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Meditations by John Dean

Monday, September 8, 2014

Guilt Free

(James 2:10 NKJV) For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

Far too many Christians walk around today under condemnation because they have either taken this scripture out of context or they have had wrong teaching. As a result, when they do something wrong they feel as though they have broken all the laws of God and that He has turned His back on them.

This type of guilt is often followed up by the statement, “Well, since I am guilty anyway I may as well do everything else wrong.” Many times this radical decision is made after they make one bad “judgment call,” but then it is compounded by adding it to a wrong understanding of this scripture.

Because of this condemning belief I have seen many dedicated Christians fall away from the very thing they believe and commit sins they would otherwise deplore. Even when they do come back to the Lord their testimony has to do with what a sinful wretch they were, but after much prayer and repentance God finally took them back. The problem is, in spite of this wonderful reunion with the Lord many still walk around “guilt ridden,” believing that it is only a matter of time until they break another law and they are out again.

The fact is there is nothing wrong with our text or any of the laws in the Old Testament. The purpose of those laws are to show man that he is incapable of living a righteous life and that he needs a savior. That need was fulfilled when Jesus came as a sacrificial lamb and took our sin and guilt on Himself and nailed them to the cross once and for all.

I suppose everyone has been taught that sin is wrong, but how many were taught the difference between the guilt of the Old Testament and the conviction of the New Testament.

The fact is…man seems to feel better when he is condemned for his sin rather than being loved in spite of it. As far as he is concerned it is incomprehensible that such a love could even exist that would cover his wrong doing. Because of that love, the conviction he feels is only a “love nudge” from the Holy Spirit telling him that if he will repent he will be forgiven.

Jesus did not come to condemn the world…it is Satan who is the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10). The Lord will never call one a failure because in John 12:47 He said, “I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.”

Isaiah speaks of the Lord’s desire to show mercy to us. "Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him" (Isaiah 30:18 NASB).

The other day while I was at Sam’s picking up a few cases of water I noticed several different food stations passing out samples of food. As I went around tasting the different foods I noticed a lady at the end of the line passing out potato chips. She called me over and said, “Try these potato chips because they are the best chips in the world.” She then proceeded to tell me all the things that these chips did not have that would be bad for me to eat. She said, “In other words these potato chips are totally “guilt free.”

I smiled and walked away as I attempted to chew my cardboard tasting potato chip. I eventually spit the potato chip out because it tasted so bad, but her comment of it being “guilt free” continued to resonate in my mind.

Because we live in such a “sin-cursed-guilt-ridden” world I am sure that this lady’s claim brought a measure of relief to some…even if it was on a subliminal level. Perhaps they felt there was at least one thing they could do in life without feeling guilty. This lady’s famous potato chips were the answer.

I have a better answer and that is the realization that Jesus fulfilled the law that wants to kill us by guilt. He replaced that law of certain death with the loving Holy Spirit who convicts us when we do wrong and helps to get us back on track.

Father,
Thank You for such love that You sent Your only begotten Son to meet all the requirements needed for our salvation and to save us from certain death. Help us to show this same love and patience with others who cross our “law line.”

Amen

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