April 23 I Tuesday
2 Samuel 16-18
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” —1 John 1:9
We all know what guilt feels like. It is indiscriminate of race, culture, gender and religion, and it continues to be regarded by psychologists as damaging to our emotional health. In Scripture, however, guilt is depicted as a good thing. Part of the Holy Spirit’s ministry is to convict us through guilt in order that we may confess our sin and be forgiven. It works in the same way pain does, letting us know when something is wrong.
There are two kinds of guilt the Bible speaks of. In Revelation 12:10, we are told, “For the accuser of our brothers and sisters who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.” This accuser is Satan, and part of his work is to accuse and condemn us before God regarding past sin that has already been forgiven. He is the peddler of this false guilt, which we need to be delivered from, but there is also true guilt, which comes when we violate the law of God. This is a genuinely sorrowful feeling of guilt that leads a person to repentance. It is the work of the Holy Spirit, who convicts us of guilt not to condemn us but to forgive us, cleanse us and wipe the slate clean.
The best reaction we can have in situations where we know we have sinned is to admit our wrongdoing. We come clean and say to Jesus, “I am guilty.” He will forgive us, and a forgiven, repentant person behaves differently. When the Spirit of God comes to work in our lives, our consciences are renewed, and we are able to start fresh. We cannot, however, use the cross of Christ as a doormat, continuing in willful sin because we know forgiveness is readily available. Jesus is not out there carte blanche simply forgiving and forgiving. He is in us to bring about true repentance, which is turning away from sin and wanting His righteousness expressed in our lives.
Guilt often determines how we behave, so we need to be able to distinguish the condemnation of false guilt from the conviction of true guilt. When we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, we know our sins are forgiven and we are cleansed in Christ. We are to let go of past sin that only condemns and remember the new person we are in Christ. Though guilt is generally looked upon as a negative influence, it is actually a tool God uses to keep us humbly repentant and dependent on Him. As we will never be sinless in this life, true guilt is a wonderful gift from God that deepens and furthers our walk with Him.
Prayer: Father in Heaven, I ask for Your help in fighting false guilt that comes from Satan. Keep me in humble repentance, and thank You for forgiving me.