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Bless-ed! 52 Blessings You Have As a Believer! (Blessing #6)

Blessing #6: The Blessing of Somewhere to Go with My Guilt

“Guilt is regret for what we’ve done. Regret is guilt for what we didn’t do.” (Mark Amend)

My friend Mike has got me thinking about what I have as a believer and what those who are lost don’t have. I can say without fear of contradiction — based on Mike’s words — that he is indeed lost and won’t (at this point) accept what God’s Word says about him.

Let’s consider another blessing that believers ought to appreciate and that is —

6. WE HAVE SOMEWHERE (BEYOND THIS WORLD) TO GO WITH OUR GUILT!



THE BLESSING “Guilt is the thief of life”, said the actor Anthony Hopkins. Of course, there’s both legitimate and illegitimate guilt. We often feel guilty about things that don’t matter. And, more to the point, we seldom feel true guilt about the things that are of God and are of eternal significance. Someone has said, “Never feel guilt while doing what’s best for you.” The problem, of course, is that we often don’t know what’s best for us.
Biblical guilt is healthy and indicates that our conscience (molded by God’s Word) is working! But we don’t need to stay in our guilt. As one author says, “We are not built for guilt, and it damages our souls and personalities — even our health.”

THE BIBLE: God’s Word has much to say about guilt. For example,
1. Some people are guilty of an eternal sin by blaspheming the Holy Spirit (Mk. 3:29).
2. Tragedies in life are not necessarily the result of personal sin or guilt (Lk. 13:4).
3. Guilt remains on those who claim they can see spiritually, but reject Christ (Jn. 9:41).
4. Both Jesus’ words and works condemn as guilty those who reject Him (Jn. 15:22, 24).
5. One who takes communion in an unworthy manner is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord (I Cor. 11:27).
6. The believer’s heart of guilt can by cleansed by repentance and a faith in the Lord (Heb. 10:22).
7. Failing to keep one point of the law means one is guilty of breaking the whole law (Ja. 2:10).
8. The Old Testament gives much material on what is called the guilt offering for sin (see Lev. 5).

The believer in the Lord Jesus has somewhere to go with his or her guilt. And that somewhere is a SOMEONE! Because our sins are forgiven by Christ, we can confess our shortcomings and ask for His restoration.

ACTION STEPS: 1. Read over the verses mentioned above in the list this week. How would you define biblical guilt? How is biblical guilt a good thing?
2. Consider confessing to your unsaved friend something you have done or said for which you have found forgiveness before the Lord. Explain why you are confident the Lord has forgiven you.
3. Read the following article “What Does the Bible Say about Guilt?” found at https://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-guilt.html and email a friend sometime this week about what you’ve learned.
PRAYER: 4. Pray for your friend to come under the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Pray that he would experience biblical guilt and ask your help in confessing his sin and trusting Christ.

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2022 in blessings

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Taking the Blame)

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2022 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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Bless-ed! 52 Blessings Your Lost Friend Doesn’t Have . . . And What You Can Do About It! (Part 4)

My friend “Mike” has got me thinking to about what I have as a believer and what those who are lost don’t have. I can say without fear of contradiction — based on Mike’s words — that he is indeed lost and won’t (at this point) accept what God’s Word says about him.

Mike thinks he is just fine with God. But that’s not what God’s Word says. So, as we’ve seen in our previous posts, my friend Mike (and my other unsaved friends) (1) don’t have an authoritative source for what they believe. We also noticed that our unsaved friends (2) don’t have the assurance that their sins are forgiven. Third, we need to acknowledge that they (3) don’t have a life-long, satisfying mission in life.

Let’s consider about a fourth blessing that our unsaved friends don’t have and that is —

4. THEY DON’T HAVE SOMEWHERE (BEYOND THIS WORLD) TO GO WITH THEIR GUILT!

Of course, there’s both legitimate and illegitimate guilt. We often feel guilty about things that don’t matter. And, more to the point, we seldom feel true guilt about the things that are of God and are of eternal significance.

The believer in the Lord Jesus has somewhere to go with his or her guilt. And that somewhere is a SOMEONE! Because our sins are forgiven by Christ, we can confess our shortcomings and ask for His restoration.

We don’t “make” people feel guilty. But we can pray that God the Holy Spirit would work His convicting ministry in their hearts. For whom will you pray today that the Divine Spirit will do that internal (and eternal) work?

 

 
 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Parenting Guilt)

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2021 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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Focus! Keeping Your Eyes on Jesus in a Near-Sighted, Distracted World! (The Blind Man in John 9 – Part 15)

With these verses our study of this most extensively described miracle in all of the Bible comes to a close. The man born blind has been healed. He has been tossed out of the synagogue. He has been insulted and excommunicated. All that remains is a proverbial “moral of the story.”

In this series of blog posts on FOCUS I want to examine my own vision and ask if my spiritual eyesight is getting dim, distracted, or damaged by choices I make. We will be looking at a number of key biblical passages which emphasize this sense of sight. I am particularly looking forward to pondering the healing miracles which turned blind people into sighted people.

Jesus’ Mission: There are several places where Jesus declares why He came. For example, in John 10:10 Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” In John 12:47 Jesus says, ““If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.” However, here at the end of this great miracle, Jesus says, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” (v. 39).

His coming, according to this text, involves two purposes: (1) “so that the blind will see” (which has happened in two ways to the man born blind), and (2) so that “those who see will become blind.” The blindness of the religious leaders of Israel could not have been made plainer than here in the story of this healing.

An Outraged Question: Some of the Pharisees heard Jesus say this and they respond, “What? Are we blind too?” (v. 40). The Greek reads: 40 ἤκουσαν ἐκ τῶν Φαρισαίων ταῦτα οἱ μετ’ αὐτοῦ ὄντες, καὶ εἶπον αὐτῷ· Μὴ καὶ ἡμεῖς τυφλοί ἐσμεν; Literally, this sentence is translated as: “The ones from the Pharisees who were being with him (presumably Jesus) heard these things, and said to him: ‘Surely we also ourselves are not blind men, are we?”

The way they word their question contains that negative we touched on before in one of our posts. What they are really asking is this: “Surely we are not blind too, are we?” Their question is one of outrage, thinking that Jesus is somehow lumping them in with the man who, in their opinion, was “steeped in sin at birth.” Their question, in the way it was worded, expected a negative answer. They expected Jesus to respond with something like, “No! Not at all. I’m certainly not implying that you Pharisees are blind!”

It is interesting that their question implies that the man born blind is still blind! They refuse to acknowledge that he has been healed.

Jesus’ Authoritative Conclusion: The last statement in this miracle story is Jesus’ response to these Pharisees. He says, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains” (v. 41). So this miracle account is about much more than a man born blind receiving his physical sight. This story is about sin and guilt and claiming to see and actually being blind.

I believe what Jesus is saying to these religious leaders is quite stark and direct: “If you were blind — and you’re not! — you would have an excuse for your refusal to believe in me. The fact is, you claim you can see, but you don’t see your own guilt which is right in front of you!”

By the way, this miracle is referred to once more in the gospel of John. In the very next chapter the Jews accuse Jesus of being demon-possessed and some respond, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?” (Jn. 10)

Today’s Challenge: Would you say that your spiritual blindness has been healed by the Lord Jesus? If so, will you pray that God would lead you and me to more clearly FOCUS on Him and what He wants to do in and through us?

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2021 in focus

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Guilt)

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2021 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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The Forgotten Third: Developing a Relationship with God the Holy Spirit — He CONVICTS the BELIEVER!

What in the world convinces Christians that the Holy Spirit only convicts THE WORLD of their sin? What about US? What about the many areas in which we need His divine finger to show us our bad thinking, poor choices, and misguided priorities?

We are studying God the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity. The reason for our study is the conviction that some Christians often either overemphasize Him or overlook Him. We need a biblical balance in understanding His ministries in the world . . . and in us!

But how does God the Holy Spirit bring about conviction of sin in the believer’s life? Again, if His primary tool is the Word of God, then the Word properly preached (or shared) is the vehicle by which the Holy Spirit brings biblical guilt into the heart of the Christian. There is, of course, unbiblical guilt which the world (and even other Christians) tries to inflict upon us. But biblical guilt occurs when the Holy Spirit gets real specific with us about something that needs to change — and we submit to His leading.

Some of you know that I did my doctoral dissertation on John Nelson Darby’s doctrine of the Holy Spirit. I read most of Darby’s 55 volumes of tough theological prose and was so glad when I was done and my dissertation was approved! But one thing Darby said that stuck out to me had to do with conviction of sin. He said that conviction of sin occurs when I stop defending myself and go and stand with the Holy Spirit in condemning the sin in my life. I thought that was helpful.

Where has the Holy Spirit brought a kind of biblical guilt to your soul? Are you standing with Him and asking God to help you abandon that sin, change that habit, repent of that attitude?

The Challenge: Anyone bold enough to admit some sin (you need not specify what it is) and tell how the Spirit led you to change?

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2019 in The Holy Spirit

 

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Guilt! (Time for a Great Cartoon)

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2018 in guilt

 

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Jonah: Belief Contradicted by Behavior (Part 13)

Someone has said, “There is only one commandment for those who don’t believe in Jesus and it is this:  Watch those who do!”  The pagan sailors are not attracted to Jonah’s orthodoxy, but are outraged that he could be running away from such a God!  They put two and two together and conclude that Jonah’s God, the One who made the sea and the dry land, did not care to be disobeyed — and had done something about it!  HE had sent the storm.

As they had their theological discussion, the sea “was getting rougher and rougher.”  They ask Jonah, “What should we do TO YOU to make the sea calm down for us?”  These pagan sailors were no dummies.  And they realized that Jonah’s God was no impotent deity.  HE had pursued His servant and HE got his servant’s attention.  Yes, innocent sailors had gotten embroiled in the mix, but Jonah’s God was sovereign over that as well.

If one were to unit-read the book of Jonah (reading it straight through at one sitting), it seems apparent at several points that he wants to die!  He has these suicidal ideations a number of times.  Here he volunteers to be tossed over the side as a human bromide to calm an acidic sea!  Jonah is certain that throwing him overboard will placate his angry God.  And he is sorta right. (to be continued)

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2017 in Jonah

 

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Insight from a Blind Man (A Study of John 9) Part 28 (conclusion)

“What?  Are we blind too?”  I love how the Lord Jesus let people come to their own conclusions.  He doesn’t answer their question “Yes!” or “No!”  But He says, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin . . .”  So, in one sense, they were not blind.  Is Jesus saying that one’s ignorance of one’s sin means one is not guilty of sin?

“Your guilt remains.”  These last three words conclude this story of the man born blind.  The only other time we read of him is in John 11 where Jesus has allowed his good friend Lazarus to die so that He could raise him from the dead.  Before He calls forth Lazarus from the tomb, we read that “Jesus wept.”  Some respond to Jesus’ weeping by saying, “See how he loved him!”  Others said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” (v. 37).

The answer, of course, was yes!  Jesus could have kept His friend from dying.  But He didn’t.  There was something more important than Lazarus’ physical survival. The risen Lazarus becomes a reason for many to believe in Jesus — and “so the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well” (Jn. 12:10)!

There is a price to pay in following Jesus.  For the man born blind, it was excommunication from the life of Israel.  For Lazarus, it was a contract on his head because many were believing in Jesus as a result of his testimony.

For those of us whose guilt IS GONE, what price are we paying to follow Jesus?  I look forward to meeting this anonymous man born blind in heaven.  I want to thank him for his boldness, for his courage, and for his simple new life of following Jesus. (I’ve written up a fictional account of this man which tries to fill in some of the details of his story.  Let me know if you wish a copy).

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2017 in guilt

 

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