Although God is intent on setting you free from every area of bondage in your life, the starting place usually is receiving His forgiveness and then extending it to others.
One day Jesus was teaching to a packed house of people in Capernaum. Four men heard He was in town and carried their paralyzed friend to the meeting, hoping Jesus would heal him (Mark 2:1-12). Well, things were more difficult than they expected. There was such a large crowd that they couldn’t even get inside the door.
There’s powerful principle in what happened next. These four men wouldn’t let anything stop them in their mission. They climbed up on the roof, dug a hole, and lowered their crippled friend to Jesus.
What dedication! I love how the Bible says, “They had broken through” (v. 4). This is a great illustration of the kind of perseverance we sometimes need in order to receive our breakthrough from God. We may need to climb higher and do some digging!
A Surprising Twist
At this point the story takes an unexpected turn. The paralytic and his friends had come to this meeting to receive a physical healing, but Jesus said instead, “Son, your sins are forgiven you” (v. 5).
Do you see how puzzling this must have been? They probably wanted to reply, “Jesus, don’t you get it? We didn’t bring this man all the way here, then dig a hole on the roof, just to hear about forgiveness.”
But what they couldn’t grasp was that forgiveness was the initial key to unlock everything else this man needed. Jesus first set him free from his SINS, and then He released him from his SICKNESS and paralysis:
Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this! (vs. 9-12).
The forgiveness and healing of the paralyzed man is a fantastic demonstration that Jesus wants to break every chain in our lives. This is a theme throughout God’s Word, and all of it is connected to what Jesus did for us on the cross.
Isaiah 53:4-5 is an amazing passage foretelling Jesus’ death on Calvary, and it lists some of the things His death liberated us from: griefs…sorrows…transgressions…and iniquities. And as a result, it says we’ve received access to His peace and healing power as well.
So before moving too quickly to consider all the other ways you need to be released from the devil’s chains, make sure you’ve stopped at the cross to receive your deliverance from guilt and shame. That’s where every other type of liberation begins.
Getting Out of Jail
If you’ve ever played the popular board game, Monopoly, you’ve probably received a “Get Out of Jail Free” card. Instead of trying to pay your way out of jail, that single card was your ticket to instant freedom.
Although many believers don’t realize it, God has given each of us a “Get Out of Jail Free” card. Jesus’ death on the cross makes it possible for us to escape from our prison of sin and death. People may try all sorts of other things to help them overcome their feelings of shame and condemnation, but only Jesus’ blood can truly cleanse our sins and set us free (1 John 1:7).
Friend, if God has forgiven your shortcomings and sins, why should YOU remember them? If the enemy keeps bringing up your painful or sinful past, remember this: The devil is a liar! God’s Word says, “There is therefore now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1)!
On the cross, Jesus bore all your fears, guilt, and shame…so you don’t have to bear them any longer. Once you grasp this truth, you will not only be set free from the “jailhouse” of your past, but also free to move forward in God and experience a new beginning of His favor.
What a blessing to receive God’s “Get Out of Jail Free” card! So toss out any guilt, fear, shame, or condemnation, and come into His presence with praise and worship on your lips.
From cover to cover, the message of the Bible is clear: God loves you and offers you total and complete forgiveness…deliverance from guilt and shame…and everything else as a BONUS!