Not exactly the greatest way to start off the New Year, but when reading through the Bible in a year, one inevitably begins in Genesis. This morning was Genesis Chapters 3 and 4...the great "Fall of Man" chapters.
As I read through, I began to think of redemption. I began to think of what was and what wasn't before 'the fall.' As Christians, we have been restored to fellowship with God, as was true before 'the fall.' But here is something I had never thought of before. Shame. Shame did not exist before the fall. Therefore, it can be assumed that shame is a product of sin.
"And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed." Genesis 2:25
"And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?" Genesis 3:9-11
Before the fall, there was no shame. Before sin, there was no shame. If you notice, it is Adam's shame that keeps him from fellowshipping with God.
How many times do we, as Christians, live with shame? We commit a sin, we do a wrong and go running from the Lord fearing His chastisement and the Holy Spirit's conviction. We don't feel worthy to fellowship with God. Then, when we finally ask forgiveness, we find the serpent a loyal companion continually hissing in our ear, "Look what you've done. How can you dare fellowship with God? How dare you try and disciple people! Hypocrite."
Redemption is God restoring us to our pre-fall fellowship with Him. We will not be perfect until we are rid of our bodies, but the opportunity of that fellowship, of that meaning is there. Shame keeps us from it, even as blood-bought, forgiven children of the King. Redemption trumps shame. There is no place for shame in our relationship with God. Maybe that is why many times God emphasizes His forgiveness as all-encompassing and 'forgetful.'
"As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us." Psalm 103:12
"Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." Psalm 51:7
"...though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. " Isaiah 1:18b
There is no place for shame in the life of a child of God. If God has forgiven you, consider yourself forgiven completely. Do not hide from Him, run into His arms of grace and rejoice in His shelter. Continue to live your life for His honor and His glory. He doesn't use the perfect vessels; He uses the willing ones.