WHAT IS LIFE’s PRIMARY QUESTION?
"Does God exist?" What is the answer? YES!
God exists and He is greater, better, more beautiful than we ever dared hope.
WHAT IS LIFE’s PRIMARY PROBLEM?
Distance from, distrust of, rebellion against the same good God.
Relational discord. Violence. Abuse. Despair. Decay. Death. These are all symptoms of this cancer called “sin” that plagues us all.
Every person, everywhere, struggles with guilt. Even if people do not recognize God’s existence or God’s Law, every person alive still experiences the gnawing, soul-numbing emptiness of their guilt. The reality of guilt in every human heart across the globe should point us to the reality of a moral, personal God.
While guilt’s reality is not always evident to people, many of our decisions will be a reaction to guilt’s presence in our life. We try to numb the guilt with drunkenness/drugs/sexual sin/partying. We try to run from the guilt with busyness and constant distractions. We blame others for our guilt, placing us in a state of perpetual victimhood without ever knowing true victory.
Job 4:17 asks the fundamental question…
Can mortal man be in the right before God? Can a man be pure before his maker?
Sin has created a chasm between a Holy God and unholy people that cannot be crossed by our own efforts. No amount of good deeds can erase our guilt and give us the ability to stand in God’s perfect, resplendent presence. We needed God to bring us to God. Enter Jesus Christ.
JAMES 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.
GALATIANS 3:10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.
ROMANS 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The way to turn over a NEW LEAF is to turn from the FIG LEAF, and put your trust in the cross of Jesus Christ.
Our first parents, Adam and Eve, tried to hide their guilt and their shame by covering themselves in fig leaves (Genesis 2-3). We might think this is strange today, but we try to cover our shame with a fake, happy persona. We try to cover our shame with designer clothes and fancy jewelry. We try to cover our shame with success and the praises of people. We even try to cover our shame through shallow, empty religious rituals! Nothing seems to work though. We still can’t shake our guilt or be free from our shame.
2 CORINTHIANS 7:10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.
Guilt is an excellent warning light that says something is wrong. Perhaps we feel guilty because we are guilty! The good news is there is freedom from guilt’s crushing weight. Confess your sin to God, then believe Him and then praise Him.
EPHESIANS 2:3-5 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
ROMANS 8:1-3 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.
1 CORINTHIANS 1:4,8 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus… as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
AUTHOR JERRY BRIDGES: We are not nearly as vigorous in appropriating God’s forgiveness as He is in extending it. Consequently, instead of living in the sunshine of God’s forgiveness through Christ, we tend to live under an overcast sky of guilt most of the time. This is not make-believe. You are indeed guilty in yourself, but God no longer regards you as guilty, because the guilt of your sin has already been borne by Christ as your substitute. The sentence has been served. The penalty has been paid.
#1 The Holy Spirit convicts, Satan condemns. God will convict us of the sin, Satan wants to lie to us and condemn who we are. God’s conviction leads to healing, Satan’s condemnation leads to hopelessness.
When Satan reminds you of your past, remind him of his future! The Cross of Christ has defeated him finally and forever. The only power Satan has over the Christian is if we believe his lies.
#2 The freedom of self-forgetfulness. Guilt can be, unexpectedly and ironically, a sign of rampant of self-centeredness. If Jesus died for our sin and the Bible says we are forgiven, when we dwell on our guilt we are calling God a liar. If we continue to let our guilt strangulate our joy in Jesus and suffocate God’s grace, we need to repent. We need to stop wallowing in our sin and start worshipping our good God! Look to heaven! Serve others! Make restitution if needed, then move on. God does not dwell on our sins and nor should we.
Someone once said, “I want to be the person who my dog thinks I am.” Dogs seem to love unconditionally because they forget events within twenty minutes, but they never forget their master. Let us never forget our master is no longer sin, but our master is the Lord Jesus Christ and He has pardoned us.
PSALM 103:11-12 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is God’s steadfast love toward those who fear him, as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us.
ROMANS 6:17-18 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
More in Pastor Chris: In Christ Alone
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