Sin has consequences. But one of the most devastating effects of sin is something that we can’t necessarily see with our eyes. It’s something that occurs on the inside of us, in our hearts. It may display outward symptoms just like a fever is a symptom of an inward infection. But the real problem is not on the outside, its on the inside. The devastating effects of sin which I’m talking about are guilt and fear.
Guilt and fear manifested itself almost immediately after sin entered the world. It caused Adam and Eve to cover themselves and to hide from the presence of God. And it is still the same today. Guilt and fear still causes us to try to cover up our sin and to avoid being in the presence of God. It may manifest itself outwardly by us no longer praying or ceasing to meet with other Christians. The barrier that sin places between us and God is the result of our own actions.
The world we live in offers an almost infinite number of ways for numbing the effects of guilt and fear. But the world in its wisdom has no answer for its removal. We are powerless, there is nothing that we can give to God to pay back for our disobedience, there is nothing we can say to God that will erase our actions, so we do what Adam and Eve did, we try our best to cover up our sin and we avoid being in His presence.
But God seeks us out, even though we may try to hide. He tells us he knows of our sin, even though we try to cover it up. He offers us a path back to him; even though we go astray. Listen to these verses from Hebrews 10:19-24:
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
The blood of Jesus renews our confidence to stand in the presence of God. The blood of Jesus cleanses our hearts and frees us from our guilty conscience. What we were powerless to do God accomplished by sending his Son into the world. The writer of Hebrews states that we have an advocate before God who understands our weaknesses and exchanges are guilt and fear for grace and confidence. He says: (Hebrews 4:14-16):
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.