Not guilty?

Not Guilty (Leviticus 5:14–19)

Isn’t it painful to harm others intentionally? Premeditated evils can be set right by our finite sense of justice, even if guilt then rests on our own heads. But imagine the fear and frustration of being held accountable for hundreds of violations that you committed without knowing it. Nothing you ever did would be good enough; you would carry around the guilt of wrongs you never intended to commit. Talk about paranoia.

Yet in Old Testament times, you would certainly have been guilty of such unwitting sins, and they would have required blood sacrifice. The Law of God was clear: No one could be good enough, not even those who sinned without awareness, unintentionally. Few of us think of sin in these terms today, but God remains the same. His standard of perfection cannot be attained, even by the best of us on our best days. The sacrifices of the Old Testament foreshadowed the ultimate sacrifice: Jesus Christ. When Jesus offered himself on the cross, he paid the debt of sin in full. He declared his followers “not guilty.” The law was fulfilled. We no longer need the sacrifice of a ram to cleanse us from the sins we knowingly commit or the sins we unintentionally commit. No other blood sacrifice will ever be required. Women today are often burdened by guilt. We are inundated with “shoulds” and “oughts.” We feel guilty if we work; guilty if we don’t; guilty for not spending enough time with our husband, kids and friends; and guilty for not taking time for God and ourselves. We have a hard time knowing when we’re really guilty and when we suffer from false guilt. But Jesus’ declaration from the cross that we are not guilty covers all of our sins—even the unintentional ones. Instead of blood sacrifice, we can make offerings of gratitude: repentance, praise and service. We all both unintentionally and intentionally wrong God and others. But Jesus Christ bought our forgiveness on the cross. Offer him the sacrifice of confession, and you’ll be covered for overlooking the things you should have done and the things you ought not to have. Then pour out the sacrifice of praise. Present the sacrifice of service, helping others in God’s name, for “love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). Despair has no place here; our advocate perfectly kept even the hidden laws. Taken from NIV Women’s Devotional Bible

Shirley Anne