Sharing the Word: No Room for Guilt
By HARRY MARTINEZ
There are times in our lives when we take inventory and recognize that certain things are no longer needed or not in our best interest to retain. In the spiritual realm, that inventory should be taken often as we examine our life by the standard of the Word of God. Too often, Christians are plagued with guilt from offenses committed long in the past. Psychiatrists tell us that most of their cases involve guilt- induced illnesses. God has a wonderful remedy to spare us from the ravages of guilt. The Scriptures tell us that Christ bore our guilt and shame on the Cross, those sins that we have committed and will commit in life. Isaiah tells us that … “Surely our griefs He Himself bore and our sorrows He carried” (Isaiah 53:4). Therefore, when we accept by faith what Christ did for us on the Cross, we should not attempt to carry that which has already been removed by Him. Now that we have relationship with God by faith in Christ, He provides the means for us to maintain fellowship with Him, moment by moment. That requires for God to provide the grace means of cleansing and forgiveness for sins we commit in our daily lives. Again the Scriptures in both the Old and New Testaments tell us of the remedy which permits us to have that fellowship with our Lord and be free from guilt. The Psalmist stated … “I acknowledged my sin to Thee and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD, and Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin” (Psalm 32:5). The Apostle John stated the same Truth in his first epistle … “If we confess our sins, (known sins) He (God) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wrong doing (unknown sins)” (I John 1:9). Therefore we can conclude that God desires for us who have believed in His Son to be free from the guilt that weighs down and disturbs our peace with Him. We must accept by faith what God has said in His Word concerning our past sins and failures. Just as God promised Israel national forgiveness when she returns to Him, His promise applies to believers in the Church Age when He says “for I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Jer 31:34 NIV). Though wayward and rebellious against God, Israel knew that “You [God] will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea” (Mic 7:19). David declared God’s promise to all believers … “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Ps 103:12). As Christians we need to keep short accounts with God, quickly admitting to Him that which is wrong, claiming the forgiveness that was accomplished on the Cross. That restoration to fellowship places us in a position to move forward in our spiritual lives. Paul described his own spiritual recovery … “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it (spiritual maturity). But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:13-14 NIV). The Apostle Peter issued the challenge to “grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord” (II Peter 3:18). It is possible for each of us to have an effective Christ-centered life, for God the Holy Spirit provides the necessary power and the needed instruction in the Scriptures.