Guiltless in the day

The Standard October 16, 2019

“I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge – even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you – so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:4-9) The Apostle Paul wrote these encouraging words to the church at Corinth despite the fact that the Christians there were quarreling amongst themselves, boasting, displaying a lack of unity and tolerating some immorality. Still Paul conveyed to them the truth that God would sustain them to the end and finally present them guiltless. This wonderful reality that those who are in Christ will be guiltless or blameless in God’s sight in the day of Christ is reiterated by Paul in his other letters.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” (Ephesians 1:3-4)

“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11)

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)

Charles Spurgeon, the great Baptist Calvinist preacher from the mid to late 1800s wrote, “Come, my soul, think thou of this. Believing in Jesus, thou art actually and effectually cleared from all guilt; thou art led out of thy prison. Thou art no more in fetters as a bond-slave; thou art delivered now from the bondage of the law; thou art freed from sin, and canst walk at large as a freeman; thy Saviour’s blood has procured thy full discharge. Thou hast a right to approach thy Father’s throne.”

In worship we sing of God making us guiltless. Charles Wesley, the youngest sibling of John Wesley who founded the Methodist Church, was the prolific hymn-writer of the family. He wrote “Love Divine All Loves Excelling” in 1747 with the final words saying, “Finish, then, Thy new creation; Pure and spotless let us be; Let us see Thy great salvation Perfectly restored in Thee; Changed from glory into glory Till with Thee we take our place, Till we cast our crowns before Thee, Lost in wonder, love and praise.”

In 1834 Edward Mote wrote the beloved hymn “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less” which ends with these lyrics. “When he shall come with trumpet sound, Oh, may I then in him be found; In him, my righteousness, alone, Faultless to stand before the throne.”

A more modern favorite, created in 2001 with words and music by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend, is “In Christ Alone.” The final stanza leaves us with strong words. “No guilt in life, no fear in death, This is the power of Christ in me. From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny. No power of hell, no scheme of man Can ever pluck me from his hand. Till he returns or calls me home Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.”

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