How to Exchange Satan's Guilt for God's Grace Every Time
- Mary Southerland Journey Ministry, Inc
- Published Feb 04, 2021
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).
Ah, guilt! The gift that keeps on giving! Have you ever heard of “Double Jeopardy?”
It is not only a category on the popular television show, Jeopardy, but it is also a law principle that states you cannot be tried twice for the same crime. Jesus has already been tried for our crimes. He was condemned, sentenced, and put to death to pay for our sin. He rose from the dead to prove that God accepted His payment. That is why, as Romans 8:1 says, “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Peace and victory virtually drip from those words.
Then why are so many Christians living a life plagued by guilt? If we are honest, I think it may be because we have a hard time wrapping our minds around the fact that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to earth, and was crucified for our sin.
We keep trying to pay for our sin when all we need to do is accept God’s forgiveness and leave that sin behind. God’s way almost seems too easy, doesn’t it? We ask for His forgiveness, and He gives it. Really? Really!
Our daughter recently called with a “Hudson story.” Danna and Sam have two boys, Justus who is 11 and Hudson who is 8. Both boys constantly flood my heart with absolute joy because of their love for Jesus.
Danna began, “Tonight, I was putting Hudson to bed. We read a devotion about the birth of Jesus and why He came to earth. Hudson usually loves this devotion, but tonight he had a different take on it.
“After we finished the devotion and prayed together, I could tell something was bothering Hudson.”
“’What are you thinking about, Hud?’ Danna asked.
Hudson thought for a minute and said, ‘Mom, how did Jesus get here from heaven?’
“’Well, just like you did, buddy!’ Danna responded.
Hudson’s eyes got huge and he said, ‘Whaaaat?’
Again, Danna said, ‘He came to earth, grew in Mary’s womb and then was born --just like you and your brother.’”
Danna said he scrambled out of bed into her lap and said, “Okay, Mom. I really, really need you to hear what I am saying. It’s very important! You know how much I love Jesus. I mean, I really, really love Him. Right?”
Danna nodded her head in agreement, wondering where in the world this conversation was headed.
Hudson continued, “And I believe in Him with all my heart--I mean aaalll of my heart, right?”
Again, Danna nodded in agreement.
Hudson took a deep breath, placed his little hands on each side of Danna’s face, making her stare into his big blue eyes, and said, “But I gotta tell you, Mom! This whole plan is just crazy! I mean really, really craaazzy!”
Can you relate? Are there times when you find it hard to believe that Jesus was willing to exchange Heaven for earth and a throne for a manger to save us? We act as if the Holy Spirit needs our help when it comes to dealing with sin. He doesn’t. But we live in a way that suggests that what Jesus did on the cross is not quite enough. Listen, it is more than enough.
Scripture is clear about God’s attitude when one of His children repents and seeks His forgiveness.
The moment we place our faith in Christ Jesus an amazing exchange happens. All of our sin is transferred to the account of Jesus and paid in full; and all of His righteousness is credited to our account. In that moment, God looks at us and in His grace declares, “Not guilty.”
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23, NIV).
Guilt is a powerful emotion--one we all struggle with at some point in life. But when we fully surrender our lives to Jesus Christ, we are free to live in the grace Jesus Christ offers.
Grace instead of guilt.
Love instead of shame.
Forgiveness instead of condemnation.
Mercy instead of judgment.
He (God) is so rich in kindness that He purchased our freedom through the blood of His Son, and our sins are forgiven (Ephesians 1:7, NLT).
But sometimes it is hard to get past our past. For some of us, when we think of the past we remember the good old days when all things were better, simpler, cheaper … right?
For some of us, the past holds glittering images of accomplishments, success and joy. For others, the past is something we would like to totally erase. We keep hoping for a giant bottle of white out to come down and magically blot out the pain.
I believe memory is one of God’s best gift to us. Someone once said, “Memory can be a wonderful treasure chest for those who know how to pack it.”
We must deal with our past. It is unchangeable! But we can change our response to it. We can allow the past to defeat us or we can harness it and use it for power today.
That sounds great! But how do we do that?
First, realize that God is always drawn to brokenness. God always uses broken people. God always gives His choicest truths to the most broken. Those truths can fall through the broken places where they take root and grow.
Look for the truths you have learned in the darkness. Some truths cannot be learned in the light. They are reserved for the darkness.
And then look for the people in your world who are going through that same darkness. You can comfort them in a way no one else can--because you have been where they are.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God (1 Corinthians 1:3-4).
Guilt is from the pit and smells like smoke. When guilt-ridden thoughts bombard your mind, you will know exactly who is whispering those lies. Remind the enemy that you are no longer in jeopardy. When it comes to grace vs. guilt--grace wins every time.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/fizkes
Mary Southerland is also the Co-founder of Girlfriends in God, a conference and devotion ministry for women. Mary’s books include, Hope in the Midst of Depression, Sandpaper People, Escaping the Stress Trap, Experiencing God’s Power in Your Ministry, 10-Day Trust Adventure, You Make Me So Angry, How to Study the Bible, Fit for Life, Joy for the Journey, and Life Is So Daily. Mary relishes her ministry as a wife, a mother to their two children, Jered and Danna, and Mimi to her six grandchildren – Jaydan, Lelia, Justus, Hudson, Mo, and Nori.
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