Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
The burden of personal moral failures plagues every person on the planet and the Lord Jesus offers us relief. The religious leaders of the Jews piled one regulation on top of another and many misunderstood the intent of the Mosaic Law. Instead of being a way of obedience based on acceptance by the grace of God, it became a way of personal performance so that one might merit salvation, thereby bypassing the grace of God. The people were burdened by these teachings and the social pressure to enforce them and were weary of trying and failing and trying again and failing again. Is there any way we can be accepted by God other than through our own personal efforts at righteous living?
This is an essential question to ask for we each slip up in one way or another, and we do so regularly. But even if we were able to completely stop doing wrong things, would that change our history? Deciding to not do bad things anymore does not change the bad things we have already done. Trying to commend ourselves to God through personal righteousness is a wearisome burden because we can never completely fulfill the requirement.
The solution for all of this is found in the invitation of Christ. He invites us to bring the burden of our sin, the weariness we feel for our moral failures, to Him. He paid the price on the cross and He sets us free from all accusation. We come to Him through faith, believing that He hears us when we pray, and accepting the simple gospel message that He forgives and cleanses us from sin.
Either Christ does this or He does not, but He said that He does it and I am taking His word for it. And you can do it as well. This is what He meant by coming to Him. Saving faith is the belief that Christ has paid the penalty for our sin and that we desperately need the forgiveness He offers. We feel the burden of our sin, the load of guilt, the weight of our shame. There are acts we have performed and words we have said, and thought we have entertained that we would not want to take with us into eternity, not even into the next hour. Christ invites us to come to Him with all of these loads and lay them down at His feet and then through faith to consider that the transaction is completed. All He requests is that we come to Him in repentance, in genuine faith and He will accept us.
Years ago after finishing college I struggled for months with personal guilt over some matters of moral failure. After a time of prayer and fasting I finally came to the position to believe the Bible, that Christ does cleanse us from all sin. Claiming this offer in faith lifted this great burden from my shoulders and from my heart and delivered me into the freedom of the light burden of grace that Christ spoke of. This is the privilege of grace, to live unburdened by our sin and to rejoice in the forgiveness of God through Christ.
Lord, we bring to You our sins, let us hold nothing back but confess them all plainly as Your Spirit convicts us. Let us also embrace the forgiveness You give. Take the burden of our shame and guilt away and let us live in the reality of the grace and life You give. Amen.