Devotional thoughts on Leviticus 16:11-19
By Daryl Reed
There are several things we all have in common. Here are two: We all have sinned (Romans 3:23). We all have struggled with guilt that results from sin (John 8:7; Hebrews 10:2).
Dealing with Guilt
As a young believer I carried in my heart an inordinate amount of guilt. I knew the Bible taught me that God loved me and he had forgiven me—I just couldn’t seem to shake the strong feelings of guilt that resulted from my sins. It wasn’t as if I was failing to deal with my sin or I was hiding secret sin from God or others. I made it a habit to frequently confess my shortcomings (1 John 1:9; James 5:16). My problem was I didn’t understand fully that my sins were totally atoned for—both paid for and removed. The theological truth was clear—guilt can hinder growth. It can cripple believers and prevent them from having joy and peace.
Under the old covenant the Day of Atonement was a day that dealt with the problem of guilt, however, the sacrifices made on that day never completely dealt with the problem.
My problem as a young Christian was I didn’t fully understand God’s grace in all its truth (Colossians 1:6). But once I got it, I grew. I needed to trust and understand what Paul wrote to the Roman Christians: “All are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:24–26).
It was only after I embraced the sufficiency and completeness of Jesus’ sacrifice that I began to grow. Jesus’ sacrifice was and is enough. How about you? Are you living with strong feelings of guilt? How are you facing up to your sins and dealing with them openly? Are you confessing them to God? Are you confessing them to people who can help you and pray for you? Better still: Are you trusting completely in Jesus’ blood to forgive you? If you are I’m sure you’re growing.
Daryl Reed serves as lead minister of DC Regional Christian Church in the Washington, D.C. area. Previously he served more than 25 years in full-time ministry in churches in the Midwest and California.