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Saturday, March 2, 2002

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Micah 7:14-15, 18-20
Psalm 103
Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

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the guilty party

"Who is there like You, the God Who removes guilt...treading underfoot our guilt?" —Micah 7:18, 19

At the time of the Exodus, God was merciful and compassionate, yet "not declaring the guilty guiltless, but punishing children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation for their fathers' wickedness!" (Ex 34:7) Guilt clung to people who transgressed against the law of Moses, and an entire system of sacrificial guilt offerings was put in place to remove guilt (see Lv 5:14ff; 7:1ff). "Such is the offering for guilt; the penalty of the guilt must be paid to the Lord" (Lv 5:19).

In the New Covenant, it is still difficult and costly to remove guilt. The difference is that Jesus has borne the cost and difficulty, instead of us. "The Lord laid upon Him the guilt of us all" (Is 53:6). The only One Who is not guilty (see Lk 23:4) died in our place.

Are you guilt-ridden by past sins? You may know that you've been forgiven, but your feeling of guilt remains. Can you truly believe that Jesus desires to take away your guilt completely? If you ask Him, not only does He remove your guilt (Mi 7:18), He tramples it (Mi 7:19). When He is finished trampling your guilt to pieces, He then throws it halfway around the world (Ps 103:12), "into the depths of the sea" (Mi 7:19). God is telling you through His word that your guilt is gone. Guilt can't cling to you; Jesus has removed it (Mi 7:18). Stop the guilt-trip and rejoice in your freedom. In Jesus, the guilty party (Lk 15:25ff).

Prayer:  Father, Your "mercy endures forever" (Ps 136:1). May I spend my life leading people to You, Who are Mercy and Love.

Promise:  "For as the heavens are high above the earth, so surpassing is His kindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He put our transgressions from us." —Ps 103:11-12

Praise:  For decades, Fred and Pamela have lovingly cared for mentally retarded children. They have adopted several of them and have brought them up in the faith.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by one of our editors.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, August 18, 2001

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 25, 2001