Carson Sutton 2.12.20
The Old Testament contains 613 laws, most of which seem pretty foreign and strange to us today.
If an ox gores a man or woman to death, the ox must be stoned, and its flesh may not be eaten. —Exodus 21:28
But we are familiar with The Ten Commandments.
These are seemingly easy and straightforward, but the nation of Israel was notorious for breaking them. Even though, they were meant for their good. Notably, after receiving the commandments, the people crafted a golden calf to worship. With one fell swoop, they broke commands 1 and 2. They were guilty.
Jesus comes to Earth much later in the story and is often questioned about the laws of the Jewish people. One of the experts in the law asked specifically which law was the most important. To which Jesus responds:
‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
Are we perfect in following these most important commandments?
We are guilty.
Romans 3:23 says this,
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
BUT there is good news found in the following verse!
Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight.
We are free from guilt in Christ! That is the Good News!
At the beginning of that passage Paul explains why the law was given, and later he gives us the assurance that by placing our faith in Jesus we are made right with God. We are freed.
Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God. For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are. But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.
The “but” and “yet” are so important in this text because they call our attention to the present reality and the gift of God’s grace. They tell us that we are both guilty before God and also made right before God by his choice not by our own efforts.
The glory of the gospel is that the one before whom we are guilty and condemned has himself undertaken to replace our guilt and his indignation with righteousness and reconciliation.
Praise be to God for being so worthy of our praise and so glorious in his holiness, and that in his great love for us (sinners) he has declared us “not guilty.” By trusting that Jesus Christ has taken the weight of our sin, and therefore our guilt, we live in freedom and in peace. God’s gift of living a “not guilty” life is open to all of us regardless of our background, past behavior, or even current behavior. Once we ask for his forgiveness, receive his grace, and put our confidence in Christ; we are truly washed from guilt in his sight.
- Read Romans 3:19-24 again, and write down three things you notice in the passage
- Do you know the sinking in your stomach guilty feeling?
- What do you try to do in their own efforts to find relief from feeling guilty?
- God’s offering to remove our guilt is so much better than anything we could ever do on our own. We only need to call out to him.
- Close by reading Psalm 51 to hear David’s plea to “Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin.”