Guilt and grace - Hope 103.2

Guilt and grace

It is sad to hear of Christians who are plagued with guilt, who see the Christian message as mainly about how bad we are. And it is sadly mistaken to believe that our sins don’t matter or that we have no need of trusting in Jesus to receive his mercy.

By David ReayFriday 22 Jun 2018LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 2 minutes

Read Isaiah 6:5-7

5 And I said: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. 7 The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.” (NRSV)


This brief encounter between Isaiah and the Lord reminds us of the two great underlying realities of our life. One is our true moral guilt. No use denying our shortcomings, our sins of omission and commission. No use reckoning we are better than some we can name. When we come to grips with who God is we can only echo Isaiah’s words. We are lost.

But to leave it at that is to miss the whole point, not only of this text but our faith itself. This God who is holy and demands perfection from us is the same God who offers pardon for our guilt. In this case, it is symbolised by a burning coal. In our case, it is represented by the cross of Jesus. He took the weight of our guilt on himself so we would no longer have to bear it. He recognised our spiritual poverty and did something about it.

It is sad to hear of Christians who are plagued with guilt, who see the Christian message as mainly about how bad we are. And it is sadly mistaken to believe that our sins don’t matter or that we have no need of trusting in Jesus to receive his mercy. So we have to face the bad news of our lostness while recognising the good news of our being found by a merciful God.

There is true guilt. But there is also true grace. And that grace has conquered that guilt.

Blessings
David Reay