God designed us to experience the emotions of guilt so that we would understand that we don’t have what it takes to stand before God. His intent is that our emotions of guilt should motivate us to seek Jesus Christ for forgiveness of our sin.
We need to see our sin from God’s perspective. Our very best, most righteous acts, are NOT ENOUGH to make us right with God and restore what has been broken by our sin.
Isaiah 64:6a But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;
Matthew 5:48 [Jesus] But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
There is NO WAY we can do this on our own. We can’t attain the standard of perfection by ourselves. We have a desperate need for a Savior.
2 Corinthians 7:8-11 I am not sorry that I sent that severe letter to you, though I was sorry at first, for I know it was painful to you for a little while. Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants His people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way. For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death. Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to see me, such zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong. You showed that you have done everything necessary to make things right.
Worldly sorrow weeps over getting caught, what we lost, and the pain of the consequences of our sin. Worldly sorrow buries us in a spiritual grave. Godly sorrow produces very different results. Godly sorrow means we are deeply grieved for the wrong we have committed against a holy God. Godly sorrow means we fall to our knees, confess our sins, and ask for His forgiveness. And don’t miss that godly sorrow leaves NO REGRET. Godly sorrow leads to true repentance – turning AWAY from sin and turning back to God.
Once we have experienced godly sorrow, confessed our sin and repented, we shouldn’t keep going returning to our old sin. That is like spitting in the face of God’s mercy. We shouldn’t even keep going over and over it in our mind, because when we do this, we are not really accepting God’s forgiveness. We are to receive God’s forgiveness and move forward, praising Him for His grace and mercy.
God’s forgiveness does more than just wipe the slate clean. It means our failures don’t get the last word in our life. God’s forgiveness sets us on a new (and much better) course for the future. When we are tempted to think on past sin that we have confessed and repented from, we should instead praise God for His forgiveness.
Philippians 1:6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
1 Timothy 1:12-16 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him, even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted his people. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief. Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus. This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.
There is no rest, no comfort, no peace apart from Jesus Christ. In our struggle through the hurts and pains of life, we must cling to Scripture’s teachings on God’s forgiveness.
Romans 3:23-24 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins.
When we are in Christ, ALL of our sins have been paid for, in full. We must let go of our sin, receive His forgiveness and walk in obedience to Him. God’s GRACE overcomes guilt and shame.
Romans 8:1-2 So now there is no condemnation (guilt, shame, regret, accusation, disgrace) for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.
Romans 8:38-39 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Jesus gives us what we have longed for in every relationship we’ve ever had – genuine love, complete security, and acceptance without the possibility of rejection.
When we are exhausted from our impossible struggle to try and make ourselves worthy and acceptable, we are ready to seek God’s grace. Then we can realize the incredible value of God’s grace, God’s mercy and God’s love.
Ephesians 1:16-17 I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God.
Ephesians 3:16-20 I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
If follow Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and you still struggle with feelings of guilt over past sins that you have SINCERELY confessed to God and repented from (turned away from), learn to remind yourself of this truth:
That sin is paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ, and IS forgiven.
God’s grace is GREATER than my feelings of guilt and shame.
You may need to remind yourself of this 100 times today, and 99 times tomorrow, and 98 times the day after that… but eventually your heart will accept the truth and GRACE WILL WIN!