Musings on Guilt, Shame, and Redemption, CCEF Session Four


Notes from Ed Welch’s plenary session at the CCEF National Conference.

Shame is THE human problem. Shame for what we do. Shame for things done to us. BUT the lowly are raised up as they are associated w/ Christ.

The consequences of the cross on shame. Jesus took the humiliation and rejection of shame on the cross. FOR US. For our sin. For the consequences of the sins of others on us.

Paul gave musings on shame in his writings… “I thought I had overcome shame. Pharisee of Pharisees, but Jesus accepted ‘them’.” Jesus took the shame of “those people” and my shame was still present.

The cross was the height of shame. He wasn’t just murdered, but crucified. The royal identifies with us, and crossed boundaries into the cesspool of shame so we can identify w/ Him.

Faith is essentially saying “Help.” My life is now bound up in another.

Paul heaped shame on himself, like Christ, to relate to the shamed. When the right person absorbs shame, it loses power.

Paul expected shame from his enemies. But he received shame from his own church (2 Cor). In ministry, we can be shamed by our own. But that is also sharing in the shame of Christ who was rejected by His own.

Corinthians say, “Prove yourself.” Paul says, “I love you. Love me in return.” Unheard of apart from Christ.

When there are only 2 categories, clean & unclean, the clean can be touched by the unclean and the unclean always wins. But w/ Christ, there’s a 3rd category– HOLY. When the Holy touches the unclean, Holy wins.

Philippi was a culture of reputation. So Paul tells them of a king who empties Himself (Phil 2). Paul also emptied self (3:7). He challenges us to do the same. Become people of no reputation.

The shamed know their neediness, but usually turn inward and isolate, to cover, to hide. In Christ we can turn to Him and say “help.” He becomes our covering.

Our biography is no longer our own reputation, but our association with Christ. This is how we are to see other believers, through the glory and holiness of Christ.

As a holy one, touch the shamed, bring them in. Love them as Christ. Invite them to dinner. Hug them if needed. Be people of hope.

What about Peter? Denied Christ, knower of shame. What does he say of those in Christ? 1 Peter 2:9-10.

9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Be blessed, chosen ones.

Now and Not Yet


“…for we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

Some days, the clear vision of the “not yet” is blurred by the glaring reality of the “now”. Like the majesty of a distant mountain range blocked from view by your own hand, it can be difficult to maintain an eternal perspective when the temporal is so large in our view.

The Christian life is a walk, a way of life. Much like a journey through the woods, our walk is full of ups and downs, beautiful scenery and arduous treks. There are times, in the middle of those uphill climbs, that it’s hard to remember the end goal and it’s easier to stop the journey and just head back down the hill.

That’s why Paul reminds us in that phrase in 2 Corinthians that we walk based upon what we believe, not what we see. Sometimes all we can see is the here and now, the circumstances that are crowding around us, the situation that never seems to change, the pressure or pain from which we feel we will never get relief.

As believers, we know that there is hope beyond the here and now, but how do we move past the feelings to the faith? What do you do when the circumstances of life blur your vision so that you can’t see the eternal perspective? How do you remind yourself to walk by faith when you can’t trust what you see?