No Stigma Of Guilt
This week I want to develop a little bit about the compare and contrast between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. Last week I gave a profound observation. Did you catch it? I said, the OId Covenant is not the New Covenant. Man, what revelation. The problem is for most of us, myself included, we do not live like it is. Let me say it another way. For a very long time I thought that if I gave up cigarettes I would be a better Christian and get closer to God. One day I finally kicked the habit. Guess what? I was not a better Christian, I was no closer to God than I was the week before, and the only real difference was that I didn’t smell like an ash tray. The thing is, there is not one thing that I have to do to be loved by God any more than I am right now. God is as close to me right now as He was a week (or a decade) ago, and He blesses me each and every day despite my actions. Kind of weird don't you think? That is the difference between living under' “law” or living under “grace”. Let me explain.
Jesus said that the whole law and the prophets are summed up as "treat everyone as you want to be treated" (Matthew 7:12). Notice that this is based on your actions. I have a problem with this. I do not always treat people the way that I want to be treated. According to James 2 verses 8-13 when I do this I become guilty of breaking each and every law that there is. You know what this did to me? I killed someone to get into prison. There is a LOT of guilt that comes with a crime like mine. I tried everything (even after I was born-again) to get rid of the guilt. I literary read commentaries so that I 'knew' all of the right things. I learned how to sing so that I could be a part of the choir. I went to school so I could say I had knowledge. None of that brought me any closer to God even though they are all “good” things. Nothing relieved me from the guilt.
I have to tell you one thing that I came to understand. It is in Ephesians 2:4-5 and I want to really stress this because it is the biggest difference between the two covenants. God is rich in mercy towards me, He loves me and even when I was dead in my sin, God made me alive with Jesus. I do not think that I can stress this enough. When the Old Covenant says "you must…." or "Do not..." the New Covenant speaks one of three words: "mercy" "love" or "grace." Flowing from this side of the cross that Jesus died on we are now part of a beloved people of God because of God's mercy, love, and grace.
I am very glad about that too. You see I fully understand that under any system of law I deserve death. Because of the payment that Jesus gave for me I now have life without the stigma of being guilty anymore. I am cleared of any guilt and now I live by faith. There are still consequences, I look through bars or razor wire every day, but there is no guilt. That is gone.
Thank you Jesus!