Grace is greater than guilt
Saturday of Holy Week has a lesson of hope for us. Let’s explore this great hope and how we can walk in complete freedom from guilt and shame.
Is guilt from your past part of your life today? Do you still feel shame over sins you’ve confessed? Are you carrying a silent burden of mistakes and failures you’re glad no one knows?
I know the feeling. Here’s the good news: today, Saturday of Holy Week, has a lesson of hope for us. So let’s explore this great hope and how we can walk in complete freedom from guilt and shame.
“Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered”Psalm 32:1
We know from 1 John 1:9 that “if we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” We know that he then separates our sins “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12), casts them “into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19), and “remembers your sins no more” (Isaiah 43:25 NIV).
Then why do we often feel guilt over what God has already forgiven?
Here’s part of the problem: We don’t like owing anyone, even God. We’d much rather have someone in our debt than be in theirs. And on top of that, we inherently feel that debts must be paid and wrongs put right.
Because of that, if God won’t punish us for our sins, we may feel the need to punish ourselves until we feel somehow that we’ve paid our debt and we no longer owe God for his forgiveness. But this grieves our Father and damages our souls.
What’s the answer?
Tomorrow, we’ll celebrate Easter, when Jesus rose from the dead, proving that he is the divine Son of God and that his death truly did pay for our sins, purchase our salvation, and provide our eternal life. However, on this day in Holy Week, his body was still in the grave. We were without the hope of his grace. We were still trapped by our sins.
The key for each of us is to make every day, even the Saturday before Easter, Resurrection Day. The key is to meet with the risen Lord Jesus daily, give him our mistakes and failures, and receive his grace in response.
Then, when guilt attacks, we can say to it, “I have confessed that sin, my Lord has forgiven me by his grace, and grace is greater than guilt.” Your guilt may come back again, and you’ll have to say again, “Grace is greater than guilt.” You may have to do this a hundred times today and ninety times tomorrow. But eventually your guilt will leave and you will be free.
First John 3:19–20 says, “By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.”
It’s a fact that can change our lives: grace is greater than guilt.
Today's Devotional was written by Jim Denison
1. Are you struggling with guilt today? Name your guilt, specifically and honestly. What sin leads to that feeling of guilt? Name that as well and ask Jesus for forgiveness for it. If you’ve already confessed this sin, thank Jesus for forgiving it.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
2. Examine the motives behind guilt in your life. Are you unwilling to be in God’s debt? Are you seeking to justify yourself or earn God’s favor? If so, admit this to your Lord and to yourself and receive the grace that frees your soul.
“Sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:14).
3. Thank your Father for the blessing of his forgiveness. Ask his Spirit to help you see yourself as God sees you. And pray for the grace to forgive yourself as you are forgiven.
“Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered” (Psalm 32:1).
Our consumerist culture is built on performance and popularity. We are measured by what we do or what we fail to do.
Because of that, every person you know who has not experienced the grace of God is struggling with the guilt of their sins and shortcomings. Perhaps they need to experience your forgiveness to believe in God’s forgiveness. Or perhaps they simply need to know what you know: that grace is greater than guilt.
Whom will you share this liberating hope with today?
Extended reading: Psalm 32
Perhaps those around you need to experience your forgiveness to believe in God’s forgiveness. Or perhaps they simply need to know what you know: that grace is greater than guilt. Whom will you share this liberating hope with today?