Have you ever been ashamed because of something you’ve done, something you’ve been through or because of something someone said? Have you felt the discomfort, pain, and even torture of embarrassment and humiliation?
In the Bible, the feeling of shame is normally caused by public exposure of one’s guilt (Genesis 2:25; 3:10). Shame may also be caused by a hurt reputation or embarrassment, whether or not this feeling is due to sin (Psalm 25:2-3; Proverbs 19:26; Romans 1:16).
In fact, all of us have done things that we are (or should be) ashamed of. Paul tells us:
…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)
That’s bad, but the good news is that Jesus bore the consequences of that shame—rejection, isolation, and ultimately the punishment of death—in our place. Those in Christ will not face shame (Rom 10:11; 1 Peter 2:6-7).
The cross liberates people from shame by displaying Jesus’ commitment to their new identity. He died for the shamed. Jesus gave up his own status and honour to include the excluded and shamed. God stands with the shamed.
We can see this in his attitude to his crucifixion.
…keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)
To be crucified meant to endure shame. Firstly because it was a sign of God’s condemnation of the person (Deuteronomy 21:23), but also because they were crucified naked, which to a Jew was especially shameful. Jesus was willing to endure this shame for us.
Jesus paid the price for sin, for sickness and disease, for mental suffering, and for shame. Jesus endured crucifixion to bring our physical, spiritual and mental healing (Isaiah 53:5), He literally took our shame upon Himself to pay the price for any humiliation that would ever try to poison our lives.
Jesus took all our shame and fear so we wouldn’t have to be tormented by its hold on us. Shame’s power to exclude was destroyed (Col 2:13-19)
Satan wants us to suffer with the isolation of shame so he can keep us trapped in our fear of judgment, rejection, and condemnation.
Genesis 3:8-10 reveals humanity’s first introduction to fear, guilt, and shame. Adam and Eve hid from God and from each other. They made excuses for their sin. Ultimately, their sin caused them to doubt God’s love for them and His goodness toward them.
Adam and Eve were fearful, hidden, naked, and ashamed. God pursued them in their sin, graciously and mercifully covering them with animal skins (Genesis 3:21). This is a symbol looking forward to Jesus’ death ultimately not just covering, but dealing with their sin.
Instead of the sacrificed animal skins of Eden, God has covered us once and for all with his ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Romans 3:25, Hebrews 9:11-14). In Revelation 3:18 Jesus says it himself – he is the One who covers our nakedness with his righteousness.
How do we share in all that Jesus has done for us? By deciding to be in a relationship with him. We start this by being honest about who we are.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
And then trusting him with every aspect of our lives—by making Jesus our Lord, which will be shown by our turning away from evil, and serving him with our lives.
For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” (Romans 10:11)
The Apostle Paul says:
… I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes… (Romans 1:16)
The result of joining in with Jesus is that we can know God’s forgiveness, we can know cleansing from our shame. We can know that all the evil that we have done, and had done to us, has been dealt with.
As far as the eastern horizon is from the west, so he removes the guilt of our rebellious actions from us (Psalm 103:12).
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
The bonus is, because our shame has been dealt with, we are considered to be pure and holy in God’s sight, and we will escape judgement and instead be with God forever.
And so, since we have been justified by his grace, we become heirs with the confident expectation of eternal life. (Titus 3:7)
And so we have a wonderful new eternal future to look forward to.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4).