No Guilt In Life…

GuiltyInnocentLately I have been finding myself struggling with guilt, specifically guilt over my seemingly growing inability to stop committing the same sins over and over again.  I look at a passage like Romans 15:1-3, which states that,

“We must not just please ourselves.  We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord.  For even Christ didn’t live to please himself,”

-Romans 15:1-3

… and feel like a failure, especially being part of a privileged society where it is so easy to fall into the trap of living for oneself.  Now this guilt isn’t in and of itself a bad thing.  After all, Jesus himself said that He would send us the holy spirit and that,

“When He (the holy spirit) comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.”

-John 16:8

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So then wherein lies the problem with guilt?  The answer is simple, really.  We have the choice to let our guilt lead us to repent and seek the forgiveness of God, or we can let it distract us and lead us away from our Maker.  The apostle Paul puts it much more eloquently in his second letter to the Corinthian church when he says,

“As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.”

-2 Corinthians 7:9-10

I’ll admit that I am very good at letting my guilt distract me and lead me into further sin as I try to ease those unpleasant feelings with worldly things such as TV and shopping, making excuses like, “Well, I have had a hard year so I deserve this,” rather than turning to God and filling myself with His truth, especially with a passage such as Romans 8:1-2, which tells us that,

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For in Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”

-Romans 8:1-2

The psalmist also tells us that,

“The Lord is good and does what is right; He shows the proper path to those who go astray.”

-Psalm 25:8

In fact, this Psalm was written by King David, no stranger to sin himself, yet he was called a man after God’s own heart and was forgiven by God even after he had a man killed just so he could have his wife.  You see, friends, what David learned about God and what we can take comfort in is His unfailing and consistent character.  If He promises that He will direct us when we go astray, than we can trust Him to do it.  And when we confess our sin, we can be confident that,

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

-Psalm 103:12

This is good news for sinners like me who need a lot of grace and forgiveness!  So going forward I am committing to giving not only myself but my fellow brothers, sisters, and neighbours around me the grace and forgiveness that God extends to me.  It may not be easy, but I invite you to join me.  I’ll end with some words from one of my favourite hymns “In Christ Alone.”

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.

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