Today’s Scripture: Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. James 4:17

A man walked into a restaurant and sat down. The waiter came by and the man asked for a glass of water. When the waiter brought the glass of water, the man threw it in the waiter’s face. The man said, “I am so sorry. I did not mean to do that; it is a compulsion that I have. Please forgive me.”

The waiter said, “Well sir, you better not come back in this restaurant until you get help for this compulsion.” Months passed and the man came back into the restaurant. He happened to get the exact same waiter and asked for a glass of water.

The waiter replied, “No, I don’t think so.” The man pleaded his case, stating that he had been receiving help from a psychiatrist for his compulsive problem. The waiter reluctantly brought a glass of water and set it down. The man picked it up and threw it in the waiter’s face. The waiter could not believe what had happened.

“I thought you were cured,” the waiter yelled.

The man replied, “Well, I still have the compulsion, but now I don’t feel guilty about it.”

When you and I knowingly violate God’s will, we have committed sin. One of the consequences of that sin is that we experience an immediate sense of guilt. That guilt does something for us – it informs us that we are a lawbreaker. It informs us that we stand in debt to the law, that we cannot pay the penalty required for our sin.

Sin is not just disobeying God’s Word or His will – sin is also not obeying God’s Word. One is the sin of commission, the other is the sin of omission. When we neglect to do what we know we should do, we are committing a sin against the will of God. That also produces an immediate sense of guilt.

So, we see that guilt is something that is built in. It is a good thing. It will alert us to our problem. If we did not have guilt, in a way it would be somewhat like having leprosy. Leprosy destroys the nerve endings, preventing the leper from knowing something is damaging his body. The leper loses the sensation of pain and can no longer sense when something is wrong.

Guilt is like that pain sensation that God has built into us when He created us. When we disobey God, we feel guilt. This guilt comes whether we know what is right and we are just being disobedient, or if we are just not doing what we should do. If we were not alerted to wrongdoing, we would not seek the Savior. A person cannot be saved if they do not think they need a Savior.

Thankfully, God did not just give us the gift of guilt. He gave us the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ His Son. Jesus went to the cross, died in our place, and took the penalty for our sin and the guilt of all our sin. Through His completed work, we can have eternal life and be free from the guilt of sin.

If you have not made the decision to accept this offer of eternal life, I beg of you, do it today.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder