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Suppose I were to ask, “Who will declare me guilty?” I could answer this question in several ways.
— I am aware of the guilt of my life. I know God’s teaching quite well, but have turned from his guidance and followed my selfish instincts.
— Other people are aware of my guilt. My words and deeds have offended and injured other people.
— The court system knows I have been guilty. I have received more speeding tickets than I can remember. Thankfully, that is the extent of my guilt before the court.
— Above all, I am guilty before God. He knows the extent of the corruption of my heart.
How can guilty humans stand before God, others, and themselves?
Isaiah picks up the theme of God’s sacrifice for the guilt that was initiated by Moses and looks to the ultimate sacrifice for guilt with the Suffering Servant, Jesus.
The way that the Servant of the Lord answered the question of guilt was like this.
It is the Lord God who helps me;
who will declare me guilty?
All of them will wear out like a garment;
the moth will eat them up. (Isaiah 50.9)
Rudy Ross explains the issue of guilt in today’s YouTube video on the Bob Spradling channel.
The Hebrew understanding of guilt locates the issue in the inner self of humans. The heart is the seat of the mind, will, and emotions. It is also the place where guilt resides.
Jesus described the relationship between guilt and the heart like this: “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles.
“For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander” (Matthew 15.18-19).
Humans know their guilt before God and others, but no one can accuse Jesus of inner corruption. However, as the only completely innocent person to walk the face of the earth, he suffered for all human guilt.
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
and by his bruises we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have all turned to our own way,
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53.5-6)
Rudy Ross has done an extensive study of “iniquity.” He states that iniquity and guilt of the inner self are the same.
Jesus was crushed for human guilt that resides within the mind, will, and emotions. God placed on the Suffering Servant (Jesus) the guilt of all humanity.
In God’s Courtroom
Imagine this scene. You are the defendant at a trial.
The prosecuting attorney has finished making his case against you.
The judge turns to you and asks how you plead. Since your guilt is obvious to all, you plead guilty.
When it comes time for sentencing, the judge declares a sentence that is in keeping with your guilt.
At this point, an unusual event takes place. The judge arises from his seat, takes off his robe, stands before you, and says, “My child, I love you. You are guilty, but I am taking your place. You are free to go.”
This gracious act of the judge wins your heart. You are free to go, but your heart is bound in love to the judge who has sacrificed so much for you.
Paul understood the issue of guilt and God’s sacrifice for guilt better than most. He wrote about this truth to the church in Corinth.
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5.21).
“For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8.9).
One of the greatest joys of 50 years of ministry is to see the above courtroom scene acted out in real life. I have seen God defeat his enemies by making them his friends.
Rudy Ross points out in today’s YouTube video this process that turns enemies of God into friends of the Father.
— We are guilty. Our inside condition is broken and our outside behavior is wrong.
— God provided a guilt sacrifice through the Suffering Servant, Jesus Christ, who is also the Son of God.
— When we accept God’s sacrifice for our sins, he releases us from the guilt we have carried throughout life.
— We love God for his gracious gift to us. Our friendship with God transforms us from the inside out.
About This Blog
Rudy Ross and I produce a daily video of these blog articles on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel. Rudy is Jewish, a Christian, and an excellent Bible student. The videos present insights from a dialogue with the two of us.
I am indebted to Dr. John Oswalt, who has written an excellent two-volume commentary on Isaiah for insights into the Book of Isaiah.
Please email your prayer requests to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood Baptist Church prayer team will pray for you.