“To the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us, is the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us” (Ephesians 1:6-8).

Writer, Dorothy Sayers, says, “The final tendencies of the modern philosophies, hailed in their day as a release from the burden of sinfulness, has been to bind man hard and fast in the chains of a modern determinism…Evil has been something represented as something imposed on us from without, not made by us from within. The dreadful conclusion follows inevitably that as he is not responsible for evil; he cannot alter it.” In other words, if you can’t recognize guilt, you can’t escape it. The gospel says that when God convicts us of sin, we understand our guilt, and through grace we find redemption.

Consider our verse in Ephesians. “The picture is that of a slave market, a common sight in the Roman Empire, where human beings were offered for sale to anyone who would pay the price. Here we were, bound as slaves. Into this slave pit; Jesus came, and he struck off our fetters and set us free.” Liberation means that God accepts and loves us. We’re his children in whom he’s well pleased. That becomes our identity, and we can accept ourselves. When we’re beset by guilt, we need to open ourselves to God and accept his forgiveness. Ray Stedman, pastor and author, says, “Once you sense you’re forgiven, healed, whole in God’s sight, that your sin has been set aside and you’re a wholesome person made in the image of God, you want to sing and rejoice and dance and shout to the heavens that you’ve been set free. You never want to go back and add to that load of guilt again.”

Adapted from The One Year Book of Encouragement