Whether they admit it or not, people carry in their hearts an incredible load of anxiety and fear because of guilt. This is normal because all men are guilty of sin, and this fact has been well documented in the Bible.
All are guilty, and this problem has moved people to seek relief from the mental, emotional, and physical ravages caused by the effects of sin. Social reform, new philosophies, escape through drugs, magic, even denial (“I have no sin”), all of these and more have been tried to no avail. No avail because none of these so-called solutions can do what the cross does: remove the cause of guilt, which is sin. These other things deal with the symptoms of sin but the cross effectively eliminates the root cause: sin itself.
And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness for by His wounds you were healed
– I Peter 2:24
What Peter is saying here is that Jesus heals us of the effects of sin by removing our actual sins from us and taking them on to Himself. He doesn’t excuse them, justify them or hide them. He removes them through a process of transference, a process that was previewed for centuries by the Jewish sacrificial system.
One of the common issues found in diverse problems such as teen suicide, depression, alcohol and drug abuse, and marriage breakdown is the problem of low self-esteem. Sometimes we just don’t like ourselves very much. We worry about our value as human beings, and we have trouble liking others because we have a poor estimate of ourselves.
Sometimes it begins in youth when in different ways we get “messages” that tell us that we’re not OK, names other kids call us, failure in school, trouble between our parents. Whether these messages are accurate or not is not the problem; the problem is that we think they are true and begin to store them away in our subconscious minds. In many ways these kinds of thoughts motivate us as we grow older; we try to improve, to quiet the inner voice that says, you’re not worthy, you’re no good, you’ll never be good enough.
Children who grow up believing they’re not OK become angry, depressed, frightened and insecure adults who often end up raising the same kind of kids. But the cross of Jesus Christ has the power to finally break this cycle because it loudly and clearly says, “I love you,” “you’re OK now.” When nobody cares about you, even when you don’t care about yourself, the cross says, “I care.”
The power of the cross is made evident to the world in us. I pray that the power of the cross will draw you to obey the gospel this very day if you haven’t yet done so, and that its power will be evident in your lives from this day forward.