Zechariah 3:10: “‘In that day,’ says the LORD of hosts, / ‘Everyone will invite his neighbor / Under his vine and under his fig tree.'”

September 12th, 2018 by Pastor Ed in devotional

To “invite his neighbor under his vine” is a common Old Testament expression for prosperity and peace, but here it is speaking of the peace that will come during the millennial rule of Messiah. No one can be at peace internally, mentally, or spiritually unless they are free from guilt. Many people are paralyzed and victimized by events from their past. It may be some shameful or bad thing that they did or that was done to them, but they cannot feel forgiven or released from the guilt. Some mistakenly try to blame the church for trying to use guilt to control people (and that has happened to those caught in some religious cults), but Scripture says guilt already exists in the hearts of people who have broken God’s commandments. Standards of morality vary somewhat from society to society, but all people share an inner conscience of basic morality.

Several decades ago a missionary friend who was serving in northern Brazil wrote about a native who entered the village. The man was very nervous and fidgety, his brow covered in sweat. He seemed uneasy even in the presence of his friends. Later, the missionary learned that this man had just killed someone from a neighboring tribe. In this Amazonian society, it was not considered wrong to kill a member of another tribe, but this man was clearly suffering under the weight of a guilty conscience. No one had to tell him, his own heart told him that he had done something terribly wrong.

Guilt can be an important and beneficial thing when it gives a person moral guidance. Sociopaths are people who have deadened and calloused their own moral compass of conscience. So what are we to do then with guilt when it arises in us? Forgiveness is available to all, but it takes faith to appropriate it. With faith, we first recognize that we have sinned by turning and confessing it to God. Then the fruit of that repentance, which shows we took it seriously, is a change in our life, perhaps restitution, and certainly acceptance of God’s forgiveness.

“LORD, we are so grateful for the cross of Jesus Christ where You paid the penalty for our sins.”