Romans 8:1 (HCSB) Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus,
Romans 5:1 (HCSB) Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Merriam Webster Dictionary
- 1: the fact of having committed a breach of conduct especially violating law and involving a penalty; broadly : guilty conduct
- 2a : the state of one who has committed an offense especially consciously
- b : feelings of culpability especially for imagined offenses or from a sense of inadequacy : self-reproach
- 3: a feeling of culpability for offenses
Guilt over doing something that you believe is wrong is a normal emotion, however guilt or living under the weight of remorse for no real reason is not normal. That kind of guilt may become shame. Shame, however can be used for good when it motivates us to do the right thing.
Luke 14:8-9 (HCSB)8 “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, don’t recline at the best place, because a more distinguished person than you may have been invited by your host.9 The one who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then in humiliation, you will proceed to take the lowest place.
Romans 1:24-25 (HCSB)24 Therefore God delivered them over in the cravings of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves.25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served something created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen.
Ephesians 5:11-12 (HCSB)11 Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead expose them.12 For it is shameful even to mention what is done by them in secret.
We need to be careful though because Satan twists those emotions of guilt and shame. People living under the burden of them become uncertain of God’s love and in many cases have no self-confidence.
Guilt can cause us to repent for our actions and move us to reconciliation with those we have hurt or disappointed. But as I said before we want to be careful not to become too hypersensitive to our faults. We sometimes go through periods when we are afraid and shy away from anything that might be perceived as pleasure because we are terrified that those perceptions are somehow offending God.
Even Martin Luther had a problem in this area when he first became a monk. He would spend hours confessing his sins to the point of exasperating the other monks. He felt he needed to openly confess, even his minor sin and unhealthy thoughts (a sin is a sin and offending to God but some sins are worse than others). One of his advisers told him “My son, God is not angry with you: it is you who are angry with God”. Martin Luther came to the realization that his fear of sinning was actually a lack of faith, in both his ability to live pure in a world that is impure and In Jesus’ provision for his sin. Here’s what he concluded “To diagnose smallpox you do not have to probe each pustule, nor do you heal each separately”.
There is both good guilt and false, or bad guilt.
Scripture is clear that we are all guilty before a holy God.
Romans 3:23 (HCSB) For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
1 John 1:8-10 (HCSB)8 If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.10 If we say, “We don’t have any sin,” we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
Guilt itself is not a bad thing...it’s a fact of our fallen nature.
However, when it comes to feeling guilty, we need to know the difference between true guilt and false guilt.
Good guilt promotes repentance.
2 Corinthians 7:10 (HCSB) For godly grief produces a repentance not to be regretted and leading to salvation, but worldly grief produces death.
John 16:7-11 (HCSB)7 Nevertheless, I am telling you the truth. It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send Him to you.8 When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment:9 About sin, because they do not believe in Me;10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see Me;11 and about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. --the Lord's effective tool for prompting repentance--is a gift that helps us find the right path.
Guilt serves its purpose if it causes us to look to God who promises forgiveness and restoration. Once a believer confesses, their sins have been forgiven and they should no longer feel any guilt. Satan, however is often able to attack the believer with thoughts that the things they have done are so bad that they can never be really forgiven. Those attacks can create false guilt.
Jesus not only came to cleanse us from our sins, but also set us free from the guilt of our sins so that our consciences are clear of the guilt of our past.
1 John 1:9 (HCSB) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Romans 8:35, 38-39 (HCSB) Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or anguish or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 38 For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, ⌊hostile⌋ powers,39 height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!
The cure for good guilt
C. J. Mahaney says in his book,The Cross-Centered Life, “It’s impossible to resolve issues of yesterday by doing better tomorrow.” No, getting rid of true guilt requires godly sorrow leading to repentance.
2 Corinthians 7:10 (HCSB)10 For godly grief produces a repentance not to be regretted and leading to salvation, but worldly grief produces death.
Once the sin has been repented of, the result is a rejoicing in the grace of God.
1 Peter 1:8-9 (HCSB)8 You love Him, though you have not seen Him. And though not seeing Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy,9 because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
It’s possible to be innocent of something yet feel guilty about it—this is false guilt.
Guilt is one of Satan's biggest weapons against us. It tears us down, it makes us feel dirty, unworthy, robs of us of our faith and confidence in Christ Jesus. Satan encourages false guilt which is taking responsibility for things outside your control and then condemning yourself for not changing things. Satan then uses these emotions as a weapon in his spiritual warfare against you. Your defense is the word of God as I wrote in my Spiritual Warfare Series.
The church can sometimes cause false guilt through labeling certain behaviors or thoughts as wrong and then people feel ashamed for doing or thinking them. Some legalistic churches cause feelings of guilt for not tithing, or listening to certain genres of music or watching certain television shows or going to see certain movies.
Self-condemnation adversely affects your relationship with Jesus. Instead of enjoying the peace of God, you become paralyzed by shame fear or rejection. You are waiting for judgement. Through false guilt Satan causes you to think not that “My action was bad” (good guilt), but “I am bad” (false guilt).
False guilt can result in depression. It can cause you to feel that God has given up on you and you may even question your salvation. False guilt is self-centered not God-centered. You begin to think that you’ll never be good enough.
Jesus did not come to accuse or condemn you. If you have accepted Him as you Savior He has restored you and made you righteous before God so your guilt is removed. Here’s an example of Jesus’ forgiveness. If He forgave the woman caught in adultery imagine how ready He is to forgive you and take away your guilt and shame.
John 8:10-11 (HCSB)10 When Jesus stood up, He said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”11 “No one, Lord,” she answered. “Neither do I condemn you,” said Jesus. “Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.”]
The cure for false guilt
If you’re a Christian confess any known sin. As I wrote earlier;
1 John 1:9 (HCSB)9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Once a sin is forgiven it’s forgiven forever;
Psalm 103:12 (HCSB) As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
If you’re not a Christian I want to tell you about the grace of God. It’s free and based on Christ’s work for you. His work and God’s grace are greater than your sin and guilt.
Romans 5:20-21 (HCSB)20 The law came along to multiply the trespass. But where sin multiplied, grace multiplied even more21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through righteousness, resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
To receive forgiveness of you sins and to remove all your guilt do this;
Romans 10:9-10 (HCSB)9 If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.10 One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.
If you're ready to have your guilt lifted pray;
“God, I know that I am a sinner. I know that I deserve the consequences of my sin. However, I am trusting in Jesus Christ as my Savior. I believe that His death and resurrection provided for my forgiveness. I trust in Jesus and Jesus alone as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank you Lord, for saving me and forgiving me! Amen!”
If you have just prayed this prayer, in all sincerity, call, text, email, Tweet, change your Facebook status and tell somebody, leave me a comment here or send me an email me Here. Then find a bible believing church and start to fellowship with other believers. Welcome to the family of God.
Romans 8:1-2 (HCSB)1 Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus,2 because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
You are declared NOT GUILTY!