Tag Archive for: guilt

Devotion - guilt - fresh start

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

New and Improved

Sometimes you see that little stamp on a product via a new marketing campaign to try to sell the product.

Some years back Coca Cola came out with a “new and improved” version of Coke. It went over about as well as a led zeppelin (and not the band!) Coke soon went back to it’s “original version” of this beverage and the new and improved version was shelved-literally!

When it comes to people there is a refreshing and vital change that comes to each of us as Christians through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. That is what the great Apostle Paul is referring to in the passage above. Paul would know.

Paul himself would need to take advantage of God’s gracious “sinner protection program” in which he would pick up a new identity (and a new name!) through faith in Jesus. Saul (his former name) who caused many Christians to go into hiding, because of his relentless persecution of the Christian Church would himself be found by Jesus and granted a “brand new start” by grace.

This is good news for us who have committed the same old, same old sins (cf. Galatians 5:19ff) and thus deserved the same old, same old punishment: Eternal condemnation in hell!!! Now, because we have “passed away with Christ” (cf. Romans 6:8) we will pass over to a new existence-to live with Jesus forever in glory. What a glorious and welcome change!

Because we are “new” through the renewing and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, the healthy changes that are needed in our lives are limitless. In fact, we have access to a “host” of spiritual gifts that the Spirit of God works in us: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22ff)

New and improved (made perfect even!)-through faith in Christ. Now that is a refreshing change!

Prayer

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for all that you have done for me-so that, through faith in you, I could have a fresh start. Help me daily to live for you by dying to sin until that day that I pass away/pass over-to live with you forever in glory. In your name I humbly and thankfully pray.Amen.

Spanish version: En Español

forgiven Child

I remember when I was young, and I did something terrible.  I stole a piece of candy from the local drug store.  I wasn’t very smart in my thievery, though.  As soon as we were in the car, I sat in the back seat and began to enjoy my ill-gotten booty. That’s when my mother caught me.

Immediately, she turned the car around, marched me into the store, called for the store manager, made me apologize, and pay for the candy. Oh!  The guilt! I remember feeling red hot and exposed and weighed down by a burden of wrong.  And all that for a piece of “Bit O; Honey!” Yuck!

Guilt is a feeling of deep regret and responsibility for some action.  Now, there is real guilt and there is felt guilt.  Real guilt is the kind Adam felt in Genesis 3.  Adam was led to realize that his doubt and disobedience had broken the bond he shared with the LORD God. He knew that God’s penetrating gaze would see through to his guilt and failure.  When God confronted Adam with his sin, he refused to accept responsibility and tried to excuse himself by blaming Eve.  That’s when the “blame game” began.

Adam and Eve had real guilt.  They had broken a moral principle or law which the LORD God had established.  There is a difference between being guilty and feeling guilty, however.  Sometimes, people get blamed or punished for things they didn’t do.  This can lead to feelings of worthlessness.

We learn something from how the Lord dealt with Adam and Eve.  It is important that people verbalize their feelings of guilt, whether real or felt.  This is often the first step to the healing of forgiveness.  The real guilt we feel, which is triggered by the Holy Spirit, leads to an honest admission of guilt (we call that “Confession”) as well as to hear the promise of forgiveness (we call that “Absolution”).

Real guilt leads to repentance and restoration.  False guilt leads to regret and failed expectations.  Either way, guilt feels like a hot flame that exposes and a heavy burden that crushes.  God is not a burden, though. He is the burden-bearer. There is a Bible passage that reminds us of this truth:

 

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Psalm 68:19

God, our heavenly Father, placed our sins on Jesus Christ at Calvary.  He quenched the flame that exposes and he removed the burden that crushes. Our risen Savior daily calls us to cast our burdens on him because he cares for us (Matthew 11:28-30).

The Lord is gracious and loving. The commandments that he gave were designed to keep us safe and free to love him.  That means we must be free from the burdens of guilt.  And we are!  Even when we mess up, there is no condemnation for those who trust in Christ (Romans 8:1). That means God continues to forgive our sin and “wipes out [our] transgressions,” remembering them no more (Isaiah 43:25).

We may have to live with consequences of our choices, but never with the weight of guilt.  We can find the ability to turn off the mental voice recorder of Satan who tries to accuse us.  Jesus said, “It is finished!” (John 19:30) That means Satan’s accusations of guilt (real or felt) are cancelled.  Jesus says so.

It might help to have a “guilt bucket.”  Every time you feel guilt sneaking up on you, write that feeling on a piece of paper and throw it in the bucket as if to bury it in Easter’s empty tomb.  This is especially helpful for people dealing with felt guilt.  Forgiveness means freedom.  And freedom from guilt means we can live anew for Christ.  Freedom from guilt means we are free to show kindness to others.  We are freed to practice forgiveness in our relationships.  This helps us move past the powerful feelings of guilt.

And guilt is powerful.  The Lord God uses it to show us where we have gone astray and need to be honest with him in forgiveness.  On the other hand, guilt can be a prison that locks us away from the joy of forgiveness we have in Christ.  Know the difference.  Know that you are freely and fully forgiven in Christ.  That’s because God declares us to be forgiven children in his Son, Jesus. That is God’s promises whether we feel it or not.

 

Prayer

Lord, sometimes I am embarrassed to admit my sins and mistakes.  Yet you know me as I really am. You know my sinfulness. Even more important, you know me as your forgiven child in Christ Jesus, your Son.  Assure me that I am forgiven and loved by you.  Amen.