Thursday, April 30, 2009

The source of guilt


Guilt is often presented as a good thing among religion. Many see guilt as a sign of sensitivity towards sin and the first step towards repentance. I think the church teaches from a wrong premise that the ministry of Holy Spirit is about convicting believers of their sins. Thus, as a result of such conviction, according to them, it is good that people feel guilty, so they can repent, ask forgiveness and get back into the fellowship with God.

People sit in pews Sunday after Sunday waiting for the bashing statements from the preacher so that they can feel guilty about their wrongful actions of the previous week; and they kind of feel good when they feel guilty. Then at the end of the sermon, the preacher usually throws an invitation for people to come forward to confess their sins and 'restore' the relationship with God. And it is commonly understood that the people who are 'sensitive' to sin would go forward and confess it. But the rigid, insensitive, rebellious ones sit back and spectate. Or may be the preacher did not use enough law to effectively stab their heart that they aren't bleeding yet. Well, may be, next week he can do a better job!

I think, the source of guilt is self-righteousness, pride and a faulty understanding of the ministry of Holy Spirit in a believer's a life.

When I sin, why would I feel guilty?

Its either,
  • I do not believe that Jesus took away all my sins at the cross.
Or,
  • I had always thought I would never do that sin. (self-righteousness)
Lets say, you did the worst possible sin imaginable. The sin which you thought you would never do.

Well, there is the problem!

Why did we even think that we would never do a particular sin? When I think or say that I would never do a sin, what I am saying indirectly is that Jesus didn't have to take that sin away for me, thereby devaluing His superior act on the cross. Out of my arrogance, I thought I could abstain from it by the energy of my flesh. No wonder that I am surprised when I do it, and plunging myself into guilt, shame, self-pity and condemnation.

A person who has a grasp of the 'finished work of Jesus' and the 'finality of the cross' do not have to feel guilty when he/she sins. They doubtlessly know that all their sins are behind the back of God, never to see them again. Its a message which humbles us, and enables us to say 'Thank you, Jesus' when we sin. It is not about being insensitive to sin, its not about seeing the unconditional forgiveness as a 'license' to indulge in sin. It is an understanding that, we are capable of doing any sin under the sun, but we don't have to lose heart when we do it, because all our sins are forgiven at the cross once and for all, and rejoice in the fact that God's power rests upon our weakness.

The Spirit of Jesus, who took away the sins from the sight of God, would never ever bring up the already forgiven and forgotten sins back again to condemn us and put us into shame and guilt.

Holy Spirit is not oxymoronic!

He is/was one among the Triune God, "who was in Christ, reconciling us to Himself, not counting our sins against us" (2 Corinthians 5:19). That being an accomplished fact, Holy Spirit would always point us back to the cross, and to the fact that we are perfectly righteous because of what Jesus did and thereby reminding us our need to stand on His grace alone every single day of our life.

22 comments:

Amy said...

Bino,
Excellent post! Amen to it all! Jesus resolved once and for all sin. Although we will struggle with it, spiritually we are not slave to it. Christ's death and resurrection destroyed it's eternal power.

Do we desire to be transformed to Christ's character...wanting to sin less and less? Absolutely! But this is because Papa/Jesus is pouring Himself into us and we are receiving Him and because of our relationship with Him and our love for Him, the natural consequence will be that we will desire to sin less, because we seek to please Him. Not to please Him to "get" His love, but rather to express to Him how much we love Him.

Again, great post Bino! You know all that I shared here already, I just wanted I'd put out my thoughts about what came to mind when I read your words here!

Hope your week is going well!

Blessings,
~Amy :)

lionwoman said...

Yes indeed! Amen! It makes the Christian walk so discouraging to always be focused on SIN. How much am I sinning, is God mad at me, how can I manage this sin or stop doing it.

The focus on relationship is what is needed. Sin is easier to understand and deal with knowing first how loved we are. Thankfully, I am finally learning that.

Blessings to you!

Joel B. said...

So many great thoughts here!

Ike said...

Sorry Bino, but I do not agree with this post. When you try to combine two doctrines into one.....you lose them both. I'm not going into this again but you seem to want justification and sanctification to have the same meaning. Why not include glorification with them and make a triple play?

Bino M. said...

Ike - Which part are you disagreeing with?

Do you believe 'sanctification' involves continues forgiveness? If so, how is that forgiveness achieved? by feeling guilty? by confessing our sins? by repenting? by beating ourselves with shame, condemnation and self-pity?

Bible do not say any of that is a means for forgiveness. It is very clear when it says, "without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness".

That (the shedding of blood) happened only ONCE. And that ONE and ONLY sacrifice took care of the issue of sin for the entire humanity.

Ike said...

Bino,
All believers are forgiven sinners.....thats not the issue. Take your post and apply it to your marriage. NEVER tell your wife that you did wrong and never ask her to forgive you. Good luck!!

Bino M. said...

Ike -

I think you are trying to equate earthly relationships with the relationship with God. God's love is agape. My love isn't agape, neither my wife's. So we have a need to ask for continues forgiveness when we do wrong.

Colossians 3:13 says, "Forgive as the Lord forgave you.". Since the Lord forgave (past tense) us, it gives us the ability to forgive each other.

Forgiving each other is a daily thing, forgiveness of God is a one time event, which happened when He shed his blood at the cross. Again, in God's economy, "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness". It did NOT say, "without the confession of sins, there is no forgiveness".

Ike said...

Again....you are not understanding what I am saying. You are forgiven. Thats a fact... but as we live our lives on this earth we still have our old nature along with our new nature. As we walk through this life we will sin. As we sin....we confess that sin. It has nothing to do with forgiveness but the confessing is saying..."yes Lord what I did was sin". You are simply agreeing with the Lord. This is a natural response as a believer. It is part of our "relationship" with our Lord. It has "nothing" to do with more forgiveness.

You cling to the "forgiveness" and then conclude that when you sin you just shrug your shoulders. I think Scripture is clear that we are to continue in confessing and continue repenting. Our old nature never got better and our new nature will never sin. The christian life is a struggle. His grace is sufficient. Both are true.

Bino M. said...

Ike -

I am not against "agreeing with God" when you sin. What I am saying is, there is no more forgiveness to be executed on your behalf. It's a done deal.

Since you brought up the issue of old and new nature, I would just say this: I do not believe that we have both the old and new natures. We have only one nature, which is the righteous nature of Christ Jesus. Our old nature was crucified with Christ and we have been raised with Him as a NEW creation. The old is GONE.

We died to sin - Romans 6:2

because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. - Romans 6:7

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. - Romans 6:8

So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, - Romans 7:4

we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. - 2 Cor 5:14

For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. - Gal 2:19

you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world - Colossians 2:20

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God - Col 3:3

if we died with him, we will also live with him; - 2 Tim 2:11

For we know that our old self was crucified with him - Romans 6:6

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. - Gal 2:20

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. - Gal 5:24

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! - 2 Corinthians 5:17

Ike said...

I will agree to disagree. If you only had a new nature you would never sin.

Joel B. said...

Ike,

A couple of things.

1. By the very nature of the word nature, nothing can have more than one nature!

2. You're assuming that it's a nature that causes us to sin.

The verses Bino provided, along with many more, show that we died. Our old nature died. We were crucified with Christ. We no longer live, but Christ lives in us. That is our new nature.

Why do we sin? It's not because of our nature. It's because of something that dwells in us, but is not us. Romans 7:17 and 20 say that "it is no longer I, but sin that dwells in me." He says it's due to another law in my members (in the body... which is a tent that we temporarily dwell in, but is not who we are), warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members" (Rom 7:23).

We are incorruptible spiritual beings (who dwell temporarily in a corruptible body), newly created, made alive together with Christ, with only a righteous nature. Because of this, Paul tells us such things as to "walk worthy of our calling" and to "put to death the deeds of the flesh," etc.

When we sin, we're simply walking in a way that is contrary to our true nature (our only nature). It's not a matter of walking according to some dueling sinful nature, but rather it's a matter of walking according to the flesh --- which is not our nature! When we do this, we're still fully forgiven, fully sanctified, holy, righteous, justified, etc. We haven't lost any standing or ground with God. We've simply not acted as who we truly are, and so we get up and we thank God for who He has made us to be and for having joined us together with Himself, and we move on in LIFE, PEACE and JOY, rather than guilt and feelings of failure, etc.

Ike said...

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us [1 John 1:8].


If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness [1 John 1:9].


If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us [1 John 1:10].


Here is the right method for bringing together a sinful man and a holy God....."confession" of sins. You cannot bring God down to your level and you cannot bring yourself up to His level. Salvation is not only a one time act but continued confession and continued repentance. We are saved....we are being saved...and one day we will be saved. All by the grace of God.

Gary Kirkham said...

Ike,

You quote 1 John 1:9. I have a few questions for you. Are you saying that, as a Christian, our continued forgiveness is tied to our confession of sin? If we don’t confess a particular sin, does it remain unforgiven? When Jesus died on the cross were there some sins that His blood didn’t forgive?

Do you think it might be possible that those verses you quote were written to unbelievers?

Can you quote any other verses in the New Testament that link confession to forgiveness for the believer?

Gary

Bino M. said...

Ike - No one in their right mind would ever claim that he has no sin in him. As Joel pointed out in his last comment, our sin is NOT our identity. Our identity is not based on what we do or what we don't do. Paul made it very clear when he said, "As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me." He is clearly separating his identity (righteous) from what he does.

The moment you add "confession" or "baptism" or anything YOU 'do' to the equation of salvation or sanctification, you are belittling the message of Gospel.

"God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

Once you become the righteousness of God (because of what Jesus did and you applied faith in it), its hard to improve upon it. Anything you do to 'improve' your righteous stand with God is nothing but a 'work' and considered as a 'filthy rag'.

"The righteous shall walk by FAITH", not by works...

theoldadam said...

I think what Ike (Ike can correct me if I am wrong)is saying is that "being saved" (and that is how St. Paul refers to it also), those of us who are being saved are in a dynamic relationship with the Lord, wherein the Lord is looking for a little humility in the recognition and confession of our sin.

Yes, He decalres us righteous. Yes, our new nature is that of Christ, but it has not been brought to fruition yet.

I think that is why Jesus gave us the parable of the tax colllector and the Pharisee.

The Lord is after someone who knows his need for God. The recognition of our sins produces the humility that God is after.

It's like a child that does wrong...he or she is certainly going to be forgiven for that offense, but the parents still want the child to admit that they did it and say they are sorry for doing it.

Is this a condition of being loved and forgiven? No. But it is what God would like us to do. It is part of a living relationship.

Bino M. said...

Steve -

I think God is looking for FAITH, not so much our confession. Bible says, "without faith it is impossible to please God". That is the faith in what He has already done on our behalf. When we walk in our Christian life, thinking that there is 'more' to be done from God's side to either save us or to keep us saved, that is not faith.

Our forgiveness is not depended on how faithfully we confess our sins, or how sorry we are about what we did. We were forgiven when Jesus shed His blood and He declared "It's Finished" (Paid in full). That display of His love upon the cross is what humbles us! That enables us to thank Him when we act stupid. He always knew that we couldn't achieve His standard of holiness, that is why He had to give His righteousness as a GIFT. Now He is not dealing with us on the basis of sins. He deals with us on the basis of who we are in Christ. we are under a brand new covenant. Things changed. But its unfortunate the many in Christendom hang on to the Old Covenant way of relating to God.

In this NEW Covenant, He said:

"Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more." And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.
- Heb 10:16

If He is not remembering our sins, why are we trying to bring it back to Him and ask Him to do what He has already done? That doesn't sound like faith to me...

theoldadam said...

Our confession of sins is NOT a prerequisite of being saved.

It is an indicator of a living relationship.

The Lord wants us to come to Him when we have done wrong as any Mother or Father would want their child to do.

This is why I think a good doctrine of sin is important.

Bino M. said...

Steve - I agree with your statement here,

The Lord wants us to come to Him when we have done wrong as any Mother or Father would want their child to do.But, If you are keeping 'short accounts' with God and think it is your confession is what keeps your relationship with God in shape, that is where the problem is. Anything we 'do' or 'don't do' cannot and will not affect our relationship with God. It is HIS grace, HIS love and HIS faithfulness. None of what we do.

If confession makes a difference in our intimacy with God, a mute person can never be intimate with God. The fact is, God is not looking at our mouth, but our heart.

As part of our relationship with Him, of course we will tell him when we mess up. But the Interesting thing is, when we bring up our sins to his attention, He is going to point us back to the cross and say "That's ok my son/daughter, I have already taken those sins away and now there is nothing which can separate you from my love". (Romans 8:35-39)

theoldadam said...

Bino.

He will point us back to the cross, but He will also say 'you are forgiven'.

Yes it was all accomplished but communication in any relationship is important.

A mute person can confess his sins just as well as anyone elde can. God knows exactly what is in our hearts and our thoughts.

So (and I think you'll agree) we confess not because we have to, but because we want to.

Take care, my friend!

- Steve

Bino M. said...

Steve - Much grace, brother!

Bino M. said...

All those who have commented here,

I just read this recent post by Steve McVey dealing with the issue of forgiveness and guilt, which goes along with what we have discussed on this thread.

Here is the link: Journey Into Intimacy Thank you all!

Joel B. said...

Yep, that's a great article by Steve, Bino! What stuck out to me was his comment that the priests were "pushing everybody’s sins forward in anticipation of the coming of Christ." The sacrifices only provided a covering for sin, but not a removal of sin or a cleansed conscious. The sins were, in essence, being "pushed forward" to the cross, where they were once and for all dealt with, taken away and remembered no more!

Our sins also received the same treatment on the cross! Not just "covered," but taken away! Not meant as a means for us to remember our sins and "confess" them to God, but as a means for HIM to show us that HE remembers them no more!!! If He remembers them no more, why do WE???