For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.—1 Peter 3:18
It’s been said there are two kinds of people: the saved and the lost. But I see two categories among the lost: the proud and the ashamed.
Some people, when I tell them about Jesus, shut down. They don’t see themselves as sinners in need of a Savior. They don’t see themselves as sinners at all, if they even comprehend the reality of sin.
But then there are the others. When you talk about Jesus taking the punishment for their sins, they look away to a hidden place deep inside, a place they may not open up to anyone. It is a place of secret shame.
They know their sin. It haunts them every day. It enters into their nightmares. It diminishes their worth and squelches their ambitions. It begs to be forgotten, but in their eyes, the constant reminder is a fitting punishment for their transgressions.
But no, it’s not. In reality, we have two options: accepting an eternity in hell or accepting perfect substitutionary atonement. We cannot take our own punishment upon ourselves and still find deliverance from it. We are too flawed, too broken, too mired in our sins. Only One can, and He did.
Perhaps you or someone you know fears she has fallen too far. Drug and alcohol addiction, sexual immorality, abortion, adultery, stealing, habitual lying: No stain of sin is too deep to withstand the cleansing power of Jesus’ blood. Whatever your sin, Jesus died for that.
Maybe you don’t see hope for your future. He does. He is the God of the impossible, the One who overcame death and hell.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.—1 Corinthians 15:3-5
If you think you’re unworthy of being saved or too far gone, consider the heroes of the faith. Moses was a coward. David was an adulterer and a murderer. Peter denied Christ even as He was being falsely accused. The woman at the well of John 4 was, to put it mildly, a woman of ill repute. Paul persecuted Christians and approved their murders. The list could go on. If you are a sinner in need of a Savior, you’re in good company.
And when Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”—Mark 2:17
Jesus loves you so much that He bore the weight of your sin upon the cross, and He forever bears your scars upon His hands, His feet and His side.
Whatever your sin, Jesus died for it. Find peace and forgiveness in Him.