cross,[iii] and has freely justified us through the Blood of His Son.[iv] Not only this (though all of this is tremendous), His love and mercy cover us daily.[v] He also clothes us in the perfect righteousness of His Son Jesus--the "robe of righteousness"--so that we never again will appear naked, shameful or even sinful in His eyes.[vi] These are awesome and eternal coverings. God doesn't want us to feel guilty!
Nevertheless, if we aren't careful, feelings of guilt may follow us, seeking to crush us under the weight of trying to keep the law perfectly (whether it's God's rules or ours), to get everything right in our own strength, and to live frustrated with ourselves when we don't. Law keeping is a miserable business. Trying to cover ourselves by being right is a doomed enterprise. Instead, why not choose to trust perfectly in the grace that is being perpetually offered to you? Trusting to grace works so beautifully that it's positively heavenly. Let's learn to live light and bright under His mercy!
So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. Galatians 3:24-25 ESV
For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest [Law]... But you have come to Mount Zion... to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. [Mercy] Hebrews 12:18, 22-24 ESV
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16 ESV
Father, I have been trying to cover myself with the tattered garments of my efforts at perfection and it has kept me so stressed within myself and made me so judgmental of others. Forgive me! It is as if I haven't really believed that the Blood of Jesus was a sufficient covering for me or for anyone else! You don't want me to feel so guilty or to be putting guilt, blame or shame on others. I renounce all unbelief in Your perfect covering of grace and mercy. Help me repent and believe the good news!
[i] See Genesis 3 for a complete account.
[ii] Ephesians 1:6 KJV: To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
[iii] Colossians 1:13-14: He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
[iv] Romans 3:23-24: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
[v] Proverbs: 10:12 Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.
[vi] Isaiah 61:10: I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Next Illustrated Insight
Root of Bitterness
Illustrating how to exercise the liberating power of forgiveness.
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