Guilt produces a fear of God whom we know we have offended, and a fear of the punishment we instinctively know we deserve. There is only one way to lift this depressing sense of guilt and fear. It is through justification by faith in the redemptive work of Christ on the cross. In the epistle to the Romans, Paul deals directly with the question of our guilt and God's answer to it. There we read that all the world is guilty, but God provides the means for our justification: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus - that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Rom. 3:23-24, 26).
In that same epistle, we also read of the results of that justification: "Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ - And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation" (Rom. 5:1, 11). God's way not only lifts the depressing load of guilt but also gives us a consciousness of God's love that produces joy.
The guilt that once made us tremble at the thought of judgment now becomes the means by which we measure the love of God, who did not spare His own Son but delivered Him up for us. The memory of our guilt, becomes a wellspring of thanksgiving to God who redeemed us and justified us.
How can a guilty soul have peace with a holy God? The only answer is through the blood of the cross: "Without shedding of blood there is no remission" for sin (Heb. 9:22). On the cross, Christ was made an offering for all our sins, and He bore the punishment due our sins (Isa. 53:4-6, 10). This suffering and death of Christ are the only grounds upon which a righteous God and a guilty creature can be at peace.
EC Hadley Stem Publishing
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