"What a wonderful thing to be told you are innocent.
I can try to imagine a man on trial being told he has been found innocent and he may go. He has been through an ordeal of being accused of something he did not do. It doesn't really matter what it is, theft, lying, assault, drug dealing, murder; if he is innocent he knows it, but the world does not. He has been falsely accused and he needs to have his name cleared and his innocence declared.
An innocent man would experience such relief and such joy at those words. They would confirm everything he already knows and set him at liberty to return to being who he was before his trial and who he is still, an innocent man. The inner man knew the truth all along; that inner man never doubted; that inner man was innocent all along.
But what if he were guilty?
Many a guilty man has been falsely found innocent and set at liberty.
A guilty man will also be overjoyed at the verdict, he will also be delighted that he has been set at liberty. But he has two options on hearing the proclamation of innocence.
He could leave, laughing up his sleeve and thinking what fools there are in the law. He got one over on them! He is free to continue his business.
Or, he could be so overwhelmed with relief and gratitude, so aware of the errors of his ways that he will mend those ways at once and never again live a life of crime.
Both guilty men will live free but they will both know they are guilty. One may not care, or may not wish to be any different, but the one who wants to take this opportunity and to live a better life, will, every day be faced with the knowledge that he is, in fact, a guilty man.
He may do better than he did before and he may be able to keep on the right side of the law for the rest of his days, but his inner man will know, and always know, he is really guilty. He can only live the way he wants to by living a life of strict adherence to the law.
His 'pass' has kept him out of jail, but his soul will always be in prison.
Thank God, He offers us a better way.
We are ALL guilty before God. We are born guilty. We were guilty before we were born. There is no one, not one who is innocent.
But the price of our guilt, the sentence due, was paid by Jesus on behalf of us all.
Does that mean, therefore, that we are all innocent?
Well, in one way yes. We are all paid for, so we are - like the guilty man - set free from having to pay the debt. You could say we are innocent of the debt. It is not held to our account.
But in another and much more important way, no.
Knowing the debt was paid and you are free to go, does not alter the fact that you know you are guilty. You need to have the heart of guilt removed from you and receive a heart of innocence in its place.
This you only can do when you believe.
You have to reach out and take hold of the new nature - that new heart - that total renewing of who you are or you will live a double life for the rest of your days.
You will be told you are innocent but you will know, in the deepest part of your being, you most certainly are not. There is no power in that.
There is a doctrine sweeping the church at the moment which says we are all innocent, we are all in Christ, and we are all saved (or will be in due course). What this is saying is "Live like innocent men! The price is paid! You are free to go!", but it is not giving you the power to do that. There is no exchange of natures and there is no empowering grace to trust God; there is nothing but empty and twisted words.
This doctrine focuses on 'sins', actions, and tells us they are forgiven and we are free from God's judgement. There is nothing for us to do; we don't even have to believe this because God is so loving he doesn't want us to have to do one thing to receive His amazing grace.
This simply is not true.
The only sin God in interested in is the one which got us all in the mess we are in, in the first place, and that was the sin of unbelief.
Adam did not believe God, he did not trust Him. The fruit eating was only the fruit of the belief. The belief was the real issue.
God wants us to BELIEVE in Him. He wants us to TRUST Him, because His grace cannot work in us if we don't. His grace is HIS power, not ours, it is HIS ability, not ours. It is not something which is handed over to us and we are left to get on with life on our own. It is something which makes us powerful in partnership, in relationship.
His strength in made perfect in our weakness...................we have to join our weakness to His strength and His strength flows into our weakness. We two become one. This is not a giving of a gift and a letting go, it is a joining of two, so closely, they become one.
If guilt and condemnation are any part of your lot in life you have not received the true Gospel.
Do not be deceived by doctrines which have a feel good factor and require nothing of you; you need to receive and you need to believe to receive." ~ J.H.M. Howie
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