The Guilt Factor
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36
There it was again, creeping along the shadowed walls of my mind—a past sin that hissed, “Just who do you think you are? Don’t you remember what you’ve done?” I closed my eyes for a moment and thought, I am a child of God, forgiven and redeemed, no longer chained to you. And as quickly as my past had come, it scurried out of my consciousness at the Truth I had brandished in its face.
Shame and regret are shackles that Satan uses to immobilize Christians. At other times, we bind ourselves because we allow past failures to prevent us from moving forward in our faith and service. But to doubt the freedom from our past that Jesus’ death on the cross has given is to discredit the character of God. It cheapens the grace He has lavished on us, snubs the fellowship He has offered to us, and rejects the victory over sin He has provided.
Horatius Bonar was a 19th century Scottish pastor, author, and hymn-writer. In “I Lay My Sins on Jesus” he gave us the prescription for peace with our past:
I lay my sins on Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God;
He bears them all, and frees us from the accursèd load;
I bring my guilt to Jesus, to wash my crimson stains
White in His blood most precious, till not a stain remains.
I lay my wants on Jesus; all fullness dwells in Him;
He heals all my diseases, He doth my soul redeem:
I lay my griefs on Jesus, my burdens and my cares;
He from them all releases, He all my sorrows shares.
In God’s Way of Peace, Bonar wrote, “Satisfaction with yourself, even if you could get it, would do nothing for you. Satisfaction with Christ would do everything; for Christ is all.”
Does your past haunt you? Do you want to be freed from its power? Then bring your sins and failures to Jesus and leave them in His nail-pierced hands. Claim the forgiveness He has given you; rest in the completeness of your redemption. And don’t look back.
Read John 8:31-36. To whom was Jesus speaking? What did He say would set them free? How is that possible? Compare John 8:32 with John 1:14 and 14:6.
Paul certainly had a load of past sins that could have weighed him down with guilt (see Acts 22:4,19-20). What truths gave him victory over his past? Read Romans 8:1-9, 33-34 along with Philippians 3:12-14.
Many Bible scholars believe that the Bible contains 4 psalms David wrote after his sin with Bathsheba. If you read them in the following sequence, you can trace his journey from a chasm of guilt to a pinnacle of joy: Psalms 38, 6, 51, and 32.
To read all of the lyrics to “I Lay My Sins on Jesus,” go to http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/i/l/ilaymsoj.htm
Denise K. Loock