1 Corinthians 1:8 (ESV)
[Our Lord Jesus Christ], who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
When I think of myself and my standing before God, there are a lot of words that can come to my mind. I know that I am under grace. I know that I am forgiven. I know that God accepts me into his family as an adopted son. I know that God will keep me, sustaining me as the verse above says.
But there is one word in the verse above that catches me, causes me to pause, and gives me great joy. God says that, in Christ, I am counted guiltless. I know myself too well. I am certainly guilty. I deserve wrath. But god, he no longer says so. Maybe I was guilty. Maybe I did deserve his wrath. But now, because of the perfect sacrifice and substitution of Christ, God calls me guiltless.
What changes in the life of a person who understands that God no longer counts him or her guilty? That may be too much for one little post. But I know this, for me this morning, God shows me a reason to obey with great joy. I’m not called to obey in order to make up for my guilt. I’m not called to obey in order to make myself worthy before God. I cannot do either. No, instead, God declares me not guilty at all, and that declaration and promise of a future with him is far more motivating, far more heart-filling, far more worship-inducing.
For clarity, I must remind us all that God does not declare all people guiltless. We are guilty. Only those who have entrusted their very souls to Jesus by believing in him and asking for mercy have been declared guiltless. Thankfully, trusting Jesus is a command for every person. God calls all people everywhere to turn from their sin and trust Jesus. If you will, you will be counted guiltless before God. If you have, you are guiltless before God. And if you are guiltless before God, you can know that God will sustain your soul as a child of his from this day until the end of days and beyond. This is a great reason to worship and to obey the Lord.