Here’s one from Lee for us all to consider… -anita
Do your actions in life ever bring on feelings of guilt before God? I know mine do, quite regularly I’m afraid. I know for a fact that I sin several times a day, every single day! The good news—if you can call it that—is I usually feel very guilty when I recognize that I’ve sinned. And I typically rush to ask God to forgive me, and, this is most important I believe, I ask for that forgiveness after I’ve apologized to Him for my actions.
But do I really need to ask God for forgiveness? I’ve written about this before. I long ago came to believe that to ask God for forgiveness once we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ is not necessary. We can surely be sorrowful when we sin and can rightfully apologize for those actions, of course. But ask for forgiveness again? Maybe not; in fact maybe that’s a sin of disbelief in itself!
I was reading about forgiveness recently and about the quandary of objective truth versus subjective feelings. When I sin, objectively I’m truly guilty. I may or may not subjectively feel guilty (hopefully, my conscience has been well informed by the Word and the work of the Holy Spirit and I always feel guilty when I have sinned!). But the fact remains; when I sin I’m factually guilty before God. I’ve broken His law. In a passage I read in Dr. R.C. Sproul’s Tabletalk, it stated, “…our transgressions of God’s law provoke in us a subjective sense of guilt that can be quite burdensome.” Amen to that, and I would want it no other way!
The way this should work is this: when we sin, we confess our sin to God and then turn from that sin. But, at least for me, sometimes, those feelings of guilt just hang on. I recognize clearly that God has been so good to me and does so much for me that I often feel guilt so deeply when I fail Him. But here is the bottom line: I think I should rather be feeling sorrow for my short-comings rather than guilt. I hate it when I hurt God with my failings but I shouldn’t feel guilt. No, God long ago has forgiven me when I accepted His Son as my Lord and Savior. As Tabletalk put it: “To question our forgiveness when we have confessed our sin to God and turned from it…is to incur more sin. It is a sin to disbelieve God, and that is what we do when we hold onto our guilt….” And the article concludes with this great thought: “For when God forgives us, He forgives us forever.”
So, when you sin—which you will, of course—express your sorrow for that to God (apologize to Him), and then move away from that sin, confident that God has already forgiven you. And then work hard to please Him by your efforts to avoid that sin. God, more then any other, knows we’re fallen creatures, quite capable of repeated sin, yet He stills loves us and shows us that love every day without fail.