Everything exists within the confines of time. And time has three inescapable components – the past, the present, and the future. Everyone must live within the limits of time. Only God is free of its structure. The Bible reveals the truth of God as being outside of time. God’s business card has two words that sum up His relationship with time. It reads “I AM.”
But, other than God Himself, all else has a past, a present, and a future. As Christians we have a promised eternal future of direct fellowship with the timeless God, but we still have to live and move through our lives within time’s structure. Time is part of the human condition.
So, I’ve been thinking about guilt and worry and how those two aspects of the human condition affect and are affected by time. When we as Christ-believers and followers consider the truths the eternal God reveals about guilt and worry, we should be leading different lives than many of us do.
Guilt and worry seem to seep into every aspect of our lives. They can become burdens that crowd out joy and sour every aspect of life.
Let’s consider those two words in the light of God’s Word. The first thing we notice is that both are directly related to time. Guilt is always related to the past and worry is always related to the future. No one feels guilt about something that hasn’t happened yet. We dwell on regrets of the past and worries are always about things that might, could, or possibly will happen in the future.
The more we allow guilt of the past and worries about the future to dominate our lives there becomes less and less space for joy in the present.
Under God’s inspiration, the writers of the New Testament knew the secret of forgetting the guilt of the past and not worrying about the future, and it’s surprisingly simple.
The answer to guilt and worry is found in the application of two words to our lives.
GRACE AND PEACE
God’s gift of grace covers the sins of our past with the cleansing covering of His Son’s blood. We are forgiven by grace. And, once forgiven, God has an amazing way of dealing with our sins… He completely forgets them.
“I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, AND I WILL NOT REMEMBER YOUR SINS. Isaiah 43:25
If we insist on feeling guilty for sins God has chosen, in His wondrous grace, to completely forget, that’s just crazy!
As Christ-followers our sins are forgiven and in Christ we are completely forgiven and completely new. All the past things of our lives are gone – just gone. There is no reason to dwell on and feel guilty about sins that are completely, totally, and forever gone!
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; THE OLD THINGS PASSED AWAY; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
So, God’s Grace takes care of the guilt of the past. God’s peace takes care of worries about the future.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. John 14:27
Notice that this peace is not some self-induced bliss but is a given condition of the heart. Jesus Christ gives you His peace. He leaves it with you. It’s not temporary and it’s not to be found anywhere else in the world. In Christ’s peace there is no trouble and no fear!
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all! 2 Thessalonians 3:16
Paul understood the reality and the power of Grace and Peace… read these verses and think about his circumstances as the apostle was often writing from a prison cell in Rome.
Galatians 1:3 “Grace and Peace”
Ephesians 1:2 “Grace and Peace”
Philippians 1:2 “Grace and Peace”
Colossians 1:2 “Grace and Peace”
1 Thessalonians 1:1 “Grace and Peace”
2 Thessalonians 1:2 “Grace and Peace”
Philemon 3 “Grace and Peace”
The Apostle Peter also understood the assurance these two words give to relieve of past guilt and give rest to concerns of the future.
1 Peter 1:2 “Grace and Peace”
2 Peter 1:2 “Grace and Peace”
John, the beloved of Christ, also assures us of the reality of living under God’s provision.
Revelation 1:4 “Grace and Peace”
Are you sensing a trend here? As Christians, we live in the present. We live in the reality of “Now.” As the New Testament writers agree, we live under Grace and Peace. So, do you? No guilt of the past? No fear of the future? Living under the protection of the ever present, “I AM?”
Think about it…