FROM GUILTY TO FORGIVEN
Have you ever felt guilty? Modern Psychology tells us that guilt, first and foremost, is a feeling people have after doing something wrong, intentionally or accidentally, or after not doing something they should have done.
The Bible teaches all people are guilty, because, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” James wrote, “whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.”
Guilt is not just a guilt-feeling. There is true moral guilt before the holy God. Only the finished, substitutionary work of Jesus Christ on the cross is able to remove it.
The moment we accept Jesus as our Savior, our guilt is gone, once and for all. That is absolute. There are no degrees. Guilt is totally gone forever from the believer in Christ.
But what happens when a believer sins? The Spirit within us invites us to acknowledge and turn from our sin. John said, “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) When we confess our sin, fellowship is restored.
There may be guilt feelings that remain after we have confessed our sin. That psychological guilt can be stifling. Sometimes it does not seem possible to sort out true guilt from psychological guilt. God knows the distinction. Our responsibility is to deal with what we know to be sin and confess it. I can ask God to search me and help me to be honest in bringing my sin before Him. When I confess whatever I know is sin I bring it under the finished work of Jesus. When I have done that, all the true moral guilt is gone. The guilty feelings that remain are not true guilt, but psychological guilt-feelings. I can ask God to help me lay those aside by faith.
The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses me from all true guilt as many times as I need. It is wonderful to move from guilty to forgiven.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139:23-24)
Since we are so freely forgiven by God is there anyone you need to forgive?
If so, what is holding you back from forgiving?