1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
6 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise the words of prophets, 21 but test everything; hold fast to what is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil.
23 May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.
"It's all my fault;' we have often said. I know I have had to say it more than I care to admit. Maybe we were not paying attention and hit another car. Or we lost our temper with our children or spouse. Maybe we did not think about someone else’s feelings and we hurt them. That horrible feeling that follows is guilt. And we feel it in our hearts and know it in our heads. It is our fault. We are to blame.
Both the Old and New Testaments tells us that Jesus came to take that guilt and blame away. In Jesus, we are liberated from weight of our sin, set free from the sin that wasily binds us. Isaiah 53 says “he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him.” 1 Peter 2:24 says “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed."
Paul in today’s reading calls Him the God of peace. Even though sin is our fault, and it is no matter how we try to explain our responsibility away, yet God sent Jesus to make peace, to be our peace. It could be said that Jesus took the fault. The blame was laid on Him. So that we can truthfully say, "It's not my fault:' That probably sounds and feels inappropriate to say before God, but it is true in Jesus. It once was our fault. But now the guilt and blame of our sins is placed on Jesus. We are blameless through him.
Now this is a message we need to hear in our world today, that in Jesus we can begin a new past. Our world makes little room for redemption, forgiveness and new life. The world may uncover something of our past and seek to point fingers at us saying “it’s your fault.” But not God, God’s steadfast love is new every morning, that means his love and mercy never diminishes toward us.
I find it so powerful in our reading today, to notice what the Apostle Paul says is blameless. Not just a part of us, but our whole “spirit and soul and body.” It makes me think that instead of talking about ''feeling guilty", perhaps we need to ask what it's like to feel blameless. Does it feel awesome and hopeful? Jump-up-and-down joyful? Or maybe just peaceful? Whatever the feeling, it is true in Jesus, We are blameless.