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IN TOUCH WITH GOD   by Edward Heppenstall

Fellowship With God FEBRUARY 18


O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom. 7:24, 25.

The chronic sense of guilt that is characteristic of sinful man is more prevalent than we are ready to admit. What is the nature of guilt? First, there is a guilt we feel before God. Truth and conscience have been tampered with. Maybe we have broken the moral law or violated the principles of righteousness that we find in God's Word. When we have sinned against God in this way, the guilt is clear for most of us. There is a sense of inner disquiet. Guilt also grows out of feelings, attitudes, and thoughts that we know are not Christlike, from all that registers as shame, inferiority, or feelings of worthlessness and rejection.

Guilt must be fully forgiven and removed or it will find ways to create more inner problems. God has so constituted us that guilt must be resolved. Our sins and our sinfulness can become greater than we can bear. Suppose that in walking to school every day, or at work about the house, you are compelled to carry a fifty-pound sack of sand on your shoulders. How long before you would break under the load? Unless you could find some way to get relief the burden would finally crush you.

Guilt can act the same way upon the heart and mind. It presses down so heavily that it creates emotional and physical problems. No Christian should carry a load of guilt around with him day after day.

We must accept God's forgiveness of us and also forgive ourselves for the sins we have committed. In Christ's day the woman taken in adultery was dragged before Him by the Pharisees. The law affirmed that the guilty woman be stoned to death. Her condemners sought to trap Jesus in His judgment of the woman. But He wrote in the sand. When they read what he had written they felt themselves guilty. There was no condemnation of the woman on the part of Jesus. He did not condone her sin; neither did He reject her. People do not need either advice or judgment so much as they need love and acceptance as a person. Because God is like this, we must do likewise.

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