Guilt is a debilitating emotion. It erodes our confidence in numerous ways. The Scripture says: “A man’s conscience is the Lord’s searchlight exposing his hidden motives.”Proverbs 20:27
The Bible also tells us: “For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.” 1 John 3:20-22.
Our Creator intended for man to walk in the power of a clear conscience. With a clear conscience we stand with confidence before God and man. That is why the apostle Paul said: “So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.” Acts 24:16
On the other hand, there are several negative impacts we experience when our conscience is guilty or defiled. The following are just five of the results of a guilty conscience:
- It is the source of internal reproach (Job 27:6)
- It is the source of self-condemnation (1 John 3:20-22)
- It causes us to view things as defiled, versus pure (Titus 1:15)
- It undermines or “shipwrecks” our faith (1 Timothy 1:18-19)
- It hinders intimacy with God (Isaiah 59:1-3)
Of course, the astute counselor once said, “The primary reason you are feeling so guilty is because you ARE guilty.” If we have done something wrong, ignoring our guilt does not help. Denying our sin is not the way to resolve our guilt. But admitting our sin doesn’t help either, unless we also know what to do with it. The Scriptures are plain in this regard. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:8,9
So the GREAT NEWS is that God has provided the solution to a defiled conscience!
Faith vs. Guilt:
Faith is the commodity of kingdom living. It is BY FAITH we receive all that we receive from God. Faith is so valuable that if we fully understood it, we would want to do anything we could to have more of it. (and we CAN grow in our faith, but that is another topic) That is why it is important to understand one of the biggest enemies of faith is a guilty conscience. When our conscience is defiled, our faith suffers.
On the other hand, the sure antidote for a guilty conscience is faith in God’s forgiveness. The other antidote is simply to avoid doing wrong in the first place! “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands… with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption… much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God”Hebrews 9:11-14
“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus… let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience, Hebrews 10:19-22