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Taking Your Shame

By Mary Craig

Isaiah 65.12-16 contrasts the servants of the Lord God with those who did not answer when He called, did not hear when He spoke, chose that in which He does not delight, did evil before His eyes. In contrast to those who forsake the Lord, Godís servants eat while the others remain hungry. Godís servants drink while the others remain thirsty. Godís servants rejoice while the others remain in their shame. Godís servants sing for joy of heart while the others cry for sorrow of heart and wail for grief of spirit. Godís servants bless themselves in the God of truth. Indeed, for those who serve God, the former troubles are forgotten because they are hidden from Godís eyes.

God turns the captivity of shame to glory according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 1.12) that those called by the gospel might obtain of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 2.14). For the shame of sin and its consequent sufferings, God grants favor (Luke 4.18, 19). God turns shame into praise and renown.

In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: "Do not fear; Zion, let not your hands be weak; The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."

"I will gather those who sorrow over the appointed assembly, who are among you, to whom its reproach is a burden. Behold, at that time I will deal with all who afflict you; I will save the lame, and gather those who were driven out; I will appoint them for praise and fame in every land where they were put to shame." Zephaniah 3.16-19

How can these things be? The answer is found in Jesus Christ You can be delivered from shame by understanding and embracing in faith three great truths of the gospel of grace. Letís look at them briefly.

First, Jesus bore the inherent shame of the cross itself. He endured the cross, despising its shame (Hebrews 12.2). The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1.18

The Phoenicians were the first to devise the art of crucifixion. Their goal was to find a slow, humiliating way of death fit for punishing criminals. They had experimented with drowning, burning, boiling in oil, strangulation, death by spear, and impalement, but these proved to bring death too quickly. Crucifixion involved nakedness, hours under a burning sun, jeering crowds, and physical torment beyond description. By the time of the Romans, crucifixion had become a science. Soldiers trained in its techniques followed specific rules as enemies of the Roman Empire lay victim of this evil. Why in one day more than 6,000 men suffered death by crucifixion following the revolt by Spartacus.

Jesus of Nazareth likewise suffered at the hands of these experts of the craft of crucifixion He was bludgeoned, brutally beaten, bloody beyond recognition Thorns some four to six inches in length tore into His scalp, protruding to form His crown. Jagged pottery and rocks knotted into leather cords of a whip lashed across His flesh. In this condition He was expected to carry a crossbeam through the streets of Jerusalem to Golgatha, the place of the skull. After five inch stakes were driven into His wrists, He was hoisted up against an upright pole or tree. A larger stake was pounded through His overlapped feet.

Horror ensued as Jesus found His arms in a "V" position, paralyzing the pectoral muscles. Able to draw in air but not exhale, relief came only with pressing down on the stake holding His feet. For three hours this went on. Jesus moaned from the depths of His being. Not as others who died by crucifixion, Jesus, very God and very Man, had laid upon Him the sin and iniquity of humanity. This singular, sacrificial victim, this Lamb of God, experienced the shame of the cross as the Father turned away from His own Son, now made sin. Jesus was forsaken. In wrenching agony He committed His spirit into the hands of His Father and died. He bore the shame that comes as the consequence of sin and guilt.

Secondly, He bore the curse. (See Deuteronomy 28.) In suffering such total humiliation, He became a curse for those who would live by faith in Him. The just shall live by faith. Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, Paul tells us in Galatians 3.13, 14 having become a curse for us (for it is written, ĎCursed is everyone who hands on a treeí), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Shame, falling out of favor with God, not knowing the glory of God, being driven from His presence, is the curse. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ (Romans 6.23).

Thirdly, Christ died outside the camp. On the Day of Atonement the bodies of the animals whose blood was brought into the sanctuary, into the Holy of Holies. by the high priest for sin were burned outside the camp (Leviticus 16.14, 27). Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate (Hebrews 13.12). Jesus was crucified outside the city of Jerusalem (John 19.16, 17). He bore reproach as the Sin-bearer. He suffered shame.

Jesus Christ is Godís answer to shame. Jesus became sin that through His shame those who believe in Him, repenting of their sins, might receive the favor, the glory of God. In Jesus, God offers the only way to remove shame. In an obedience to His Father that took Him to the experience of suffering the humiliation of the cross, Jesus took upon Himself the wrath of God, the agony of rejected love, the curse of the Law. Outside the camp, He took the reproach, the rejection, the consequence of sin, the shame.

If you find yourself under the conviction of the Holy Spirit as you read this, know also that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and on the third day rose from the dead. This One who, being in the form of God and who did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, made Himself of no reputation. He took the form of a bondservant. He came in the likeness of men, and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Today, He has a Name above every name. At the Name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven above and on the earth, and under the earth. Every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2.6-11)

Now is not the time to hide. Now is the time to turn to God in repentance and faith. You might pray:

Dear Lord Jesus, I want you to come into my life right now. I know that I am a sinner. I also know that You died for my sins, that You paid the penalty for my sins. I know that You rose again from the grave. You did this for me. Please forgive my sins. I receive You as my Lord and Savior. I desire to know You and to follow You. Grant me repentance and faith that I might recover myself from the snare of the devil who has been holding me captive to do his will. Grant me grace whereby I might have faith. Give me the Holy Spirit that I might die to sin and walk in newness of life. Thank You for taking my shame, my guilt, all the condemnation and reproach. Thank You for the gift of eternal life. Let me worship and serve You only now and forever. Amen.

© 2000 Mary Craig Ministries, Inc.

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