Originally published in Charisma News
I am thrilled that Justin Bieber has pointed his 95 million Instagram followers to Jesus, and I truly hope that he is serious about living a life that is pleasing to God. And I mean nothing critical at all in what I write here. Instead, his Instagram post deserves another post. His good word deserves a follow-up word.
Bieber posted a picture of a whiteboard with a handwritten message saying, “Do you feel you have [exhausted] all options? Do you feel helpless? Do you feel like you’re never good enough? What if I told you that there’s a god that’s willing to meet you WHEREVER you’re at! What if I told you he could take away your pain, shame, [guilt], and fears #Jesus.”
In the caption he added that, “Jesus is changing me from the inside out every day!”
What I’d like to add to his message, which is a true and accurate message, is this: Jesus takes away our pain, shame, guilt and fears by taking away our sins.
Yes, by dying for our sins, Jesus strikes at the root cause of all of our struggles — our pain, shame, guilt, fears, depression, anxiety, anger, heartache, and confusion, just to name a few — and He brings us into a brand-new life.
By dying for our sins, Jesus delivers us from the ultimate slavery — slavery to the flesh, to the carnal desires of the heart and the mind, to the world and its lusts, to Satan himself — and sets us free to live for God. We are set free from sin and we become servants of Jesus the Lord.
By-products of sin
You see, sin is our enemy, sin is the culprit. Pain and shame and guilt and fear are some of the by-products of sin. Put another way, we are lost and confused and enslaved because we have disobeyed God — we have sinned — and because we keep on disobeying God — we keep on sinning.
By dealing with our sins, Jesus deals with the root causes of all of our problems. And by enabling us to live a new life, a life where our sins are not only forgiven but overcome, He gives us eternal life. What a Saviour He is!
Through Him, the disobedient become obedient, the rebellious become repentant, the hateful become love-filled, and the enslaved become free. Jesus really does change us from the inside out, and He continues to help us in our weakness.
When His birth was announced, the angel declared, you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21b).
When John, the forerunner of the Messiah, saw Him the first time, he said, Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).
When He died on the cross, in the words of Peter, He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness (1 Peter 2:24b).
The great exchange
Do you see it? It’s the great exchange. The innocent dying for the guilty. The righteous one shedding His blood for the unrighteous. And when He died, we died with Him — died to sin, died to our wills, died to our disobedience. And when He rose, we rose with Him, that we should no longer live for ourselves but for the one who died for us and was raised from the dead (see 2 Corinthians 5:15). This is the life-changing power of the gospel.
It saves us from the hell outside us, the hell inside us, and the hell that awaits us. It brings us from death to life, from darkness to light, from lostness to “foundness.” It rescues us in every sense of the word, and it gives us a brand-new life — a life of obedience to the Lord, alive as children loved by our Father.
And what is the power of the gospel? It is the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from every sin (see 1 John 1:7, 9).
As the old hymn declared, “Oh, precious is the flow, That makes me white as snow/ No other fount I know, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”
It is the blood of Jesus that pays for our sins and takes away our sins, thereby washing away our shame, and guilt, and fear.
That is the power of the gospel.
As for Justin Bieber, let me say this, directly to you: We know that lots of eyes are on you, watching your every move, scrutinising your every word. We’re praying for you, that God’s grace will continue to flood your life until you can’t even recognise yourself.
That is the power of the gospel.