Rev. Terry Goerz,
Redeemer Lutheran Church
Something that the secular world does not understand about Christians is that they continue to sin.
Although Christians have the Holy Spirit in them to guide them, they also still have their sinful nature in them. These two forces are at war in Christians, and unfortunately the sinful nature wins out all too often.
The secular world looks at a Christian who has sinned and thinks they must be phony Christians – hypocrites. In their minds Christians cannot sin and still be true Christians.
What they do not understand is that while all Christians sin daily, unlike non-Christians repentant Christians are forgiven. Christ paid the penalty for their sin on the cross, so in God’s eyes they are as though they had never sinned. While Christians are very aware of this, sometimes guilt over a sin may come back into their mind over and over again. Guilt keeps returning and becomes a plague on their conscience.
If this is happening, it may be conviction from the Holy Spirit, urging a Christian to deal with the sin. Have you confessed your sin? Are you truly repentant, sorry for your sin and wanting to not commit it again? Have you sought forgiveness?
Some sin may require you to seek forgiveness from the person you have sinned against. Some sin may require you to make restitution. Have you forgiven others who have sinned against you?
On the other hand, very often when guilt over a sin returns again and again it is Satan laying a guilt trip on you. He tries to undermine your confidence as a Christian and put doubt of your relationship with God in your mind. Thoughts like, “God cannot forgive that big a sin”, “You keep doing this so God won’t forgive you. The law you have transgressed is put in your mind over and over. Satan cannot steal your faith, but he tries very hard to make your faith weak and ineffective.
One of the tools Satan uses to keep people trapped by an addiction is guilt trips. When you let Satan into your faith, life with guilt trips your faith becomes about you and your actions instead of about Christ and what He has done for you. So as a Christian, if you have examined yourself as in the paragraph above, and guilt continues read the following scripture a number of times. [1 John 1:8-9]
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he [God] is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
God does not lie or make false promises. We can have confidence in the above Scripture. God forgives. It is His nature and desire to forgive. Christ has paid the penalty for your sin. No further payment is required.
So Christians can have confidence in their relationship with God. If guilt over sin returns over and over again after repentance and confession, it is Satan laying a guilt trip on you. Recognize it for what it is, you can ignore it. It is not God convicting you.
Memorize and repeat the above verse again and again, and guilt will fade away. Blessing!