North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

    There once was a religious and political leader who lived in the Caucasus Mountains. He led his people through a long war against Russia trying to maintain their independence. He knew for his people to be at their strongest, all wrongdoing needed to be rooted out. He decreed a sentence of 100 lashes for such things as bribery and forgery. The first person brought to him was his own mother. She was found guilty of her crimes based on witness and testimony. He locked himself up for a day of prayer. When he finally came out he announced the punishment must be inflicted. After five lashes had been administered to his mother, he jumped up and shouted, “Halt!” He took the final ninety-five lashes on his own back. There’s a price that must be paid for sin and there’s a price that must be paid for crime.    I worked in a state correctional facility for almost 15 years. This particular arm of law enforcement has the task of making sure the penalty of breaking the law is carried out. Few people have gone through the experience of committing a crime and then being forgiven for it. When a criminal serves out their sentence, they may legally be restored to society, but some continue to bear their guilt in their own mind. Like sin in our life, some of our so-called friends and those we commit a crime against may never forgive. This makes it difficult to forgive ourselves.

    However, every person has committed crimes against God. Not a single human being has kept God’s commandments perfectly. Every person is judged guilty because of their sins. It may seem to us from outward appearances that law-breakers against the Lord go free. God doesn’t hold a Divine law court in which we are arrested by angels, charged of sin, and pronounced guilty by a cloud of witnesses. Even though we don’t see God carrying out this process, we know in our hearts what it means to be guilty of sin. We feel the burden this places on our minds. This is because God’s Holy Spirit convicts us. God’s conviction is not enjoyable, but it is necessary to keep ourselves in check with Him. God loves us and makes it possible to be right with Him. Part of His work is to judge people because of their lack of conformity to His righteousness. John 16:8-11 says, “When the Holy Spirit comes, He will show the world the truth about sin. He will show the world about being right with God. And He will show the world what it is to be guilty because the leader of this world (Satan) is guilty”.

    God’s conviction should be seen as one way God protects people from dangerous and poor decision-making. We have been warned that one day God will exact eternal judgement on every guilty sinner who has not repented and asked for forgiveness. For the Christian, who has welcomed Jesus Christ into their heart as their Savior, is free from guilt and the burden of sin. A Christian doesn’t have to live with the torment of judgement upon them. The weight of wrong-doing has been removed. Chris died for you so you wouldn’t have to pay the penalty of sinful choices. He was and is your substitute. The Christian knows what it’s like to be guilty of crimes against God and to be forgiven of those crimes. Every one of us, regardless of our background can unload our burden of sin on the Savior. We can live with an attitude of gratitude for what Christ has done for us. May we all seek to help someone else find freedom and release from the load of a guilty conscience. You don’t have to live day-to-day carrying guilt about your sins from the past.

    Every person has gone astray and got lost. It’s because they’ve “turned their own way”. We all have a choice to make: will it be our way or God’s? We reason in our mind that the human-centered way is best and that God is outdated for our technological age. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way which looks right to a person, but its end is the way of death.” Jesus’ own words are: “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one can go to the Father except by me” (John 14:6). Left to ourselves we are lost and wondering. We have our own desires and pleasures that do not last and we seek the next thrill to pursue. Don’t be a sheep without a shepherd. Choose not to plunge headlong toward a destructive and unsure future. But choose Christ and let him put the pieces back together. In Christ you will find the way to life. You must take the step of faith and turn toward Christ. If you will do that, as your Shepherd, he will feed, sustain, and lead you into green pastures as a trustworthy guardian. He will be your guide and give you direction. This is God’s promise and His wonderful provision for our waywardness.

• This bi-weekly column is written by Matthew Dobson. He’s the Public Health Services Manager for Santa Rosa County, Florida, a U.S. Army Reserve Chaplain, and the Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in the New York Community. He recently published his 4th Volume in the “Living With Purpose” Book series which can be found and purchased on www. Amazon.com. You can contact him at: rmdobson@liberty.edu.

Posted by on Dec 2 2018. Filed under Church News, Churches, Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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