There are very few things in life that can have as much impact on a person’s mind and life than guilt. You could be the most popular and loved person at your school, have all of the friends, know all of the important people, but still carry guilt. This guilt will eat away at you. After the friends, after the day is done, you still carry your guilt. You could be a top CEO with plenty of money and respect. But there’s nothing that your money and respect can do to eliminate your guilt.
Guilt knows no boundaries and has no limits as to who it plagues. But what is our response to guilt? Our response to guilt is usually to DO something about it! A man with a guilty conscience goes to great lengths to give to the poor. He goes through great lengths to appease his guilt so that his guilt will give him peace of mind. This is not at all uncommon- Adam and Eve, out of their guilt, tried to quiet up their guilty conscience by working, also. Genesis 3:7 says
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
The first thing that fallen man did when they were guilty of their trespass was to make their own covering- a way to appease their guilt. This represents a flaw in human thinking that says “In order for me to appease my guilt, I must do works- provide my own covering!” This is wrong. It is gut instinct, but it is wrong.
Let’s look at Romans 3:20. It tells us:
Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
The “law” is the Law of Moses. What the passage is saying, in context, is that there are no deeds that man can do to make him just in the sight of God, being a sinner. Let’s say that I stole a CD from a friend. I begin to feel guilty. I could give the CD back, and give out free CD’s to people for the rest of my life, it will not absolve the guilt of me being a thief. My conscience will bear that guilt for as long as I am alive. Some may say, “Well, gee Tony! Isn’t that a good thing to do after you stole? Give it back?” My answer is yes, but it will not resolve our guilt. The cure to our guilt is found in the most counter intuitive way- putting our trust in Christ and receiving forgiveness. Look at what Colossians 2:13-14 says:
And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
By faith, the Lord has forgiven us of ALL trespasses. By faith, they are all taken out of the way. Christ bore our guilt. Christ bore our shame. When we enter in through the narrow gate (repentance of sins and faith in Christ alone for salvation), we now are declared “Not Guilty!” Not because we have no offences, but because of the significance of Christ’s atoning work on the cross, taking our sin away!
Now, as a Christian, I understand that Christ took my guilt. My conscience is now guilt free. I do not have sleepless nights wrestling with guilt, trying every human effort to appease it’s constant call. I have been set free in my mind, and because of that, I glorify God with my mind, with my lips, and with my life!
Even for us as Christians, we still make mistakes. We lose our temper sometimes. We say things that we wish we hadn’t. We sometimes put things before God when He is to be our greatest prize. Guilt can at times creep back in. Don’t let it! Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us:
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Remind yourself that it is the gift of God, not human merit, why we are saved. When we make errors, remember Christ, who was tested and didn’t sin. Keep your eyes on Him, and with boldness, approach Him. Hebrews 4:15-16 tells us:
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Thanks be to God who invites us to His throne of grace! No longer do we carry our own guilt, to those who are in Christ. What a relief it is to be in Jesus!
For additional information on Tony Stone: www.tstonemusic.com