When a Christian doesn’t have guilt, then it is easier to celebrate the salvation Jesus gave us. But when we struggle with real or false guilt then it is harder for praise to gush forth from our lips. For those who love God and care about the truth, praising God when caught in a sin isn’t always easy. However, it is desirable because Jesus doesn’t only save us from our guilt, but from sinful acts through His grace.
Guilt And Our Conscience
Some people’s consciences are healthy, whereas others are less so. How do we get a defective conscience? We get one when we trust a person as a good source (in an area where it is not warranted). Or when we swallow a lie in the presence of convincingly carefully packaged truths. It is true that in some cases our beliefs can condemn us because of our actions. And for one person something might not be a sin as it is for another (see Romans 14:1-4). For those who take their Bible seriously and attempt to live by Jesus’ words, having a clean conscience may not always be that easy to hold onto. Thank God that there are forgiveness and grace. Satan always accuses us but will also accuse us of guilt when we go against interpretations of certain Bible verses that we wrongly buy into. Many times our interpretations of the Scriptures can be spot on, but other times they are misled by the enemy.
Ultimately forgiveness comes from Jesus as our Saviour. So we go to Him when we have guilt especially when we don’t know how to get free from it. Sometimes we can be caught in serious sins. Other times we are hampered by a moral code that is so legalistic and hard to understand. But it has a hold on us because we either faultily accrued it over the years or others we respect to hold the code to be true too. We are all impressionable to some degree and need to watch ourselves carefully.
The Good News or Gospel means that we are called to have a change of mind and believe in Jesus as Lord and Saviour. A change of mind has to do with giving up what Jesus calls sin (i.e. bad attitudes, hurting people and breaking commands from the Bible). Now we aren’t perfect. So just how much of a change of mind does Jesus expect from us for Salvation to be genuine?
I think Jesus accepts us when we commit to doing things His way through living a humble faith in Him even when we don’t know how to get there. We are surprised by how much moral unhealthiness can exist in our hearts. It is often hidden from us because of our blind spots even as followers of Jesus. What’s more, we can be surprised by how much Jesus still loves us despite the unhealthy baggage we carry from our pasts. This baggage often still influences our decisions and opinions to this day. Moreover, we can agree with God that our behavior is sinful, but not know how to repent from it. I know that this has been the case for me. We have one battle to fight at a time. “The righteous fall down seven times and get up each time; the wicked fall down once and never get up.” (Proverbs 24:16)
Guilt: Final Words
Some guilt continues because we intellectualize forgiveness. But instead we embrace God’s forgiveness emotionally. And when we confess our sins to Him, then it helps to fortify us from old and new temptations and grants us a measure of joy and peace! Lighthearted confessions can’t do what genuine confessions do. 1 John 1:9 says that when we “confess our sins to God, He is trustworthy and upright to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. It helps tremendously to emotionally receive and hold onto this promise during and after confession. It allows God’s grace and peace to get deeper inside of us. Thus the sin compulsions weaken over time as we navigate the learning curves God has us on when it comes to repentance! It is important to be teachable and willing to learn from God and other vehicles of meaning and purpose! We together have the mind of Christ! Not separately!
For an approach on how to repent from sins that works for me see my book called: Dismantling the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil Within So love Can Thrive. Both grace and truth are necessary for the transformation of our minds and hearts so love, kindness, and compassion come forth instead of sin.