When your guilt over your sin overwhelms you, what do you do? Where do you turn? Where do you find grace greater than all your sins?
The Apostle Paul warns us not to be ignorant of Satan’s scheme (2 Corinthians 2:5-11). And what is that scheme? To overwhelm us with guilt and condemnation (Romans 8:1). Paul tells us the remedy to Satan’s condemning narrative. Where sin abounds, grace superabounds (Romans 5:20).
Surprisingly to some, the Puritan soul physicians offer wonderful consolation to the tender conscience overwhelmed by sin. Better known for “loading the conscience with guilt,” we fail to remember that the Puritans emphasized “lightening the conscience with grace.”
Puritan pastor and author, Thomas Brooks, in Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, spells out the danger of allowing guilt to blind us to grace. “Their being discouraged by their sins will cost them many a prayer, many a tear, and many a groan; and that because their discouragements under sin flow from ignorance and unbelief.”
Brooks also explains four reasons we fail to grasp grace.
“It springs from their ignorance of the richness, freeness, fullness, and everlastingness of God’s love.”
“And from their ignorance of the power, glory, sufficiency, and efficacy of the death and sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
“And from their ignorance of the worth, glory, fullness, largeness, and completeness of the righteousness of Jesus Christ.”
“And from their ignorance of that real, close, spiritual, glorious, and inseparable union that is between Christ and their precious souls.”
With worshipful gratitude for Christ’s gospel of grace, Brooks concludes:
“Ah! Did precious souls know and believe the truth of these things as they should, they would not sit down dejected and overwhelmed under the sense and operation of sin. God never gave a believer a new heart that it should always lie a-bleeding, and that it should always be rent and torn in pieces with discouragements.”
The song writer, Julia H. Johnston, in Grace Greater Than Our Sin, obviously understood Brooks’ words.
Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.
Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.
Dark is the stain that we cannot hide.
What can avail to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
Brighter than snow you may be today.
Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?
In your life, how are you experiencing Christ’s grace superabounding over your sin and guilt?