Posted by Rev. Jeff Dixon, Senior Equipping Minister at Covenant Community Church on Jan 2, 2002, 12:52
A Sunday school teacher was teaching about forgiveness. As she wrapped up she wanted to review what they had covered. “Now what must you do to get forgiveness?” she asked. The answer came from the back of the room, “Sin!”
In the cartoon, Dennis the Menace dropped to his knees beside his bed and began his prayer, “OK God. . I’m turning myself in”
We can relate to that. Maybe you are feeling guilty right now. It can come from many different places, but we have all felt it. Guilt. . .what do you do with it ? Ignore it? Bury it? Is there any hope, how can we handle the guilt that we feel at times?
Well, if you have ever felt guilty there is good news in God’s word. It can be found in Hebrews 10:1-18. Let’s take a look at our guilt in light of that passage.
First I want you to notice that Guilt is defeated by the Reality of Forgiveness (v.5-7) Therefore when Jesus came into the world, he said, Sacrifice and offering you did not desire. . .but a body you prepared for me with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased.. . . .Then I said, Here I am-it is written about me in the Scroll-I have come to do your will O God.
There is a sign on a convent in Southern California that reads:
“Absolutely no trespassing. Violators will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law”
Signed “The Sisters of Mercy”
Ouch! There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of forgiveness communicated there. But here is the lesson: If you are going to be free from your guilt it only happens one way. . .through Jesus. He is the only place to find real forgiveness.
I was thinking about this recently. If I need something to drink, and I see a PowerAde commercial, it may make me think about how refreshing that drink might be. I can even imagine how it would feel to take a deep drink, but in the end, I will still need a drink. You understand why. Because what I saw on TV was just a picture (I have to go to the refrigerator). It is the same way with forgiveness. I can imagine what it would be like to be free, but until I go to the one place to get forgiveness, all it is is a dream. He bought your forgiveness and freedom at a very high price. It is yours for the taking, it is real, it will last. . . You don’t have to be guilty anymore. Guilt is defeated by the reality of forgiveness.
Now that is enough, but there is more. Guilt is decayed by the Reliability of Forgiveness (v.12) But when this priest offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.
You are forgiven and that is a FACT. The one in Authority, Jesus Christ said it was so. No data, no situation, no decree, no tragedy can ever change it.
There was a doctor in a mining town who had many patients who could not pay their bills. When they could not pay the doctor wrote “cancelled” beside their debts in his books. Years later when the physician died, his widow tried to collect those debts by taking the debtors to court. The court ruled that when the doctor said the debt was cancelled, it is cancelled and could never be claimed again
The KING has cancelled your debt. You are forgiven. When you realize the debt is really paid, the guilt you carry should begin to decay. Jesus thought you were valuable enough to forgive. That should make you feel good about yourself, and even better about God.
Now hang on, we aren’t done yet, there is even more to remember here. Guilt is destroyed by the Reach of Forgiveness (v.10) And by that will, we have been made holy, through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all.
...once and for all. That makes it a done deal! Jesus has forgiven you everything that you have ever done, ever will do. He takes them (sins) as far as the east is form the west and dumps them out of sight in the deepest ocean and posts a “no fishing” sign. We can’t keep going fishing. They are buried in the deepest sea to be seen no more! We are forgiven for our past, and that is something we need to thank him for. We are forgiven in the future, and that should change the way we live forever. There is nothing to be guilty of.
I know you are thinking, well does that mean that I can do anything that I want and know that I am already forgiven? Yes, that is what it means! In that case, I am going to go out and right now, really sin, since it is forgiven anyway! You can do that. But if you do, you haven’t really understood it yet. So pay attention! It comes down to the motivation of love. I don’t try to be obedient because He will THROTTLE me if I am not. I am obedient because He didn’t throttle me when I needed it. That is important and vital to understand. I try to be obedient because of His love not because of His judgment. Guilt is destroyed because once and for all Christ took care of.
Alright, now that is plenty to ponder on, but also notice: Guilt is deleted by the Reminder of Forgiveness (v.17) Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.
You may be on a guilt trip, I want you to think for a moment about the most horrible sin you have ever committed. Think about what would happen if it were written on a billboard or became known to the world. YIKES! Awful, huh?
Now take it in all of it’s blackness and hold it before the light of Christ and His love. Do you really think it is so bad he can’t cover it and handle it? You are a big sinner, no doubt. He is a Greater God, no worries! You don’t have to be guilty anymore, it is deleted, gone, done. . .forever, AMEN.
In the book Sources of Strength by Jimmy Carter he writes, “I had just been inaugurated, walked down Pennsylvania Avenue, reviewed the parade with my family, and now for the first time we were walking together toward the White House. Eager news reporters with cameras surrounded and recorded the entire scene. The press secretary said, “Don’t stop to answer questions.”
As per normal, Mama (Miss Lillian) ignored him and stopped to talk with the press the entire length of the journey.
One reporter asked, “Miss Lillian, aren’t you proud of your son?”
She replied, “Which one? Billy or Jimmy, I am proud of both”
Miss Lillian, had to love a lot, forgive a lot and deal with the boys differently, but she loved them both. She loved and forgave unconditionally. That is how God sees you. While others might want to keep track of what you have or haven’t done or, God does not. You don’t have to feel guilty.
How do I know? Jesus says so.. Relax, don’t be guilty, and keep loving Him.
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