Feeling Guilty

  • In the Bible, “guilty” is used in its courtroom context, not as we use it to describe a “guilty conscience.” So, we need to look for different words.
  • Mourn: Paul told the Corinthian Christians that they should have mourned over the sin of the man whose conduct was ruining the effectiveness of the church (1 Corinthians 5).  Ezra mourned over the sins of some of the returning Israelites and the effect this had on the progress of the restoration (Ezra 10:6).
  • Hebrews 10 has the most complete description of the role of remembering past sins.
    • The Law cannot (did not) make people consistent.
    • If those sacrifices removed the consciousness of sins, they would have ended.
    • The sacrifices (the Law) served to constantly remind them of sin.
    • In contrast, the gospel makes people consistent (14) and does not constantly remind people of their pasts.
    • The sacrifice of Jesus is in the past, so the remembrance of sin is in the past.
    • Instead we have boldness and full assurance (as opposed to guiltiness and fear).
  • Conscience:
    • Romans 2:15 Gentiles before the time of Jesus “showed the work of the Law written in their hearts.”  Their consciences helped to direct them.
    • 1 Timothy 4:2, Titus 1:15 Those who depart from the gospel sometimes go that way due to a seared conscience.
    • Hebrews 9:9 The practices of the Law could not repair the conscience.  (9:14)  Conscience repair is a function of the Spirit.
  • Confess:
    • James 5:16 Confess your sins one to another, that you may be healed.
    • 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins.
    • Acts 19:18 (Matthew 3:6, Mark 1:5) Many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds.
  • Remembering:
    • Ephesians 2:11 – 13 Remember that you were hopeless but now have hope.
    • Revelation 2:5 Remember from where you have fallen and repent.
    • Revelation 3:3 Remember how you have received and heard and repent of being dead.
  • Forgetting: Philippians 3:13
  • Between the ditches:
    • If we completely forget our pasts
      • We will have little gratitude for grace (Luke 7:47).
      • We will turn to Law instead of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:11).
      • We will repeat old disasters.
    • Always put remembrance of the past in a strong context of grace and overcoming through the Spirit.
      • Feeling bad about the past is not a New Testament concept.
      • Repeatedly recounting the mistakes of the past is not a New Testament concept.
      • All remembrances of the past were very short and general. The detail was in the availability of grace and the work of the Spirit.