Thursday, 29 October 2009

Dealing with guilt

At housegroup on Tuesday evening we were looking together at Colossians 1, and the conversation came round to how we deal with guilt. We'd talked much of how amazing God's grace is, and how we need to be reminding ourselves constantly that it is solely and completely through Jesus' death in our place that we can be forgiven and come before God, and how we must avoid the temptation to feel the need to top up what Jesus has done for us with other things.

Many said though, that despite knowing that our forgiveness is only because of what Jesus is done, and that when we are forgiven it is full and we are given the righteousness of Christ, we still can struggle with feelings of guilt. I read these quotes from Jerry Bridge's book 'The Discipline of Grace' and thought them worth repeating:

"The satisfaction of Christ is more than a mere theological expression. It is a concept we need to become acquainted with in our daily lives. When our consciences are smiting us because of our sin, it is important to reflect upon the fact that, though our sins are real and inexcusable, nevertheless God's justice has already been satisfied through the "satisfaction of Christ" that the penalty has been fully paid by Him."

"... when we are smarting under the conviction of sin, when we realize we've failed God one more time, perhaps even in the same sin, we must resort to the cleansing blood of Jesus... It is not our contrition or sorrow for our sin, it is not our repentance, it is not even the passing of a certain number of hours during which we feel we are on some kind of probation that cleanses us. It is the blood of Christ, shed once for all on Calvary two thousand tears ago but appropriated daily or even many times a day, that cleanses our consciences and gives us a renewed sense of peace with God."

"Justification is a completed work as far as God is concerned. The penalty has been paid and His justice has been satisfied. But it must be received through faith and must be continually renewed in our souls and applied to our consciences every day through faith. There are two "courts" we must deal with: the court of God in Heaven and the court of conscience in our souls. When we trust in Christ for salvation, God's court is forever satisfied. Never again will a charge f guilt be brought against us in heaven. Our consciences, however, are continually pronouncing us guilty. That is the function of the conscience. Therefore, we must by faith bring the verdict of conscience into line with the verdict of heaven. We do this by agreeing with our conscience about our guilt, but then reminding it that our guilt has already been borne by Jesus."

We are no longer guilty; our horrific, wrath-deserving, putrid sin has been paid for by Jesus, and we must fix our eyes on that fact and rejoice in it! To not feel guilt can be very hard, but we are no longer guilty but are in fact clothed in the righteousness of Christ

1 comment:

Ben Parker said...

I like the final Bridges quote. It is bang on that a natural part of sin is guilt and that we should continue to feel that. The answer is to remind our conscience that we are not guilty however guilty we might feel!