Answer: Everyone has sinned, and one of the results of sin is guilt. We can be thankful for guilty feelings because they drive us to seek forgiveness. The moment a person turns from sin to Jesus Christ in faith, his sin is forgiven. Repentance is part of the faith that leads to salvation (Matthew 3:2; 4:17; Acts 3:19).
In Christ, even the most heinous sins are blotted out (see 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 for a list of unrighteous acts that can be forgiven). Salvation is by grace, and grace forgives. After a person is saved, he will still sin, and when he does, God still promises forgiveness. “But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One” (1 John 2:1).
Freedom from sin, however, does not always mean freedom from guilty feelings. Even when our sins are forgiven, we still remember them. Also, we have a spiritual enemy, called “the accuser of our brothers” (Revelation 12:10) who relentlessly reminds us of our failures, faults, and sins. When a Christian experiences feelings of guilt, he or she should do the following things:
1) Confess all known, previously unconfessed sin. In some cases, feelings of guilt are appropriate because confession is needed. Many times, we feel guilty because we are guilty! (See David’s description of guilt and its solution in Psalm 32:3-5.)
2) Ask the Lord to reveal any other sin that may need confessing. Have the courage to be completely open and honest before the Lord. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).
3) Trust the promise of God that He will forgive sin and remove guilt, based on the blood of Christ (1 John 1:9; Psalm 85:2; 86:5; Romans 8:1).
4) On occasions when guilty feelings arise over sins already confessed and forsaken, reject such feelings as false guilt. The Lord has been true to His promise to forgive. Read and meditate on Psalm 103:8-12.
5) Ask the Lord to rebuke Satan, your accuser, and ask the Lord to restore the joy that comes with freedom from guilt (Psalm 51:12).
Psalm 32 is a very profitable study. Although David had sinned terribly, he found freedom from both sin and guilty feelings. He dealt with the cause of guilt and the reality of forgiveness. Psalm 51 is another good passage to investigate. The emphasis here is confession of sin, as David pleads with God from a heart full of guilt and sorrow. Restoration and joy are the results.
Finally, if sin has been confessed, repented of, and forgiven, it is time to move on. Remember that we who have come to Christ have been made new creatures in Him. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Part of the “old” which has gone is the remembrance of past sins and the guilt they produced. Sadly, some Christians are prone to wallowing in memories of their former sinful lives, memories which should have been dead and buried long ago. This is pointless and runs counter to the victorious Christian life God wants for us. A wise saying is “If God has saved you out of a sewer, don’t dive back in and swim around.”
Lord God Almighty, my Abba Father, help me live my life in such a way that it is consistent and complementary to the Gospel. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Trusting in God is one of the hardest things to do as a Christian. Life seems like a mystery and as we observe life around us…sometimes we wonder if God is even involved with us at all. It’s not easy to believe and trust Him with everything going on with us. Is He REALLY listening?
We want to believe in Him, but why is it so hard? Trusting in God is vital to our spiritual lives, yet our faith is so weak. If we only knew the amazing way that the Lord would open up to us if we would just open up to Him in belief. And the Lord has done an interesting thing…the more we trust in Him…the more He rewards us and reveals Himself to us. But when we doubt Him and don’t have faith, nothing ever happens. He doesn’t try to prove Himself or surprise us with a revelation to show us that we’re wrong.
You see the point is…it’s all up to you. If you don’t believe that God will do much for you… then guess what…He pretty much won’t. You’re life will likely stay the same old way for a long time. But if you trust in God to come and make your life new…be ready for Him to come in like gang busters. It’s very exciting.
This is the key: Belief and trust…and keep on trusting regardless of what is going on around you, even if things seem hopeless. Relinquish your mind’s control over all situations.Take your hands off and let go of your fear & unbelief. Stop trying to figure things out. TRUST GOD TO WORK.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful, in prayer”
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful, in prayer” (Romans 12:12).
Hope means to believe, desire or trust. Anxiety and worry stifle hope. Some days it’s hard to hope. Oftentimes we hardly dare hope because we might be disappointed, but to be joyful in hope? If God is our hope then hope is well founded. Instead of nail biting hope, we can choose instead, to be joyful, in hope.
Patient means long-suffering; quietly and steadily persevering. Do you ever feel like the most impatient person on the planet? Some days I do. God doesn’t take afflictions from us. They’re common to us all. He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. Through the presence of His Holy Spirit he dwells within us, casting out fear, helping us to move deeper into the waters of uncertainty knowing that as we strive for patience he will guide us through the times of waiting.
Faithful means constant; reliable. Prayer is the key to joyful hope. Prayer is the key to patience in trials. Prayer brings us into the very presence of the Almighty God, the creator of all things, the ruler of all. He draws close to listen to you this day.
Dear Father God, thank you for the sacrifice of Your dear Son whose precious blood was shed for us. Thank you for the indwelling presence of your Holy Spirit who guides us each day. May we be encouraged as You teach us how to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer, Amen.
If you meditate on this verse from Romans 12:12, how will it change your day?
The Apostle Paul knew that each step of his journey was put in place by His Savior. He learned how to wait on God for all that he needed. He was able to be content even in suffering and persecution because he trusted in Christ. Paul expressed his trust in 2 Timothy 1:12 when he said, ” For I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that he is more than able to care for that which I give to him for this day“. That is faith in action!
God is not late to help us even when all hope appears to be dwindling down. Even the timing of Christ’ suffering and death on the cross was planned long before the world was formed. It happened at the perfect, precise moment that God chose it to be. There was no detail left undone as Jesus completed the work of redemption for a lost world. Sin and death was overcome by the cross as Jesus uttered this powerful promise saying, “It is finished!”
Take heart, dear beloved, and know without a doubt that your situation is not dead. It is being worked out in the timing of God who already knows the outcome. There is an eternal purpose for your suffering. You are not waiting for God to show up for he already has. You are holding on for the perfection of the plan he is now working out in your life.
The struggles and trials you suffer are always an opportunity for God to reveal his power to you. Each time a painful situation brings you to your knees, use that position to give glory to God! It frustrates the devil when you do. Never let the enemy convince you to surrender in the heat of battle for you are nowhere near being defeated. You have been made more than a conqueror through Christ and he is not about to let you fail.