Is Guilt An Illusion?

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Do we really need to talk about guilt; surely it only leads to anxiety, when what we really need is healthy acceptance of ourselves.
Anyway, guilt is probably an illusion.
So, many people may respond.
But what do you think about it yourself? 1.
WHY GET WORKED UP ABOUT IT? In Psalm 51, David cries out, 'Create in me a clean heart O God' (v 10).
He had already made several requests to God, such as 'Have mercy on me, O God' (v 1) and 'wash me...
and cleanse me from my sin' (v 2).
David knew he was in trouble.
Not only had he committed adultery with Bathsheba and fathered a child by her, he had arranged for Bathsheba's husband, Uriah, to be murdered, which displeased the Lord, who in the sequel, sent Nathan the prophet to rebuke David.
David was a man who knew God and after this rebuke, was deeply convicted.
He expressed his contrition in the words of Psalm 51.
Has David got a hyper-sensitive, religious anxiety? Has he become neurotic after a period of high excitement? David knows his heart has been defiled by sin.
He also knows he needs to be cleansed by God, against whom he has sinned.
SIN SPOILS AND REDUCES OUR HUMANITY Whether or not we have ever done anything like David is not the point; the point is that sin has spoiled us all.
Sin in the heart always issues in sinful behaviour that dehumanises us.
We may get the impression that doing even the 'bad stuff' is inevitable, part of what we are, and anyway it fulfils us.
This approach is deceptive.
Sin is an alien rebel that invaded our humanity back at the fall in Genesis.
Sin never truly fulfils us, rather it degrades and robs us of our noble, God-given humanity and reduces us to slaves.
And we all have it by nature.
Sociological guilt - guilty feelings, do certainly need to be distinguished from true moral guilt.
This is why David's cry is so poignant.
He knows he has sinned against God, and he knows that he has lost his joy and peace with God.
Actually, sin is not essential to our humanity, as Adam and Eve show us before their fall.
Neither was the Lord Jesus Christ any less human for being absolutely sinless, although he was also God, with two natures in one Person, he was perfectly complete in his humanity, and 'without sin' (Hebrews 4:15).
WHY DO I NEED A CLEAN HEART? David recognised that the guilt of sin was his most serious problem.
It crushed him and left him in such turmoil that he had to ask God to wipe it away and freely forgive him.
I too need a clean heart because sin in my heart in any shape or form, is an offence against God, and Christ, the sinless Son of God, specifically 'died for the ungodly' (Romans 5:6).
I need a clean heart to be accepted by God, now and for eternity.
This is not an issue for stalling - I need a clean heart today.
BUT HOW CAN I GET A CLEAN HEART? Christ died to get people right with God; he died so we could get rid of the awful stain and guilt of sin.
His death was so appalling, yet there was no other way for sin to be dealt with.
Now, all must come, just as they are, and when they come trusting they may be assured on the basis of Christ's finished work on the cross that God has 'cleansed their hearts by faith' (Acts 15:9).
This great salvation through Christ's sacrificial death and victorious resurrection deals with our guilt, justifies us in God's sight, and also begins an inner work of transforming us by bringing us into fellowship with God through the Holy Spirit.
This does not make a person sinless, but moves us to love and please God, who has saved us for himself, and at such great cost.
Will you turn away from your sins today and confess them to God? 5.
CLEANSED TO SERVE! In the Old Testament era both a ceremonial purification was available for people who trusted in the Lord, and there was forgiveness even for a man such as David.
But now, we may look to Christ in simple faith, accepting his sacrifice made on the cross.
By faith we may be assured, that in comparison with earlier times, now 'how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God' (Hebrews 9:14).
When the Spirit of God searches our hearts, convicts us of sin and cleanses our hearts by faith in the Saviour, then we really begin to live, as we serve God, for whose service we were made and in which there is perfect freedom! Then you will know for sure that true moral guilt in God's sight is by no means an illusion.
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