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April 15, 2020 12:01 am
There is nothing we can possibly do to make up for our sin that offends an infinitely righteous God. Today, R.C. Sproul reminds us that our insurmountable debt must drive us to the cross of Jesus Christ.
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God's kingdom is unshakable. We have an obligation we have a duty to live in this world, according to a Christian ethic, according to a biblical ethic were not called in any way to run from the world record run right into it to live within it. According to her Christian convictions. If you just simply live by a Christian ethic you will stand out you will have to let people know that you are Christian and figure out some sort of scheme to drop Christ into the conversation. If you live according to biblical ethics in a post-Christian culture. You are an apologetic and you will be pointing folks to the gospel and will be easy conversation starters time for competence but book by Dr. Stephen J. Nichols. Reserve your copy, call 800-4353 three or visit reformation trust.com in ancient Greece. The word sin was used when an archer missed the mark. But when it's carried over into the theological categories of the New Testament were not talking about target shooting with bows and arrows were talking about the mark or the standard of the perfection of God's law. Everyone is guilty of missing that standard of perfection. Not one of us can claim that we have kept the 10 Commandments perfectly, let alone love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. So what do we do with our guilt. Today I'm Renewing Your Mind, Dr. RC Sproul continues his series guilt and forgiveness with a message titled, unable to pay. In our last session we looked at the problem of trying to deal with our guilt and ways that we deal with it in this world by paying our debts, undergoing the punishment that is meted out according to particular crime, but then we raise the question to the next level. What do we do with our guilt before God. Again, there are those who deny that there is such a thing as guilt before God.
You may be one of those persons who thinks there is a God or if there is you have to worry about being guilty before him. Again I remind you were not talking about guilt feelings here were talking about an objective state of affairs were talking about guilt. The only way you would have guilt true guilt before God, would be if there's some way in which you have broken his law and only that in order to be held guilty before God for breaking his law, you have to have some knowledge of his law. That's why we labored the point does the Scriptures tell us that God has published his law to you and it is inscribed in your conscience the kind of thing that can't call the categorical imperative that sense of hotness that is deeply rooted in each one of us now. I started all this by telling you of having conversations with people where I ask them what do you do with your guilt know I mentioned that I mentioned in passing that a clever attorney would recognize that the question that I stated to the person what to do with your guilt is a complex question because I have an established that there is any guilt I just say the person what do you do with your guilt. It assumes or presupposes that the person has some guilt to deal with the complex question is something like this. You've heard the illustration of the prosecuting attorney who says to the accused when the accused sits in the witness box. Have you stopped beating your wife because it's a complex question in this sense if the person answers that question yes means he once was beating his wife if he answers no means he still beating his life in the matter how answer the question he is admitting to some kind of guilt. And that's an illegitimate form of a question so if I say to you without knowing it. What you do with your guilt you would have every right to respond to me by saying what guilt you're just automatically assuming that I have guilt. Well, that's true, and I do make that assumption and I do it from a theological perspective and from a biblical perspective if we go to Romans to the third chapter were Paul gives an elaborate exposition of the fallenness of the human race. He says in verse 19 of chapter 3.
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in his sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. And then he goes on to say in verse 23 for there is no difference for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. What the Scriptures teach here manifestly and unambiguously is not only the reality of human guilt but more important for our concern today. The universality of it. The universality of guilt. That's what's being declared here that God has declared by his divine tribunal.
The whole world and every person in it to be guilty of breaking his law again. You may say, but you're begging the question RC here just simply declaring the universality of guilt by reading a passage from the New Testament, but is there an interesting thing that not only do the Scriptures declare this idea of the universality of human guilt, but that this is part of the folklore or natural wisdom of cultures and technical terms, this would be under the rubric of the usage NTM. The law of the nation's where it is the universal testimony of people not only those who read the Bible or who are committed to a particular religion, but it is a human testimony as well to the universality of guilt. Have you ever said nobody's perfect. What would you say to that. Do you think that statement that universal negative affirmation. Nobody is perfect. Do you agree with that.
How many people have you met who really believe they are perfect. I've really never met a person outside the Christian church who told me they were perfect. I have met people inside the Christian church who have claimed to have been perfected and that presently are in a perfect state. I think that they're hopelessly deluded at that point, but I can't say I've never met a person who refused to say that they were perfect now, but even those people would admit past imperfections and I've yet to meet a human being whose look me in the eye and say I have never done anything wrong in my life now. There may be people who think that and I would have to give special attention to those who do, but I'm going to cut the Gordian knot here and speak to those of you who aren't in that situation because you are the overwhelming majority of people you know that you have broken the law of God again pulses all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The very word sin in the New Testament in the Greek language hamartia means literally concretely, to miss the mark. It was a term derived and borrowed from the sport of archery where the archers in the Bowman of antiquity would practice very much as archers do today with targets and the targets had their segments in their bull's-eye, and so on. That is, they would be marked where one was trying to aim his bow and reach a particular level of accuracy by putting his arrow on that mark and sin in antiquity was the word that was used hamartia when the archer missed the target or miss the bull's-eye and came short of perfect score, but when it's carried over into the theological categories of the New Testament were not talking about target shooting bows and arrows were talking about the mark or the standard of the perfection of God's law and with the Scripture say is no one has hit the mark. Everyone fall short of the standard of righteousness, the standard of moral conduct that is been established by God himself. And if that's the case then it means that everybody in the world is guilty before God. That's why if that premise is true I can cut to the chase in normal conversation and say to you, what do you do with your guilt, your guilt before God.
I'm not talking about your guilt before your kindergarten teacher before the local policeman there before the traffic court. I think about what you do with your guilt before God.
You know, with the most standard response that people have to that is I don't really worry about that much because after all, nobody's perfect, and the hope is that since everybody's in this condition, and were all in the same boat with the maker of the boat and the captain of the boat is not going to be all that distressed by one more person in the boat. Nobody's perfect. Certainly God is going to have to grade us on occur God's going to have to do what I talked about in our last session that we do just the standard lower so that he can meet us where he is. I'm missing the target with my bow and arrow.
So instead of moving further away from the target. I began to move closer to the target to make the target easier. But it's one thing to adjust the site on the boat or to adjust the distance between you and the target and it's another thing to ask God to adjust his own character because remember that the law of God flows out of the character of God and his laws are righteous because he is righteous and he's not going to adjust the law that reflects his perfection to accommodate you. And as long as he doesn't adjust that law then you remain guilty before that law and the question is what you know about it. While we've looked at some of the options you can deny it or you can seek to rationalize it and by rationalizing you are seeking to come up with an excuse for your immoral behavior. Now let me say something very candidly. The excuses that I invent for my immoral behavior and the excuses that you invent for your immoral behavior may be very effective in dealing with your friends or with your loved ones, and may even be quite convincing. Excuses you may even be effective in assuaging the civil courts but God tells us that when he calls every human being into accountability that every mouth will be stopped.
What does that mean again the description that the Scriptures uniformly used to describe the situation of the final judgment day when God gathers every human being before his tribunal, the descriptive term that is used uniformly is one of silence.
It's like were brought into the courtroom and we're told silence in the court and we think they were going to observe a moment of silence when the judge comes in.
And then once he comes in and were going to begin the state are arguments to set forth our case to show our excuses for our reasons for doing what we're doing, but the Scriptures tell us that the silence that begins the court will be maintained and every mouth will be stopped because there are no excuses. Paul tells us in chapter 1 of Romans we are without excuse. When we violate the law of God, and remember that if we break the law of God that immediately puts us into an objective state of guilt, and this is what the Scriptures declare that were all already there.
We are all guilty. This says nothing yet about our feelings about whether were experiencing shame or embarrassment or remorse or obstreperous hostility. All of that must be distinguished were only talking now about the objective state of things in the objective state of things is where guilty and nothing we can say can change it are miles will be stop. Stop. From what stop from voicing our denials stop from voicing our protests of innocence stop from giving a list of alibis and excuses stop from giving serious rationalizations and I think that there is something depressing about this because the sea is described in terms of the absolute futility of any human beings attempt to justify himself or herself before the law of God is why the law of God is called a schoolmaster that drives us to look beyond the law for relief from our guilt might come before the law of God and say, okay, I did the crime. Now pay the penalty or a make up for it. That's the difference between God's law and human law.
Human law has provisions for in the sense making up for your crimes through restitution through punishment and so but how do you make up a crime against God. How much time do you have to spend to make it right to atone for an offense against an infinitely holy, righteous, being seen in the categories of biblical justice are sins against God are infinitely heinous and we are unable to do the time. There is nothing we possibly can do to make up for our shortfall. The metaphor that is used by Jesus is the metaphor of the debtor who cannot pay his debts.
Now do we think about that and realize that the debt them moral debt that I owe to God. I can't pay in the moral debt you owe to God. You can't pay. And here's where everybody seeks refuge say well, God is a God of love is a God of mercy. He will never require payment. That's were counting on that somehow God will adjust his standards to meet us where we are and to say it's okay. I'm just going to give a plenary indulgence to the human race. Boys will be boys.
Girls will be girls and I'm not going to hold you personally accountable for your guilt. I don't how many millions of people are counting on that and as a theologian.
Frankly, dear friends, that terrifies me because of Jesus, blessed Jesus make and mild Jesus who showed the world more than any living person ever the depths and the riches of the love of God the mercy of God and the grace of God is the same Jesus who taught over and over again that there will be a final accounting and that every idle word that you speak and that I speak will be brought in to the judgment.
What you do about the goodness is that God does give us a way to deal with our guilt.
In fact, we might say that the whole message of the Christian faith is the proclamation of God's solution to a problem we can't solve ourselves and this will talk about in the days to come, and we hope you'll join us tomorrow as Dr. Strohl continues his series with the good news that awaits us and stay with us today because she'll have some final thoughts for us. You're listening to Renewing Your Mind and this week we have been airing the series guilt and forgiveness. Dr. Strohl is been laying out the biblical case that all of us are equally guilty before God.
Examining the issue of guilt is is really a study of the gospel man has a sin problem God is provided the solution through Jesus Christ we like for you to have this entire series. Six messages on two audio CDs will send it to you for your donation of any amount to litigator ministries and will include Dr. Strohl booklet. What can I do with my guilt, the material in that booklet closely parallels the teaching series. So it's a great resource to give to a family member or friend who may be struggling with a guilty conscience request both the audio CDs and the booklet when you call us at 800-435-4343. You can also find us firstname.lastname@example.org there are many other resources available to you on this topic. When you go to table talk magazine.com in the search blog. Just type in the word guilt and you'll find that more than 500 articles and devotionals deal with this issue and if you're not a subscriber you can do that while you're at the website every month you'll benefit from helpful articles written by trusted pastors and theologians was table talk provides guided Bible studies for the entire month. You can start your subscription when you go to table talk magazine.com dear Dr. Strohl, with a final thought. We rest on the hope that God is not going to hold us accountable that God will be understanding and that God will waive away our guilt. While he does have a provision for doing that is called justification, but there are requirements that he imposes before he will do that. Please do not assume the God just unilaterally and automatically waves his lawn of universal forgiveness over the fallen race. He has made a provision to deal with the reality of guilt and he does it on the basis of real forgiveness.
That's the good news of the Christian message, but that real forgiveness requires real repentance and real faith and without real repentance and without real faith. There is no real forgiveness to real guilt before God. That's why our guilt should drive us to the cross, that the reality of guilt should drive us to search for the way of forgiveness and reconciliation that God provides for his people and RC will talk more about what drives us to that forgiveness tomorrow with his message, a guilty conscience. We hope you'll join us Thursday for Renewing Your Mind