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?
- I do not believe that Jesus took away all my sins at the cross.
- I had always thought I would never do that sin. (self-righteousness)
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.