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Mind, Character and Personality, volume 2

Chapter 48

Guilt

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Guilt Impairs Life-forces.-Grief, anxiety, discontent, remorse, guilt, distrust, all tend to break down the life-forces and to invite decay and death.-The Ministry of Healing, 241 (1905).

How One Gains Freedom From Guilt.-This feeling of guiltiness must be laid at the foot of the cross of Calvary. The sense of sinfulness has poisoned the springs of life and true happiness. Now Jesus says, Lay it all on Me; I will take your sin, I will give you peace. Destroy no longer your self-respect, for I have bought you with the price of My own blood. You are Mine; your weakened will I will strengthen; your remorse for sin I will remove.

Then turn your grateful heart, trembling with uncertainty, and lay hold upon the hope set before you. God accepts your broken, contrite heart. He offers you free pardon. He offers to adopt you into His family, with His grace to help your weakness, and the dear Jesus will lead you on step by step if you will only put your hand in His and let Him guide you.-Lt 38, 1887.

Jesus Speaks Pardon.-Satan seeks to draw our minds away from the mighty Helper, to lead us to ponder over our degeneration of soul. But though Jesus sees the guilt of the past, He speaks pardon; and we should not dishonor Him by doubting His love.-Lt 2, 1914. (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 518.)

His Love Frees From Guilt.-The love which Christ diffuses through the whole being is a vitalizing power. Every vital part-the brain, the heart, the nerves-it touches with healing. By it the highest energies of the being are roused to activity. It frees the soul from the guilt and sorrow, the anxiety and care, that crush the life forces. With it come serenity and composure. It implants in the soul, joy that nothing earthly can destroy-joy in the Holy Spirit-health-giving, life-giving joy.-The Ministry of Healing, 115 (1905).

Greatest Sinner Needs Greatest Saviour.-If you feel yourself to be the greatest sinner, Christ is just what you need, the greatest Saviour. Lift up your head and look away from yourself, away from your sin, to the uplifted Saviour; away from the poisonous, venomous bite of the serpent to the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world.-Lt 98, 1893.

He Will Give Rest.-He has borne the burden of our guilt. He will take the load from our weary shoulders. He will give us rest. The burden of care and sorrow also He will bear. He invites us to cast all our care upon Him, for He carries us upon His heart.-The Ministry of Healing, 71 (1905).

All Sins Not of Equal Magnitude.-God does not regard all sins as of equal magnitude; there are degrees of guilt in His estimation, as well as in that of man; but however trifling this or that wrong act may seem in the eyes of men, no sin is small in the sight of God. Man's judgment is partial, imperfect, but God estimates all things as they really are. The drunkard is despised and is told that his sin will exclude him from heaven; while pride, selfishness, and covetousness too often go unrebuked. But these are sins that are especially offensive to God, for they are contrary to the benevolence of His character, to that unselfish love which is the very atmosphere of the unfallen universe. He who falls into some of the grosser sins may feel a sense of his shame and poverty and his need of the grace of Christ; but pride feels no need, and so it closes the heart against Christ and the infinite blessings He came to give.-Steps to Christ, 30 (1892).

Guilty Need Positive Approach.-No one is ever made better by denunciation and recrimination. To tell a tempted soul of his guilt in no way inspires him with a determination to do better. Point the erring, discouraged one to Him who is able to save to the uttermost all who come to Him. Show him what he may become. Tell him that there is in him nothing that recommends him to God, but that Christ died for him that he might be accepted in the Beloved. Inspire him with hope, showing him that in Christ's strength he can do better. Hold up before him the possibilities that are his. Point him to the heights to which he may attain. Help him to take hold upon the mercy of the Lord, to trust in His forgiving power. Jesus is waiting to clasp him by the hand, waiting to give him power to live a noble, virtuous life.-MS 2, 1903.

Satan Presses a Sense of Guiltiness.-The people of God are here [Zechariah, chapter 3] represented as a criminal on trial. Joshua, as high priest, is seeking for a blessing for his people, who are in great affliction. While he is pleading before God, Satan is standing at his right hand as his adversary. He is accusing the children of God and making their case appear as desperate as possible. He presents before the Lord their evil doings and their defects. He shows their faults and failures, hoping they will appear of such a character in the eyes of Christ that He will render them no help in their great need. Joshua, as the representative of God's people, stands under condemnation, clothed with filthy garments. Aware of the sins of his people, he is weighed down with discouragement. Satan is pressing upon his soul a sense of guiltiness that makes him feel almost hopeless. Yet there he stands as a suppliant, with Satan arrayed against him.-Christ's Object Lessons, 166, 167 (1900).

Failed to Claim God's Promises.-I have since thought that many inmates of insane asylums were brought there by experiences similar to my own. Their consciences were stricken with a sense of sin, and their trembling faith dared not claim the promised pardon of God. They listened to descriptions of the orthodox hell until it seemed to curdle the very blood in their veins, and burned an impression upon the tablets of their memory. Waking or sleeping, the frightful picture was ever before them until reality became lost in imagination, and they saw only the wreathing flames of a fabulous hell and heard only the shrieking of the doomed. Reason became dethroned, and the brain was filled with the wild fantasy of a terrible dream. Those who teach the doctrine of an eternal hell would do well to look more closely after their authority for so cruel a belief.-Testimonies for the Church 1:25, 26 (1855).

Crisis Often Points to Source of Strength.-God often brings men to a crisis to show them their own weakness and to point them to the source of strength. If they pray and watch unto prayer, fighting bravely, their weak points will become their strong points. Jacob's experience contains many valuable lessons for us. God taught Jacob that in his own strength he could never gain the victory, that he must wrestle with God for strength from above.-MS 2, 1903.

Remember Christ's Grace.-When, after his sin in deceiving Esau, Jacob fled from his father's home, he was weighed down with a sense of guilt. Lonely and outcast as he was, separated from all that had made life dear, the one thought that above all others pressed upon his soul was the fear that his sin had cut him off from God, that he was forsaken of Heaven.

In sadness he lay down to rest on the bare earth, around him only the lonely hills, and above, the heavens bright with stars. As he slept a strange light broke upon his vision; and lo, from the plain on which he lay, vast shadowy stairs seemed to lead upward to the very gates of heaven, and upon them angels of God were passing up and down; while from the glory above, the divine voice was heard in a message of comfort and hope.

Thus was made known to Jacob that which met the need and longing of his soul-a Saviour. With joy and gratitude he saw revealed a way by which he, a sinner, could be restored to communion with God. The mystic ladder of his dream represented Jesus, the only medium of communication between God and man.-Steps to Christ, 19, 20 (1892).

Burden of Guilt Foundation of Many Maladies.-The paralytic found in Christ healing for both the soul and the body. The spiritual healing was followed by physical restoration. This lesson should not be overlooked. There are today thousands suffering from physical disease, who, like the paralytic, are longing for the message, "Thy sins are forgiven." The burden of sin, with its unrest and unsatisfied desires, is the foundation of their maladies. They can find no relief until they come to the Healer of the soul. The peace which He alone can give would impart vigor to the mind, and health to the body.-The Desire of Ages, 270 (1898).

Ignorance Did Not Remove Guilt.-Had they known that they were putting to torture One who had come to save the sinful race from eternal ruin, they would have been seized with remorse and horror. But their ignorance did not remove their guilt, for it was their privilege to know and accept Jesus as their Saviour.-The Desire of Ages, 744 (1898).

Do Not Lessen Guilt by Excusing Sin.-We should not try to lessen our guilt by excusing sin. We must accept God's estimate of sin, and that is heavy indeed. Calvary alone can reveal the terrible enormity of sin. If we had to bear our own guilt, it would crush us. But the sinless One has taken our place; though undeserving, He has borne our iniquity. "If we confess our sins," God "is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).-Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 116 (1896).

Humbled Souls Acknowledge Guilt.-Those who have not humbled their souls before God in acknowledging their guilt have not yet fulfilled the first condition of acceptance. If we have not experienced that repentance which is not to be repented of and have not confessed our sin with true humiliation of soul and brokenness of spirit, abhorring our iniquity, we have never sought truly for the forgiveness of sin; and if we have never sought, we have never found the peace of God. The only reason why we may not have remission of sins that are past is that we are not willing to humble our proud hearts and comply with the conditions of the word of truth.

There is explicit instruction given concerning this matter. Confession of sin, whether public or private, should be heartfelt and freely expressed. It is not to be urged from the sinner. It is not to be made in a flippant and careless way or forced from those who have no realizing sense of the abhorrent character of sin. The confession that is mingled with tears and sorrow, that is the outpouring of the inmost soul, finds its way to the God of infinite pity. Says the psalmist: "The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit."-Testimonies for the Church 5:636, 637 (1889).

Essential to Forsake Sin.-Here is where you bring yourself into condemnation, that you continue to sin. In the strength of Christ cease to sin. Every provision has been made that grace should abide with you, that sin shall ever appear the hateful thing that it is, sin. "And if any man sin," he is not to give himself up in despair and talk like a man who is lost to Christ.-Lt 41, 1893.

God Pardons All Who Come.-God justly condemns all who do not make Christ their personal Saviour; but He pardons every soul who comes to Him in faith and enables him to work the works of God, and through faith to be one with Christ.... The Lord has made every provision whereby man may have full and free salvation and be complete in Him. God designs that His children shall have the bright beams of the Sun of righteousness, that all may have the light of truth. God has provided salvation for the world at infinite cost, even through the gift of His only-begotten Son. The apostle asks, "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32). Then if we are not saved, the fault will not be on the part of God, but on our part, that we have failed to cooperate with the divine agencies. Our will has not coincided with God's will.-The Review and Herald, November 1, 1892. (Selected Messages 1:375.)

Hope for All. [See Steps to Christ, Chapters: "Repentance," "Confession," and "Faith and Acceptance."] None need abandon themselves to discouragement and despair. Satan may come to you with the cruel suggestion, "Yours is a hopeless case. You are irredeemable." But there is hope for you in Christ. God does not bid us overcome in our own strength. He asks us to come close to His side. Whatever difficulties we labor under, which weight down soul and body, He waits to make us free.-The Ministry of Healing, 249 (1905).