Thursday, 31 March 2011

weighed down with guilt

Isaiah's description of Israel, and us, continues...
A people laden with iniquity, Is 1:4 NKJV

I wonder if they 'looked' as though they were weighed down with sin? Many don't who are! From time to time I come across folk that I describe to myself as 'happy pagans'. Their lives are devoted to the pursuit of self-gratification. They live life 'to the full' in their own estimate; there is not much sign of the heavy load, they take life pretty much as it comes.

No one really knows themselves unless God grants them revelation. We are such experts at self deception. John the gospel writer put his finger on such in his first letter;
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:8 NKJV

That probably means that the vast majority of mankind, at any single time, are living in self-deception. We don't feel it, so we don't worry about it.

The words 'guilt' and 'iniquity' come together frequently in the Scriptures. (Ex 34:7; Lev 5:17; Num 5:31; 14:18) Guilt is the consequence of iniquity. Biblically it has nothing to do with the way we feel; although Christians and modern society at large often refer to 'feeling guilty'. Iniquity is the sin, guilty is God's verdict upon the sinner.

People who are not conscious of the sin are seldom conscious of God's judgment upon their condition. But the fact is that...
there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Rom 3:22–23 NKJV
and because we have 'sinned' the verdict is inevitably 'guilty' or 'under God's sentence. (Rom 3:19) and yet we may be completely unaware of the way God views us.

The consciousness of sin brings 'conviction' or the sense of burden, but we carry our load whether we are conscious of it or not. It is a work of God's grace when conviction of sin begins, although the experience is anything but comfortable. Many opt for palliative care; they fill their lives with business and things which block out the pain of conviction. What a way to treat the kindness of God. There is a wise saying in the book of Proverbs;
Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Prov 27:6 NKJV

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