Tag Archives: Guilt

A Small Thought on Grace by Wayne Augden

Sometimes we forget what’s important, and sometimes we fail to realize the importance of what we know.  Sometimes, we know and yet we fail to live out what we know, and there are times when we fail to understand things we experience every day.  Such is the case with grace.  Grace is simply this, undeserved merit, being loved and forgiven when we aren’t deserving or worthy of either one.

Grace cannot be earned!  Being good, following rules, doesn’t get it.  The only thing that gets grace is the willingness to receive it.  For so many including myself that’s the hard part.  That’s the struggle.

I struggle with a lot of things, and I’ve often felt guilty over the fact that I struggle, and yet it’s often in the act of struggling that we learn the value of what it is we want and what we have.

It’s also how we learn to recognize what it is, and what it isn’t.

Grace is free for the taking, but it isn’t cheap…and when you have it, you have no choice but to give it away.

From “Zion’s Wayfarer” by Joseph Philpot

“The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” _53:6

What heart can conceive, what tongue express what the holy soul of Christ endured when “the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all?” In the garden of Gethsemane, what a load of guilt, what a weight of sin, what an intolerable burden of the wrath of God did that sacred humanity endure, until the pressure of sorrow and woe forced the drops of blood to fall as sweat from his brow. The human nature in its weakness recoiled, as it were, from the cup of anguish put into his hand. His body could scarcely bear the load that pressed him down; his soul, under the waves and billows of God’s wrath, sank in deep mire where there was no standing, and came into deep waters where the floods overflowed him (_69:1; _69:2).

And how could it be otherwise when that sacred humanity was enduring all the wrath of God, suffering the very pangs of hell, and wading in all the depths of guilt and terror? When the blessed Lord was made sin (or a sin-offering) for us, he endured in his holy soul all the pangs of distress, horror, alarm, misery, and guilt that the elect would have felt in hell forever; and not only as any one of them would have felt, but as the collective whole would have experienced under the outpouring of the everlasting wrath of God. The anguish, the distress, the darkness, the condemnation, the shame, the guilt, the unutterable horror, that any or all of his quickened family have ever experienced under a sense of God’s wrath, the curse of the law, and the terrors of hell, are only faint, feeble reflections of what the Lord felt in the garden and on the cross; for there were attendant circumstances in his case which are not, and indeed cannot be in theirs, and which made the distress and agony of his holy soul, both in nature and degree, such as none but he could feel or know.

He as the eternal Son of God, who had lain in his bosom before all worlds, had known all the blessedness and happiness of the love and favor of the Father, his own Father, shining upon him, for he was “by him as one brought up with him, and was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him” (_8:30). When, then, instead of love he felt his displeasure, instead of the beams of his favor he experienced the frowns and terrors of his wrath, instead of the light of his countenance he tasted the darkness and gloom of desertion–what heart can conceive, what tongue express the bitter anguish which must have wrung the soul of our suffering Surety under this agonizing experience?

 

From “Zion’s Wayfarer” by Joseph Philpot

“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus–whom God has set forth to be an atoning sacrifice through faith in his blood.” Romans 3:24; _3:25

Before we can have faith in Christ’s atoning blood, we must see the glory of the Person of the Lord of life. “We beheld his glory,” said John, speaking of himself and the other favored disciples, “we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” May I ask you a question, you who profess to know these things? Were your eyes ever anointed to behold the glory of Jesus? Did faith ever contemplate, did hope ever anchor in, did love ever flow forth to the glorious Person of Immanuel? Was he ever precious to your souls? ever “altogether lovely” in your eyes? so that you could say, “Whom have I in heaven but you? and there is none upon earth I desire beside you?”

Now, if you have seen his Person by the eye of faith, you have had faith flowing out of your soul to his atoning blood; for his atoning blood derives all its value, all its validity, and all its efficacy from its being the blood of that glorious Person. Upon that atoning blood we then view infinite dignity stamped. We then view it as the blood of Him who was God-man; and we then see the dignity, immensity, and glory of the Godhead of Jesus, stamped upon the sufferings and blood that flowed from his pure manhood. When we see that by the eye of faith, what a rich stream does it become! What a fountain opened for sin and uncleanness! What value is stamped upon it to purge and cleanse a guilty conscience!

Now, when this is known and felt, the soul is justified. Justification passes over from the mind of God into the bosom of the sinner. He never really was, in the mind of God, in an unjustified state; but he was in his own conscience, and he was as touching the law, and he was as regards his standing as a sinner before the eyes of a holy Jehovah. But the moment he is enabled, by living faith, to touch and take hold of the atoning blood of the Lamb of God, justification passes over into his soul, and he becomes freely justified, pardoned and accepted, through the blood of sprinkling upon his conscience; and he stands before God whiter and brighter than snow, for “the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin.”

 

From “The Word For You Today” by Bruce Christian

SEEK RECONCILIATION

Sometimes the only way to get over your hurt feelings is to seek reconciliation.  And if you are willing, God will help you do it.  George Elliot wrote: “Oh, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.”  A college teacher who was teaching on the high cost of unforgiveness asked each of her students to bring a sack of potatoes to class.  For each person they refused to forgive, they had to select a potato and write the date on it beside that person’s name.  Then for a month, without fail, they had to carry that sack of potatoes with them wherever they went.  After lugging those sacks around for a while each student began to recognize how much weight they were carrying; the amount of energy it took to focus on their bag; and that they had to be careful not to leave it in the wrong place.  Eventually, as the potatoes began to rot and stink, they realized that getting rid of them was the only smart thing to do.  Jesus said, “If you forgive someone’s sins, they’re gone for good.  If you don’t…what are you going to do with them?” (Jn 20:23 TM).  Good question!  How would you like God to forgive you in the same way you forgive others?  If that thought makes you uncomfortable, do something about it!

A Thought on Suffering

     If there’s oe thing I know, it’s that suffering in one form or another is a universal experience.  We’ve all had to deal with it at one time or another.  No one escapes.  As someone who has lived with chronic pain for years, I understand the effects of living with pain on the mind and the body.  I can tell you that I’ve had many a sleepless night pondering the question of “Why.”  I’ve learned through that experience that asking “why” can take you down a long road and to a lot of different places, but ultimately it leads to a dead-end.  

     For myself, I know that a part of what I’m living through is a consequence of something I did.  Actions have consequences.  That’s the painful, ugly truth, and not admitting it doesn’t make it any less true.  Am I saying that all my suffering is a result of bad decision-making?  No.  Nor is anyone’s.  I can tell you that asking the question of  “why” only exacerbates and prolongs what is already painful.  Every answer to “why” invariably leads down the road of blame where the passengers of anger, guilt, and shame climb in the cab with us.  Often asking the question of “why” can trap us in a quagmire of  paralyzing emotion.

     That’s not to say that asking the question of “why” isn’t important and even necessary.  I don’t think there’s anyone who hasn’t ever asked the question, and I think it’s important to do so.  It’s so easy when suffering to get caught up in thinking that it’s our fault, that we either did or didn’t do something; if we’d only done that instead of this.  “What did I do?”, “Am I so bad?”, “I don’t deserve this.”  Trust me when I tell you that I’ve gone through the gamut of emotions and questions.

     I don’t have all the answers, but let me tell you some things that have helped me.  The first is it’s okay to ask “why.”  I believe God is big enough to handle the question.  I believe it’s all right to say “this sucks,” and “I don’t like it.”  I think God is big enough to handle our anger, pain, and frustration.  I think to deny what we feel is to deny our humanity, but even more than that I believe that God desires for us to come to Him with these things.  I don’t believe that my suffering with pain is God’s way of saying, “I’m going to get you.  I’m going to make you pay.”  I don’t believe God in Heaven is up there just waiting to pick people off. 

     If that were the case, why did He send His son to die for our sins?  Why take our guilt and shame upon himself?  If God were to do such things and to treat people in that way where would His justice, mercy, and compassion be?  The reason why Jesus died was to put an end to our suffering, our guilt and shame, and even death itself. 

     I don’t pretend to know or have all the answers.  I’m not going to try to explain God or why He does what He does, or allows what He allows.  I don’t know, and neither will you.  There are some questions we will never know the answer to in this life, and that’s all there is to it.   The thing that gives me hope, the reason I have faith is that God has revealed Himself to me in His work in and through my life.  I have experienced His love and grace firsthand.  I know where I was, I know where I am now, and I know where I will be, and I know He walks with me every step of the way.