The Grace of God: The Freedom from Guilt

The Grace of God.

Read Psalm 103

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious…He has not dealt with us according to our sins nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.”

David was one person who could identify with our struggle with guilt and failure, and regret for the past. While we often think of David as the giant-killing man of stalwart faith, in reality David was anything but this. Like all of us, David struggled with temptation, discouragement, and failure in both his personal life as well as his relationship with God. The list of David’s sins and failures would cause any search committee looking to find the next pastor for their church to reject his resume. He committed adultery and then murdered the woman’s husband to cover up his sin. He struggled with depression and discouragement when Saul was pursuing him to take his life. At times he had an uncontrollable anger that, in one case, almost led to the murder. Only the intervention of a wise woman prevented him from enacting his revenge. He lied to those offering him protection. He failed as a parent by not properly disciplining his sons even when they committed rape and incest. Because of these failures, his family would eventually be ripped apart by jealousy and hatred. He failure to trust in God’s protection resulted in a deadly plague that inflicted the people. And the list goes on.

When David wrote of the wonders of God’s grace in Psalm 103, he did so from the perspective of one who truly understood the pain and guilt of sin. David was painfully aware of his spiritual and moral failures. But the guilt did not lead him away from God, it drove him to God in search of forgiveness and cleansing. What distinguished David from many others, was not the extent of his good conduct, but his response to his failures. When he sinned, instead of trying to excuse his behavior, he cast himself before God in search of mercy and grace. When David wrote Psalm 103, he did so from the context of one who knew the depth of failure and the supremacy of God’s grace.

To understand the graciousness of God, we need to understand that we are have rebelled against God and broken his commandments. As a result, we deserve only divine judgment. However, God demonstrated his grace when he did not give us what we deserve (judgment and punishment). Instead, he looked upon us with favor and forgiveness. In verse 10-12 David states that God does not reward us according to our iniquities, but instead he removes our guilt as far as the east is from the west.

Sometimes when we go through trials and tragedies, we begin to wonder if God is punishing us. Deep down we are fully aware of our sin and guilt before God and so we attribute our struggles to divine displeasure. However, if we have sought God forgiveness, he has promised that he will “pardon all your iniquities, heal all your diseases; redeem your life from the pit, and crown you with lovingkindness and compassion” (verse 3-4). While his grace does not insulate us from the trials and pain of life (we still live in a broken world affected by the reality of sin), but we do have the promise that when these things happen it is not because of his anger, wrath, or punishment for our sin. We are already forgiven, and his grace has already restored us to his favor. There is nothing more that we need to do.

Today, do not allow the struggles you face cause you to be overwhelmed with the guilt of your past and fear of God’s judgment. Instead, ask God’s forgiveness for your sin, recognize the depth of God’s grace, rest in his complete forgiveness and then “Bless the Lord and obey the voice of His Word!” (verse 20).

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