So why do I feel guilty?

Welcome back to my blog. The last several weeks we have started a fascinating journey on what the Bible says about wellbeing. Although the word ‘wellbeing’ is not used specifically in Scripture, many Christian lifestyle behaviors might positively affect this measure. The current medical/psychological literature indicates this is the case!

To review, we initially discussed the first step to entering the gateway to improved Biblically based wellbeing is acceptance by faith in Christ’s forgiveness for our misdeeds by his death on the cross. Then we evaluated the importance of understanding that our salvation is secure!

So then why do I feel guilty? This appears to be a common emotion in our society and almost certainly reduces wellbeing. The exact incidence of guilt is unknown in the general population or in the church, but for young adults that Jeanette and I have had the privilege to teach the Bible, guilt is present in almost all of them at the beginning our study. Interestingly, these young adults had grown up in the church and would consider themselves Christian.

Teleios therefore surveyed recently a group of attendees of a conservative Bible teaching church to determine their levels of guilt and underlying reasons. Look below at the results! Who knew?
 
Table: Reason for guilt and additional effects for those expressing feeling of guilt
Question
Percent
God has never forgiven me for my sins
2%
I think I have been forgiven through faith in Christ but I am unsure if all my past sins really are forgiven
5%
I am forgiven my sins through faith in Christ, but I have committed sins since, and I am not sure they are forgiven
5%
I am forgiven my sins through faith in Christ, but I have committed sins for which I really do not want to stop
13%
I am forgiven my sins through faith in Christ, but I have committed sins since, and I fear God is angry
5%
I am forgiven my sins through faith in Christ, but I am unsure if my current good works are enough.
41%

 
Self-identified Christians appear to suffer guilt, on a spiritual basis, at three different levels:

Ø  Unbelieving Individuals – These respondents have not understood the complete saving grace provided by Christ’s death, accessed by faith alone.

Ø  Spiritually Insecure Individual – These believers have failed to understand that they are secure in their salvation and cannot become unsaved.

Ø  Disturbed Relationship with God – This group is perhaps the most common. They understand they are saved and secure but still believe they must work to satisfy God for his acceptance on a day to day basis.

What’s the answer for these guilt dilemmas? We dealt with the first two in the past two blogs: we should realize that we are saved by God’s grace alone and that our salvation is safe. Otherwise, we have little basis of a productive relationship with God and we are exposed to guilt because we remain concerned about unforgiven wrongdoings. 

What about the third reason for the Christian who still suffers guilt despite being saved and secure? Please give her the following points:

Ø  The Bible makes no provision for guilt for a believer. Search the epistles and see if you can find it!

Ø  The Bible indicates that we have free access to Christ, our great high priest, to help us with every need at any time! We can approach God with courage, unimpeded and unafraid. Hebrews 2:17-18, Hebrews 4:14-16.

Ø  The Bible indicates that Christ died once for all our wrongdoings. For anyone who does not believe they have been forgiven, there is no alternative provision for their sin. Hebrews 6:4-6, Hebrews 10:12-18.

Therefore, the solution to misdeeds for the Christian is to not ask for forgiveness but to acknowledge God’s merciful forgiveness that has already been granted (Colossians 1:14, Ephesians 1:7), recognize His acceptance and our access (Hebrews 10:19-22) and change to become obedient, moving forward and maturing in the faith (Galatians 3:1, Galatians 5:7, Romans 6:16-23, Hebrews 5:11-6:1).

What a healthy outlook! As a Christian we can know that we are forgiven, sure in our relationship with God through Christ, know we have a wonderful high priest to help us in our time of need, and when we commit a wrong, we are confident of our forgiveness. Guilt is not part of the biblical Christian life!

Thanks for visiting with me today. Next week, with the sure foundation of our relationship with God already established, we will discuss the tools needed to mature this relationship and acquire the benefits to our wellbeing that Scripture promises.

What do you think – Is guilt a problem for many Christians?

WC Stewart


Response policy – The purpose of the comment section is to promote discussion that is encouraging, propels the further search of Scripture and raises interesting and thought provoking Biblically related questions. You may feel free to disagree with me in a constructive manner using appropriate language. I reserve the right to remove your comments if they are profane, pornographic, libelous or I do not consider them constructive or consistent with the policy stated above. By posting you no longer own your comments and you are granting me an unrestricted worldwide license to use your comments.

Copyright © 2016 Teleios, Inc. All rights reserved.