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Monday: Guilt Free — 23 Comments

  1. Christians have a bit of an enigma when it comes to guilt. On the one hand it is valuable when our conscience kicks in and tells us that we have got it wrong! Its a bit like a stomach ache when we have eat too much, or the wrong sort of food. Hopefully we learn from the experience. On the other hand, when we carry guilt long after we have been forgiven then that sort of guilt ultimately blows your mind. Related to the second form of guilt is the notion that if we are not feeling guilty about something it is because we are not looking hard enough for sin in our lives.

    I think this is, at least partly, what Paul is trying to deal with in Romans 7. He feels guilt because of the conflict that goes on in his mind about overcoming sin. It you stop reading at the end of Chapter 7 you have a pretty woeful picture of the Christian life. Fortunately, the chapter break is not inspired and if you turn the page to Chapter 8, you get the hope that should fill the Christian's heart:

    There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. Rom 8:1,2 KJV

    That is more than just nice sounding words; it is a pattern for living.

    There is another kind of guilt that I must mention here and that is the guilt associated with clinical depression. I mention this because my own family had to deal with this. My father, in his old age, became clinically depressed and was plagued with strong feelings of guilt and unworthiness. Circumstances at the time led him into depression and he had to accept medical treatment to overcome his feelings of guilt. I feel frustrated by some who thought that he could overcome his depression simply by praying harder. When your mind is bent by chemical imbalance so that you no longer have a clear picture of God then you have to accept medical treatment help with the chemistry to unbend your mind.

    Amen!(56)
    • Clinical depression is nasty - I’ve been there twice and used to count pills to make sure I had enough to get through a trip because I didn’t want to go into that hole again.
      I praise the Lord for Dr Nedley and his book and program “Depression, the Way Out”. When I feel myself starting to slide (and it’s been hard at times this past year with all the changes and chaos in the world) I start working on his program with great effort because I don’t ever want to be in that hole again. And I have to work hard and start early during the downward slide because “it’s hopeless” is yet another symptom.
      People who have never been in that hole have no clue when they just say “pray more”. You don’t tell an infant to just get up and fix breakfast or a three year old to write a book or a blind person to look at the sunset. Jesus knows our pain.
      Now I can praise God for sunshine and flowers and birds.

      [Moderator Note: You can see more about Neil Nedley and his Depression Seminar on our Health Resource page. Be sure to check "More info" under his entry.]

      Amen!(24)
    • Thank you Maurice. My Father at the end of his life, struggled with nearly overwhelming guilt. He could not forgive himself even though God/we had. as he was dying of cancer, he would ask us for reassurance that he led a good life and that he was a good man. That was more painful than watching the cancer kill him. He was a good man.

      Amen!(8)
  2. Romans 8:1 speaks of the great gift of God to sinners in Christ, and defines what it means to be “in Christ”, no longer walking after the flesh, but in the power of the Spirit of God, the same power by which Jesus lived a life of perfect obedience as our example.

    While Romans 8:1 speaks well by itself, these verses help to make clear the means of our salvation, and that it will lead to being justified and sanctified by faith. Romans 8:1 actually helps us to understand the other verses more fully.

    Without pardon for our past sins, we cannot hope to be found faultless no matter how we might fulfill the law. The record of sin will remain and the Spirit of God unable to dwell in our heart. If not for Jesus' death for our sins, we would remain hopeless and without the power promised to the repentant sinner.

    Amen!(12)
  3. I thoroughly enjoy reading the Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan. There is also a children's edition with more modern English called, Little Pilgrim's Progress. The story begins with a sense of guilt, the burden that Pilgrim carries on his back. It is invisible to others, but it is felt keenly by Pilgrim. He is able to stand up and cast off the burden of the guilt of his sins in a spiritual way.

    It is so pitiful when a family is struck with the invisible guilt that comes to many during old age. They may even question their previous beliefs. It is sometimes seen as a weakening of their faith and incorrectly diagnosed as the condition of not praying hard enough, as Maurice said. Let's be more careful in our treatment of others and their sense of guilt. Like Pilgrim's burden, it is invisible to others but very real to them. This is a condition that can strike at any point in the life and lead to self-destruction or a paralyzing sense of guilt that unfits one for service to God or themselves.

    Amen!(12)
  4. To experience guilt requires the awareness of something being right or wrong and feeling remorse about the act considered ‘wrong’.
    I ask: 'what has changed in my life that I could consider myself being ‘guilt free’'? Actually, I do not consider myself to be free of guilt, though I do not dwell on guilt as the final judgement against me.
    I recognize and welcome ‘guilt’ as the awareness-experience of having committed ‘a wrong’ according to God’s definition of the spiritual aspects of things I do, and am eager to, by faith, seek forgiveness through repentance.

    I think condemnation and guilt are two separate experiences. Condemnation can only come from an authority – God -, but experiencing ‘guilt’ is my awareness through the Holy Spirit of possible condemnation by this authority for having transgressed the Will of God with my action; my love for Him, my desire to retain my intimate relationship with Him, prompts me to seek His forgiveness through repentance.

    I do not think that we can experience the blessing of His full forgiveness unless we address our heavenly Father with a loving, contrite heart and willing mind to remove that in us which offends Him. Through humble acceptance of the protection and mediation under Christ Jesus’ Righteousness through faith, our iniquity will be forgiven and we receive the removal of our guilt – Rom.8:1KJV.

    If we do not want to live ‘under the burden of guilt’, if we want to have ‘the burden of guilt lifted’, we need to present our shortcomings to our heavenly Father, asking Him to forgive us. We strife to live our life fully in/by the saving power of our faith in Christ’s completed work of reconciliation with the Father - Rom.3:20-28KJV.

    Yes, by repentance, seeking forgiveness, and continuing to live our lives according to the Word of Life and Light, the Will of God, we are promised that our relationship with the Father and our Lord Christ Jesus remain in good standing through Grace and Mercy.

    Amen!(5)
  5. We need to forgive, as we want to be forgiven. We need to forgive, as we need to be forgiven. What a hard reality. Some people may have done terrible things to us,... but what have we done to God? Haven't we sinned and betrayed His infinite love? I need to understand "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

    Love never fails!" I Corinthians 13:4-8.

    Amen!(14)
  6. The concepts of guilty and no condemnation have always been a spiritual conundrum for me. The Bible is clear that "there's no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." But does it mean that we're not guilty?

    This morning's lesson said, "According to the text for today, there is no condemnation against us. The ultimate Judge counts us as not guilty, counts us as if we have not done the things we feel guilty about." Not guilty? I was thrown for a loop once again.

    I finally realized that my confusion lies in my attempt to use earthly, human terms to explain heavenly, divine concepts. In our earthly, human justice system not guilty and no condemnation are used interchangeably because there's no established laws that can declare a person guilty without incurring the due penalty or punishment for his/her crime; thus, no condemnation means not guilty. If a person is found guilty, he/she has to suffer the consequences for his/her own action. You do the crime, you do the time! That's the law.

    However, in the heavenly tribunal or court, there's a system established by which a person can be declared guilty and yet received no punishment- NO CONDEMNATION- because the punishment, the penalty has already been paid by the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ: "He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed...the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all...for the transgression of my people He was punished." Isaiah 53: 5-8. There’s no condemnation (no penalty, no punishment) not because I'm not guilty but because Christ paid the penalty, suffered the punishment for all of my sins! I am guilty but forgiven; my debt has been paid! Jesus paid it all! NO CONDEMNATION!!! HALLELUJAH!!!

    Finally, I think I got it!

    (See Great Controversy, p. 479-491, "Facing Our Life Record")

    Facing Life's Record

    Amen!(8)
    • Hi Clifford

      When you state "I finally realized that my confusion lies in my attempt to use earthly, human terms to explain heavenly, divine concepts", you are hitting on a key point (Isaiah 55:8-9).

      So, if I may, what if we extend this realisation?

      What if the divine realities are so different from our human realities and understandings that there are no exact equivalents (eg Mark 4:30; 1 Corinthians 2:9; 1 Corinthians 13:12)?

      If this is so, how are we to begin to try and know what needs to be known in our progressive journey towards Jeremiah 9:24?

      What if the many biblical metaphors and symbols are instead to help us begin to understand the principles of divine realities - even though we can't yet know the actual divine reality itself until we exchange mortality for immortality (1 Corinthians 15:53,54)?

      This would explain the 'bizzare' descriptions in much of prophecy (eg Ezekiel 1; Daniel; Revelation) if it is trying to help us understand the principles of realities that we need to be aware of.

      For example, take the understanding we have that the Kingdom of God is founded on the principle of freedom while the Kingdom of Darkness is founded on the opposite principle of coercion. This is very helpful to us because when we encounter something coercive in nature, we know it is reflective of the Kingdom of Darkness.

      If this is the case, then the stories and metaphors in scripture help us piece together principles - not necessarily (and most probably unlikely) painting a picture of the actual 'material' reality.

      Have a careful look at the passage you quoted from Isaiah and note particularly Isaiah 53:5. Lots of terms in that verse that can easily, within our human reality, automatically (via cue-activated automaticity*) conjure up images of judicial process. But notice the final word in that verse: healed. It is not a word that is associated with judicial process. Wouldn't words like pardoned or exonerated or declared not-guilty fit better?

      If what I am proposing is not totally out of the question, it opens us up to a different line of exploration: what are the principles that the metaphors are trying to portray? What principles are references to judicial processes trying to help us see? What principles are references to healing processes trying to help us see? What principles are references to sacrificial processes trying to help us see?

      In all seriousness, I ask: Is there a cosmic courtroom in heaven with God as the cosmic judge seated on a cosmic throne? Is there a cosmic hospital with God as the cosmic doctor? Is there a cosmic temple tent that God has "pitched" (Hebrews 8:2) with God/Jesus as the cosmic high priest?

      Or are there principles represented by/within each of these things that, pieced together, help us build a progressively clearer principle-picture of the nature and character a God who inhabits eternity, yet at the same time also dwells within individual's hearts (Isaiah 57:15)?

      Your thoughts (and others who are interested in joining in)?

      Amen!(4)
    • Who will render to every man according to his deeds. Rom 2:6

      Clifford- remember if anyone walks in the flesh, he/she will be condemn because they are found guilty. The bible mentions from Genesis to Revelation the sins of humans. Sins separate us from our Savior. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. Rev 22:15. Many like to tell white lies and think it is not so bad. Paul to the Romans mentioned the sins that will condemn us and we will be found guilty. Romans 1:18-32. Remember verse 32 says if we do not commit a sin but we find pleasure in the sin (looking, listening, reading etc) we are as guilty as those who do the sin.

      Those who walk in the spirit are those who daily/ hrly commit their ways to Jesus. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
      It all comes down to- am I living according to the knowledge I received after studying the bible. Yes or no. Yes, then no condemnation. No, then you are guilty.

      Amen!(3)
  7. Today’s lesson states at the end “ Jesus … now stands in the presence of the Father pleading His own blood on our behalf…”

    Can anyone happen to provide any Bible verses that directly and explicitly support this specific claim?

    Thanks

    Amen!(2)
    • Jesus paid the penalty for us, and He now stands in the presence of the Father pleading His own blood on our behalf, presenting His own righteousness instead of our sins.

      I believe that Jesus as lawyer/advocate is pleading/presenting His court case/reasoning before God and the Universe that God can be both just – upholding the law of His Government – and the justifier – having mercy and forgiving the repentant sinners – because He, Jesus, offered himself as a sacrifice and His blood was shed/poured out for the remission of sins. Matt 26:28
      Matt 10:32 Jesus said - therefore whoever confesses/acknowledges Me before men, him I will also confess/acknowledge before My Father who is in heaven.
      Daniel 7:13-14; Rom 3:25-26; Rev 5:1,6-9

      Paul through inspiration of the Holy Spirit expounds as follows:
      Heb 8:1-3 – Jesus as High Priest must have something to offer.
      Heb 9:12 - He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood, thus securing eternal redemption.
      Heb 9:14 - how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, purify our consciences from works of death, so that we may serve the living God!
      Heb 9:22 - without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
      Heb 9:24 - For Christ did not enter a man-made copy of the true sanctuary, but He entered heaven itself, now to appear on our behalf in the presence of God.
      Heb 9:26 - But now He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
      Heb 9:28 - Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.

      Amen!(8)
      • Thank you for your comment, Shirley.
        I note that Phil asked for texts that "directly and explicitly support" that “ Jesus … now stands in the presence of the Father pleading His own blood on our behalf…”

        I think it is important to distinguish between our interpretation of texts and what they explicitly say, because sometimes our interpretation could be improved by a bit of adjustment.

        As I review the texts you have provided, I see that they are the ones we traditionally use to support the idea that “ Jesus … now stands in the presence of the Father pleading His own blood on our behalf…” But I don't see that any of the texts explicitly say that.

        I wonder what people visualize when they read this statement? Is the Father for us or against us? What do you visualize when you read this statement?

        I would love to read how Phil integrates those texts with his understanding of the Atonement. (Note that the original meaning of "Atonement" was actually a "bringing together.")

        Amen!(2)
        • I agree when we compare Scripture with Scripture and come to a conclusion it is possible we don't see the full picture, however I found it strange that Phil was asking for a "proof text" for that conclusion when he has been modeling the comparing process. My question to Phil would be is not Jesus as our Advocate in the judgment pleading our case one of the metaphors used in the Word of the LORD to help us understand His Principles of Life?

          Amen!(2)
          • Hi Shirley

            Thanks for your responses. You are correct, I wasn’t seeking ‘proof texts’.

            I am exploring the very metaphor you have mentioned to see what support there is or isn’t within scripture for that metaphor expressed in that way to that extent. This is one example of other metaphors I am also reviewing to see whether or not, in general, we have tended to go too far in how we’ve viewed metaphors - whether we’ve shaped them in ways they weren’t intended to be shaped via too much assumption (which our brain is unfortunately prone to do as our default subconscious tendency - as per the ease with which our subconscious activates pre-formed stereotypes - unless we are consciously monitoring such tendency under guidance by the Holy Spirit). And whether in doing so we've obscured our ability to see some other principle-based aspects that we were meant to be assisted to see. Just part of a line of investigation I am pursuing...

            So, in case I was overlooking some scriptural references in my exploration, I thought I’d ask others what references they were aware of.

            So, thanks for your contribution - I am reviewing Hebrews 9 and 10 in particular in detail as part of my exploration. I listened to it carefully via audio Bible last night to compliment my reading of it and looking into the Greek meaning behind key words/concepts.

            Phil

            Amen!(2)
        • Inge, you asked:
          I wonder what people visualize when they read this statement? Is the Father for us or against us? What do you visualize when you read this statement?
          I agree some might take the words "pleading our case" out of context if they don't know that Jesus said I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came from God and For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
          What do I visualize? Jesus as my Advocate in the judgment. My daughter's ex took her to court over custody of her children however she couldn't plead her own case before the judge she had to have an Advocate who knew the law. Just so Jesus is my Advocate who not only knows the law but also knows the loving heart of the Judge.

          Amen!(3)
        • Inge, I believe when I read these texts and especially the highlighted portions it does explicitly state that Jesus is presenting His blood to God as a reason to forgive human sins. I believe that God's throne is in the Most Holy place in this "metaphor as Phil calls it"
          Heb 9:12 - He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood, thus securing eternal redemption.
          Heb 9:14 - how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, purify our consciences from works of death, so that we may serve the living God!
          Heb 9:22 - without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
          Heb 9:24 - For Christ did not enter a man-made copy of the true sanctuary, but He entered heaven itself, now to appear on our behalf in the presence of God.
          Heb 9:26 - But now He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
          Heb 9:28 - Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.

          Amen!(2)
  8. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; thou shalt love the neighbor as thyself. Gal 5:14

    Guilt Free
    Am I missing something? According to the text, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1).
    I am asking, what does it meant to walk in the flesh? what does it meant to walk in the spirit? The bible spelt out it clearly. Come with me to Gal 5:15-26.
    When I walk in the flesh which are clearly shown in those passages Gal 5:15-21, I will be living in guilt. E.g. If someone is committing adultery or fornication, whenever the guilty person sees the other person spouse, they are afraid the other person spouse might do something to harm them. If I like to gossip, I am walking in the flesh and will be guilty.
    Unlike walking in the spirit Gal 5:22-23. There is nothing there to make me guilty. Christ in me and I in Christ.
    The question now is, am I partaking of men's sins, am I a part of those fleshly sins.
    If I am spending time with Jesus, reading my bible, praying and loving my friends and enemies I would not have time to hate others.

    Amen!(6)
  9. At the end of this lesson, we read

    Jesus paid the penalty for us, and He now stands in the presence of the Father pleading His own blood on our behalf, presenting His own righteousness instead of our sins.

    And it made me think of how "the blood of Jesus" is referenced in Christian teachings and songs. "There's Power in the Blood" comes to mind, and I was wondering what people are thinking when they sing those words, if they are thinking of the words at all, considering it is such a vigorous tune. Do they think of literal blood? What do *you* think of when you sing this song?

    Why does God repeatedly tell the ancient Israelites that the life is in the blood? (See Lev 17:11,14; Gen 9:4,5; Deut 12:23) Is it possible that He wanted to draw their attention to the life the blood of sacrifices represents? If so, what difference does it make?

    What is the meaning of the references to "innocent blood"? How can blood be "innocent"?

    What are the implications of Jesus' words in John 6:53,54?

    Amen!(3)
    • This is such a vital and foundational concept that you raise. Hopefully more time and focus can be given to it down the track.

      Here are some brief threads of thought for now:

      From a Kingdom of God perspective:

      * blood is a metaphor for the source of life which (in addition to/conjunction with the ‘breath of life’ that God provides ongoingly) is based upon self-giving love. Blood performs a cyclical function of transporting/giving that which is needed by cells to keep them alive and removing away that which would otherwise build up toxicity.

      * shed blood also is a metaphor for the extent to which self-giving is prepared to go (John 15:13). This metaphor is particularly emphasised in connection with the Day of Atonement and Jesus as the 2nd Adam (Philippians 2:5-9).

      * eating flesh and drinking blood is a metaphor illustrating the need to take on board that which actually nourishes our spiritual health - which underpins all other dimensions of health (physical, emotional, inter-relational, etc). The ‘nutrition’ referred to is the Word of God - the actual truth and truths of all that is encompassed within the reality of abundant life as per Deuteronomy 8:3. Jesus reference to His flesh and blood is tied to His reference to bread and wine which is tied to reference to manna and water provided by God to the Israelites. Yet again, the underpinning truth of abundant life is that it is founded and maintained on the principle of self-giving love.

      From a Kingdom of Darkness perspective:

      In contrast, though not surprising, blood and shed-blood is also frequently used in ‘pagan’ practices where it is reflective of gods who require punishment-suffering in order to be appeased/‘satisfied’ before they could ‘forgive’ and restore blessing (eg Baal prophets on Mt Carmel).

      It is also used in some rituals motivated by belief that if you consume another’s blood, you are literally ‘drinking life’. This is motivated by self-seeking - a polar-opposite twist to the notion of ‘shed blood’ as the ultimate expression of self-giving/renouncing/sacrificing. I believe God was trying to re-educate away from the mindset and practice of literally eating/drinking blood in, for example, Deuteronomy 12:23.

      There’s possibly more, but that’s what I can draw together for now…

      Amen!(3)
    • “Would you be free from the burden of sin?
      There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;
      Would you o’er evil a victory win?
      There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.
      Refrain:
      There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
      In the blood of the Lamb;
      There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
      In the precious blood of the Lamb.“

      When I sing this song, I think of how I have Hope, through Jesus Christ, our sacrifice, and His shed blood for my sins; I can overcome my sins, and live more abundantly through Jesus Christ.

      Amen!(3)
      • Thanks, Toni. You seem to be thinking of "the blood of the Lamb" symbolizing the plan of salvation.

        I just wonder how many who sing that song actively think of what Jesus has done for us.

        Amen!(0)

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