Guilt can be like a poison working insidiously on the inside to create havoc in our thoughts and emotions. The antidote is to understand why we feel guilty and to know how to apply scriptural teachings on the subject.
Misunderstanding grace results in guilty feelings, which make us think that in order to be a “good” Christian, we must clean up our act ourselves. In contrast, the message of grace is this: At the cross, Jesus paid our sin debt in full and declared us righteous in His sight. We do not have to measure up; through Christ, we have been made acceptable exactly as we are.
Another thing that can make us feel guilty is confusion about confession and forgiveness. Some believers are concerned about hidden sins that they haven’t yet identified; others worry about whether they’ve confessed enough to be forgiven. It is true that 1 John 1:9 tells us to confess our wrongdoing, but doing so is not what makes us forgiven. It is what Jesus did at Calvary that provides forgiveness of all our sins.
Refusing to let go of the past can also produce guilty emotions, because some of us feel undeserving of forgiveness—knowing what sins we have committed can lead to an ongoing sense of shame. Jesus Christ died on the cross so that all our sins—past, present, and future—could be forgiven. This is part of the miracle of grace.
The truth of God’s Word frees us from the prison of false guilt and allows us to live life His way. Are you walking in freedom?
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