The Guilt of Past Sin

Do you remember when God was pleased to awaken you from your long sleep, when you looked within and saw that you were all defiled, and full of pollution, and all manner of evil? Do you recollect how the thoughts pierced you like poisoned arrows . . . “God requireth that which is pure”; “For every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give an account thereof at the day of judgment”? Do you recollect how it seemed as though hell flared up right before you where you stood, and it seemed as though there were a step only betwixt you and death! The terrors of the LORD got hold upon you, and the very marrow of your bones seemed to freeze as you thought upon an angry God, and of how you, in your sins, without any preparation, could meet Him! Oh! it is not so long ago with some of us but what we recollect being startled in our sleep under a sense of sin; and all day long the common joys of men were no joys to us, and though before we had been sprightly and cheerful like others, yet our mirth was now turned into mourning, and all our laughter into lamentation!

Perhaps some of you are passing through this state of mind now. You are conscious now of your old sins: the sins of your youth are coming up before your remembrance. Now, if so, listen to what David says, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” Beloved! if you would ever get rid of the fear of your past sins, remember that the Lord Jesus Christ came into the world to suffer for the sins of all who trust Him. All the sins of all His people were reckoned as upon Him, and all that they should have suffered on account of those sins Jesus Christ suffered in their stead. The mighty debt, too huge for us to calculate, was all laid upon Him, and He paid it to the last farthing. He was sued and summoned at the court of the eternal justice, for the sins of His people were reckoned as upon Him, and all that they should have rendered with hands and feet, and brow and side, He discharged: the whole tremendous debt that was due to God, the debt caused by the sins of all His people were paid by Him.

Now, it is a blessed thing when sin burdens us to fly away to Christ, and stand in spirit beneath the cross, and feel that under that crimson canopy no flash of divine penalty shall ever fall upon us. “Smite me! Great God! Thou canst not, for hast thou not smitten the redeeming Christ on my account! Is it not recorded that for those who trust Him, thy Son is both surety and substitute! How, then, canst thou first sue the Substitute, and then afterwards sue the person, for whom the Substitute stood?” Faith thus clings to the cross, and feels, nay! knows, that all is safe. I would God that some of you who are lamenting over the burden of your sins, and are pressed down by it, would look to the Son of God, pouring out His life, and would trust Him, for then your sins would be gone in a moment. Only look on Jesus, and though you had committed all the sins that are committable by mortal man, yet Jesus Christ can and shall put them all away. If every form of iniquity. were heaped upon you, till you were dyed through and through with it, like the scarlet that has been lying long a-soak in the dye, yet if the crimson blood of Jesus come into contact with your crimson sins, and they: — “Shall vanish all away, Though foul as hell before; Shall be dissolved beneath the sea, And shall be found no more.” Now, I know it is very easy when we do not feel our sins to trust in Christ, but the business of faith is to trust in Christ when you do feel your sins. Brethren, it would be cheap faith to take Christ as the saints’ Saviour, but it is the faith of God’s elect to take Him as the sinner’s Saviour. When I can see marks of grace in myself, to trust Christ is easy; but when I see no marks of anything good, but every mark of everything that is evil, and then come and cast myself upon Him, and believe that He can save me, even me, and rest myself upon Him—this is the faith which honours Christ and which will save us. May you have it, and such time as you are afraid of sin, may you trust in Christ.


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