We all struggle with the burden of guilt. Some
guilt-burdens are heavier because the mistakes may be larger or the
conscience may be stronger. When the burden becomes unbearable, we try to
throw it off with denial, excuses, blaming, accusing, and by seeing
ourselves as victims.
We may fool ourselves and others but we canít fool God.
He sees right through us and knows exactly how big our sins and guilt are.
He can waste us right now.... but then he proposes a deal.
Whatís the deal?
The good news is that God loves sinners, though he hates
sin. He looks on us with compassion. He knows we cannot pay our own
sin-debt, therefore He made a plan to bail us out - a plan so costly that we
cannot pay for it, only receive it as a free gift.
In Godís courthouse, justice is applied differently. When
we plead "not guilty", we get the maximum sentence for our sins, because
"If we claim we have not sinned, we make him (God) out to be a liar" (1
When we plead "guilty", Godís Son steps in and offers to
pay our debt in full. He does not force us - we must ask him. When we do, we
are freed from our debt and punishment, but we are then bound by a code of
honor that compels us to show our gratitude to our Savior as long as we
live. We have exchanged the old boss, Satan, for the new boss, Jesus. We are
no longer slaves of a tyrant but children of a caring Father. Thatís a good
reason to rejoice every day.
How was this deal made possible?
God created human beings to manage this planet: he put
them in the Garden of Eden "to work it and to care for it" (Gen.
2:15). As custodians, humans are accountable to the Owner of this planet. To
protect man against evil, God put up a moral boundary for them. If they
would stay inside that boundary, they would thrive; if they would step over
that boundary, they would wither and die. We still face this choice. Like
the first humans, we all fail this test, and we face the same consequences.
"All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom.3:23, also
Ps. 14:3, Is. 53:6).
In his justice, God could not leave sin unpunished, yet
in his love, he could not leave man unsaved either. So he asked his Son to
pay the price of our sins, so that he could set us free: "For God so
loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in
him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
When Jesus suffered on the cross, Godís justice and love
merged in Him. Therefore the Bible says, "God made him who had no sin to
be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God"
(2 Cor. 5:21), and, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God
is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 6:23).
How can I get in on this deal?
We all like to be in on a good deal, and out of a bad
one. Hereís the best deal you will ever get - peace with God, with yourself,
with others and with nature.
The first step is to believe that God exists, for
"Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes
to him must believe that he exists" (Heb. 11:6). Maybe you do believe
that God exists, otherwise you wouldnít be interested in making peace with
The second step is to believe the Bibleís message
of salvation, for "Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message
is heard through the word of Christ" (Rom. 10:17). Maybe you do believe
the Bibleís message of salvation, otherwise you wouldnít be reading this
message. If you feel the need to make peace with God through his Son, you
can be sure he is calling you: "Cheer up! On your feet! Heís calling you"
The third step is to ask Jesus to forgive
your sins and to change your heart so that you can live a new life to his
honor. By surrendering yourself to Christ, the Savior becomes your
When you have made this commitment, you can know for sure
that Jesus has saved you on account of his word of honor: "Whoever
comes to me I will never drive away" (John 6:37), and, "I tell you
the truth, whoever hears my word and believes in him who sent me has eternal
life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life"
How do you know that Jesus accepted you when you came to
him? Answer: "He said so, he gave me his word of honor." Where? "In
John 6:37 - whoever comes to me I will never drive away." Can you slip out
of Christís hands and end up in hell? He gave us his word of honor that he
will not allow that to happen: "I give them eternal life, and they shall
never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand" (John 10:28).
How do I proceed from here?
The new life you have received from God is like a small
tree you have planted. Just as the tree needs food, moisture and sunlight to
grow, so you need the "food" of Godís Word, the "moisture" of fellowship
with other believers, and the "light" of Godís presence, experienced in
quality time with Him in prayer. If one of the three is missing, the tree
will wither, and so will you. When all three are present, you will grow and
become stronger and bear fruit.
Yes, we cannot only take energy in, we must also send
energy out. We must do something useful for the Lord and for others. A wise
man once said: always testify for the Lord; use words if necessary. He meant
that our deeds speak louder than our words. Saved sinners must always try to
make life around them better. They must try to prevent harm to others, and
try to do good to others - at home, in the workplace, on the road, and in
all walks of life. They must practice the Great Commandment of love (Matt.
By FAITH we enter into Godís kingdom. By FAITH and LOVE
we live as citizens of that kingdom. Godís indwelling Spirit enables us to
do that. Jesus compared our contact with him to the contact between the vine
and its branches (John 15). In contact with Christ (the vine), we (the
branches) are filled with his power so that we can bear fruit. "The one
who calls you is faithful and he will do it" (1 Thess. 5:24).