JESUS REDEEMS PETER AND REMOVES THE GUILT OF HIS SIN
“Religion says, ‘I can work off my guilt.’ But Jesus says, ‘I cancelled your guilt at the cross.'” — John Piper
What happens when our guilt keeps us from walking in the freedom of divine forgiveness? Guilt and regrets can well up within us when we feel we have failed God. Perhaps we question whether He truly forgives us. It seems impossible to us. Yet we are promised that He not only forgives our sin, He removes the guilt of our sin. He desires that we walk free and unburdened by our past.
Living in guilt implies that we have not accepted the mercy of our Savior. We may think that our sin is too great. Yet no sin is so great that Christ is not greater still. Perhaps we believe our guilt to be a kind of penance for our sin… that we need to pay for our sin in some way. If that were true, then Christ died for nothing. We need not punish ourselves when God is not. He is not about punishment and condemnation… He is about grace and redemption. He has already forgiven and forgotten.
“‘Truly I tell you,’ Jesus answered, ‘today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice, you yourself will disown Me three times.’ But Peter insisted emphatically, ‘Even if I have to die with You, I will never disown You.'” — Mark 14:30-31
The apostle Peter experienced deep guilt and remorse. Jesus predicted that, before the rooster crowed at break of day, Peter would disown Him three times… a prophecy Peter vehemently refused to accept. How could he ever disown the One whom he had just recently claimed to be the Messiah, the Son of the Living God?
It’s the Garden of Gethsemane… a crowd arrives armed with swords and clubs, sent by the chief priests and elders, to arrest Jesus. Peter follows his Teacher into the inner courtyard of the home of the high priest, where the trial before the chief priests and Sanhedrin is soon to take place. Around the warmth of a fire, Peter is three times accused of being a follower of Jesus. He denies the claims, each time becoming more emphatic in his refusals. At that moment, a rooster crows a second time… to the fulfillment of prophecy.
“The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: ‘Before the rooster crows today, you will disown Me three times.’ And he went outside and wept bitterly.” — Luke 22:61:62
Guilt must have pierced the heart of Peter when he saw his Lord. He breaks down and, in repentance, sobs with deep regret. How could Peter recover from his grief and remorse at having denied his Messiah?
Upon Christ’s resurrection, while His apostles are in hiding, He appears to them all. Jesus approaches Peter, and three times asks if Peter loves Him. Each time Peter responds more vehemently… yes, he surely loves Him. Three times he expresses his undying love for his Savior. Jesus, in His great mercy, is showing Peter that he has been forgiven. Peter need no longer experience guilt… for he has been redeemed by his Lord.
“I acknowledged my sin to You and did not hide my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and You forgave the guilt of my sin.” — Psalm 32 5
Christ is the perfect sacrificial Lamb who died for the sins of all mankind. Jesus not only forgives our sins. In His redemptive grace, He frees us from the captivity of guilt, transforming us by the Spirit’s power. When we accept His atonement, His living water washes away all our sin and guilt.
Is guilt weighing you down, holding you back from the wonderful plans God has for your life? No amount of guilt can change the past. Only Jesus can redeem our souls from this bondage. He cancelled our guilt at the cross. He cast our sin as far away as the east is from the west. The baggage that weighs us down is lifted off only by our Redeemer.
Believe in the forgiveness of Christ. Believe in His perfect atonement for your sins. Accept the righteousness of Jesus in exchange for your sin. Allow Him to wash away every sin, every regret, every failure. Allow Him to free you of the shackles of your guilt. Step out of captivity into a new and liberated life. The only thing you have to lose is the guilt of your past.