The Biblical Way to Handle Guilt
Updated: Feb 13
Week 7 in the Word
This past week we delved into Leviticus with many laws concerning sacrifices and offerings. The deaths of Nadab and Abihu in contrast to the woman who anointed Jesus (Matthew 26:6-13) should challenge us to worship God in ways that honor Him according to His word. I hope your love for Christ was deepened as we followed Him in our reading to the Garden of Gethsemane where He was betrayed by Judas’ kiss.
Now we will conclude our journey through Leviticus and Matthew and begin the gospel of Mark. In the readings for this coming week, I was struck by three themes.
1. The Anguish of Guilt. On Friday and Saturday (Days 43 and 44), we will be reading about the personal struggles of Peter, Judas, Pontius Pilate and his wife who played roles in the drama unfolding around Jesus. Notice how each one of them is conscience-stricken over what is happening to the Lord. But how do they handle their guilt? Despair, blame shifting, and suicide are not the answer.
How should we, as believers, respond upon realizing our guilt for sin? The gospel calls us to confession and repentance. How comforting to remember that Jesus died for our sins and that “if we confess our sins [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).
2. God’s mercy upon all the nations of the earth. On Monday (Day 46), we will be looking at Jesus’ final command to go and make disciples of all nations. This was always God’s plan, but with this charge Jesus launched the apostles into the world to proclaim the gospel to all, Jews and gentiles alike. The Old Testament established God as the Ruler of heaven and earth, not a mere local deity like the pagans worshipped. Now it is clear that He intends to call people from every tribe and tongue to be His. Christians have the privilege and responsibility to carry forth this commandment however God gifts and calls us.
3. God’s gift of times and seasons. On Tuesday, (Day 47) we will be seeing how God gave feasts to His people. The feasts were related to spiritual truths and events in the life of Israel. For example, the weekly Sabbath was to recall God’s creation, the Passover looked back to God’s deliverance from Egyptian slavery, the feast of booths was a reminder of God’s providential care as the nation wandered for forty years in the wilderness. The day of Atonement helped the people recognize the grace of God in reconciling them to Himself by the sacrifice of unblemished animals and, we now know, it pointed toward the perfect Sacrifice of the Lamb of God, our Lord Jesus Christ in whom we trust completely for our acceptance before God.
Do you pray before beginning your daily Bible reading? Author Matt Smethurst says that before opening our Bibles we should pray. He gives a method of prayer (attributed to John Piper) which has helped me in recent weeks. Using the acronym, I-O-U-S he exhorts us to use four petitions from the Psalms:
I- “Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain” (Ps. 119:36).
O- “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law” (Ps. 119:18).
U- “Unite my heart to fear your name” (Ps. 86:11).
S- “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love” (Ps. 90:14).
Take a minute before reading to make these requests to God. He will surely hear your plea.
Week of February 12-18, 2021
If you do not have a copy of my book you may want to order one here. You may also access below the audio recordings of the devotionals beautifully read and donated by my friend and pastor Charlie Evans.
February 12 /Day 43 Depth of Sin; Pervasiveness of Corruption (Leviticus 14; Matthew 26:55-75) Audio here. February 13 /Day 44 The Anguish of Guilt (Leviticus 15-17; Matthew 27:1-31) Audio here. February 14 /Day 45 Jesus’ Claims: True or False? (Leviticus 18-19; Matthew 27:32-66) Audio here. February 15 /Day 46 Missions: Going in Christ’s Name (Leviticus 20-21; Matthew 28) Audio here. February 16 /Day 47 Time and Timing (Leviticus 22-23; Mark 1:1-22) Audio here. February 17 /Day 48 Redeemed to be His Friends (Leviticus 24-25; Mark 1:23-45) Audio here. February 18 /Day 49 Does Sin Make Us Sick? (Leviticus 26-27; Mark 2) Audio here. If you do not have a copy of my book you may want to order one here.
May you feast on God’s Word this week!