Sunday, January 21, 2018 pm                                        Problems Index


Dealing with Guilt (1)

     Guilty!  We’ve all heard of it and at times we have felt guilty.  Usually, it is because we are guilty.  But how do deal with our guilt, from a Biblical perspective? 

From time to time, we have been addressing some problems Christians face.  These are problems not exclusive to Christians (in fact those of the world experience them often in a greater degree and without real solutions), but HOW we deal with them is related to our faith and God’s word.  Today we want to address what the Bible says about guilt and how to deal with it.

NOTE: As with many of these things we struggle with, this is a lesson that is challenging.  It is far easier to say what we need to do, than to actually do it.  In fact, I would say that dealing with guilt is one of the hardest things to master.  So please don’t view what is to be said here as condescending or insensitive.  We are simply seeking what God’s word tells us about this subject.

I.                     The problem of guilt

a.       Defined as: 1) the fact that you have committed an offence or wrong: and/or 2) You feel responsible or remorse for something, whether you did it or not. 
It is a word that means you have done something wrong, you are aware of it and have feelings of shame or regret.

b.       We know that in some sense we are all guilty, especially before God.  Romans 3:23 makes this clear.   And often, in our society, we are guilty of various things. 

c.        Far too many seek answers outside of God’s word.  In our humanistic society, there is a tendency to overcome guilt through psychiatry or by redefining what guilt really is. 
We go to have our moral guilt explained away.  We are told it is not our fault (always someone else), or that there is no absolute moral standard, or we compare ourselves to others who are “worse” than we are, etc.
Atheism, naturalism and modernism are a response to the problem of guilt. 

d.       There is also what I would describe as “false guilt” – a feeling of being guilty, even though you are not - parents divorcing, false standards, being falsely accused of something, made to feel guilty by manipulators, survivor’s guilt, death of a loved one (I should have done more), victims of assault, etc. 

e.       Finally, there are misconceptions about guilt before God.  Some advocate eternal security (once saved, always saved), while others teach that we cannot help it because of our “sinful nature”, etc.  Such false doctrines lend to misconceptions about guilt. For some it makes guilt no big deal because God will take care of it (or not).


 II.                   Guilt in the Bible

a.       From the very first sin we find guilt.
Genesis 3:7-11.  After realizing they were naked, they sought to hide from God.   In answering Him, they gave excuses seeking to pass the blame.
Genesis 4:4-5 when the LORD rejected Cain’s offering, he became angry and his countenance fell.  The LORD spoke with him and told him to rule over his countenance and to not sin.

David was guilty – 2 Samuel 11.  Psalm 51 describes his genuine repentance.
Paul was guilty and realized this after He met the Lord – 1 Timothy 1:12-15, Acts 23:1, etc.

b.       How did God view the guilty?  Again, from the very beginning, sin was serious.  God never treated sin as unimportant.  He declared sinners guilty!
Adam and Eve faced “the curse” and were cast out of the garden.
Cain was marked for his sin – Genesis 4:10-15
2 Samuel 12 – while David was forgiven by God, there were consequences.  He did not overlook his sins.
Jesus continually exposed sin and the sinner – Matthew 19:16 – the rich, young ruler
Sadducees – Matthew 22:23-29; Pharisees – Matthew 15:12, etc.
John 8:7-9 – Jesus challenged them, “He who is without sin throw the first stone”.  They were convicted

c.        Convicted - The whole premise of the gospel is to convict people of sin.  Conviction involves one realizing they need forgiveness because they are guilty.

                                                   i.      John 16:8 – the Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin.

                                                 ii.      Acts 2:37-38 – they were “cut to the heart”

                                                iii.      Acts 9:3-6 – Paul, on the road to Damascus was struck blind and asked, “What do You want me to do?”

                                                iv.      Ephesians 5:11 – have no fellowship with unfruitful works, rather expose them

                                                  v.      2 Timothy 4:2 - Preach the word, convince (convict) – same as convict in John 16:8

                                                vi.      James 2:9 – if you show partiality, you are convicted as transgressors of the law

In our next lesson, we will address how to deal with guilt, both real and "false guilt"