“He doesn't treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs. And as far as sunrise is from sunset, he has separated us from our sins.” (Psalm 103:10,12)
When the Holy Spirit enters us as we are born again, we develop a quick and natural hatred for sin, particularly our own. As children of God, we understand that our sin hurts God – we despise it so much that it drives us to God in repentance. Thanks to the price Christ paid on the cross on our behalf, there is no condemnation for those who are in Him (Romans 8:1). But the enemy knows we hate our sin and he especially knows that regardless of what happens, we will continue to sin since it is a part of human nature directly from birth (Psalm 51:5). So with this knowledge Satan burdens us with something we like to call, guilt.
I always like to say that guilt and conviction are two completely different things. Conviction is what is impressed upon us by the Lord that drives us straight to Him in repentance – it makes us want to get right with God. Guilt is from the enemy, not God. It paralyzes us to our very core and drives us away from the Lord causing us to stumble in our walk with Him. Guilt can lead to fear, anxiety and so many other attributes that are not of the spirit of God. We are able to know this because in 1 Timothy 1 it tells us that God gave us a spirit of power, love, and self control – not fear! (1 Timothy 1:7) But in order to truly decipher how we feel in response to our sin, it is important to know about guilt and it’s forms….
There are two types of guilt – the first kind of guilt is a Godly sorrow that leads you straight to the Lord in repentance. John 16:8 says “... when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin.” This conviction about our sin comes from the Spirit and brings forth repentance. Once a person repents, guilt should lift and joy is restored to that person.
But when you do this, do you still feel a feeling of heaviness hanging around? This leads to our second kind of guilt which is condemnation from satan. This is false! As stated above, we all know that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1). Friends, remember that Jesus has forgiven you! Your sin is no longer relevant to God – He does not hold it against you. Of course, we are all called to repent and take our sin seriously but we can rest argue that it does not define us anymore. You are no longer a slave, in bondage to your sin. Anything or anyone that tells you otherwise is not from the Lord. This guilt can wreck your confidence in Jesus and can create a wall that is built between you and the Lord.
So how can we go about avoiding this guilt? First, read the Word and take it for what it says. When God tells you through His Word that you are a forgiven child of God Almighty – He means it! Anything that says otherwise, is a lie! Proverbs 30:5 says “every word of God proves true.” This means that when God tells you that you are forgiven and your sins have been blotted out by the blood of our Savior, it's not a lie. Even in 1 Timothy 6:3 it says that anyone who preaches a word contrary to the sounds teachings of Jesus lacks understanding. Jesus says what He means and means what He says.
Second, understand you're forgiven. Hold fast to the fact that Jesus laid down His life to save yours. The sacrifice He made was a declaration of freedom and forgiveness. His sacrifice is to be deeply and firmly embrace by us.
Third, repent and go to God about your sin. There is nothing better than confessing your sins to the Lord and leaving that time knowing you're on the right page with the Lord. It's refreshing to know that repentance leads to new beginnings. Acts 3:19 says, “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out..” Repentance leads to forgiveness from the Lord and the eradication of the sin we approached Him about.
Lastly, forgive yourself. You are not defined by your sin. The reason Psalms 103:10,12 were chosen above was because when we hold onto our sin as individuals, we hold onto it because we feel it is the be all and tell all of who we are as people. We live in a society that teaches the eye for an eye mentality – that the way we are to be treated should be equal to the weight of our sin. But God, in Psalm 103, reassures us that we are separated from our sin, it does not define us and the grace of God outweighs all sin and flaw within all who call upon His Name.
Ladies, let go of all guilt you feel because of your sin. Go to Christ about it and know that you are forgiven. Understand that the enemy will try to convince you that your sin is greater than the Lord’s forgiveness but His love is unconditional. Nothing you do could ever withdraw the Lord’s constantly outstretched hand to you.
Study the Word and grasp the concept of His forgiveness. Are you experiencing guilt from the enemy or conviction from the Holy Spirit? If guilt, pray to the Lord to help you overcome and understand His forgiveness to you.