About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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The Meaning Of Guilt


I appreciate my Evangelical roots, that is, except for some of the guilt laden sermons I heard as a youth.  Those sermons left me with the impression that I was saved by faith and not by works, but, in order to stay saved I needed sufficient good works recorded in the heavenly record.  This, along with the notion that any little sin could doom me to hell caused me to live in fear of losing my salvation.  A nagging uncertainly concerning my salvation inflicted me with what I called guilty feelings.  These feelings prevented me from freely serving Jesus from a heart of love for my Saviour.  It wasn't until I was 19 years old, in February 1970, that Jesus blasted these feelings out of my system for good.  Not one faint hint of these feelings has ever returned.


I've come to understand that guilt is not a feeling.  In legal terms it's a designation placed on a convicted person by a judge.  Whether the person feels guilty or not is irrelevant.  In Biblical terms guilt is the designation placed on every person who has not accepted God's pardon and His declaration of innocence.  Guilt is the position in which we stand before God, the Judge of all things.  One is either guilty or innocent, no matter how he feels. 


I stand before God free from the designation of guilt.  I am innocent of any and all charges of which I've been rightly convicted.  Every sin I've ever committed or ever will commit has been erased from the divine record.  Jesus' name has replaced my name in God's list of offenders.  The moment I understood this was the moment I was released from the feelings associated with guilt that plagued me and prevented me from freely serving Jesus.  Fear of eternal damnation was banished for good.  The Apostle John was right when he said there is no fear in true love (1 John 4:18).              


The Apostle Paul understood these things.  He admitted to the presence if his sinful nature as seen in Roman 7.  "I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin (verse 14).  What I hate I do (verse 15).  What a wretched man I am (verse 24)."  After this admission you might think Paul would have been buried in a pit of despair, riddled with guilt and grief, but he wasn't.  He proclaimed his innocence.  "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1)."  Paul stood before the Judge of all things free from the designation of guilt.  He was innocent, despite his sinful nature.  He could freely serve and love the One who had acquitted him of sin and granted his pardon.    


Like Paul, I am in Christ.  The designation of guilt has been lifted from my life.  I no longer have any feelings associated with guilt.  I can freely serve Jesus from my heart without fear.  Despite my sinful nature God views me as being without sin, even as Jesus Himself is without sin.  Understanding how God views our sinful nature, I conclude that this is the ultimate miracle.  I have no other logical choice but to agree with Paul.  "Thanks be to God, through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 7:25)."  


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