How should a Christian deal with feelings of guilt regarding past sins, whether pre- or post-salvation?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
Everyone has sinned, and one of the results of sin is guilt. We can be thankful for guilty feelings because they drive us to seek forgiveness. The moment a person turns from sin to Jesus Christ in ...

July 01 2013 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Scan14 Michael Tinsley Retired Army veteran. Love my Bible (Jesus) and fishing.
John 10:10 is a perfect example of what our life in Jesus should be, and is.
First it says the thief (Satan) comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. Jesus then says, "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly". Satan points out sins past to try and convince us we are still wicked and we shouldn't believe in Jesus and the total, complete forgiveness of all our sins. The Bible says forgiveness for all who believe was done at the cross which is why Jesus said, 'It is finished."

Our sins are as far from us as the east from the west and will not be remembered by God ever again. Remember means to recall and it also means to re-member, as in put together again. God will not remember and He will never put us together with our sins now, or in the future.

Guilt is a subjective feeling unique to each person and Satan tries to use that to get you to think you aren't worthy. You have to appropriate the objective truth, (Truth) of the Bible. You have to believe what it says in all circumstances and to the point of the question, you must believe all your sins are forever forgiven. The Bible gives us the tools we need to live in Jesus and to enjoy the abundant life He gave us. He wants us always moving forward. Paul, in Philippians 3:13, "...one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining "toward what is ahead.'

Philippians 3:14 is what Paul is striving for," the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Our focus should be on Jesus, to live like Him abundantly and joyfully in all circumstances here on Earth, sharing the Gospel, being an example to others, and looking forward to living forever with Jesus Christ in our incorruptible, resurrection bodies.

There's no room for guilt when we live that way because it has been defeated just as death itself is defeated in our Lord, Jesus Christ!

November 12 2015 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Photo Anthony Clinton Teacher in China
Guilt should only be present when we are living in sin. The fact is that Sin is a daily challenge regardless of our present spiritual status as Christians, this is why we are to put off the old man, the old nature that brings forth death and put on the new nature created in the Image of Christ. Whether your a Christian or an unbeliever all unrepentant sin is not forgiven. If it were why would the scriptures call us to repentance at all. 

There was a serious case of sin in the Corinthian Church where a believer was cohabiting with his step mother and they all overlooked it and permitted him to continue in fellowship. He had to be disciplined because he was not made to feel guilt for his sin. So guilt should only be felt for unrepentant sin but if a believer confesses his sin the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses him from sin and fellow-shipping with the saints continues. 

Remember the Scripture "Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. " so to feel condemnation IF your walking in the Spirit is actually doubting the power of the cross to deal with all your sins. You need to be absolutely sure that if you have confessed and repented of your sins you have no reason for guilt. You are justified, purified, and sanctified. 

If however you are walking in the flesh and fulfilling the desires of your old nature there is indeed condemnation until you repent and obey the Spirit and walk in Him. The reason the Corinthian sinner was thrown out of the Church and delivered over to the punishment of Satan was that he might repent. If he failed to repent and continued in his sin he certainly had reason to feel guilt because no adulterers, or liars or fornicators, or greedy persons, or idolators, will be in heaven. God does not forgive unrepentant sin. 

Paul teaches in 2 Corinthians 6 that Believers should not be yoked with unbelievers, and he says to come out from among them and this would then renew their relationship with Him.

2Co 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 
2Co 6:18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 

He is not talking about unbelievers it is to the saints that have gone back to fellowship with unbelievers. So in this situation you would be expected to feel guilt because you are called to be holy and separate from sinners and the world in the sense of intimate relationships. 

Sometimes the devil breathes out condemnation and it feels so real and overwhelming but if you are walking in the Spirit you have no cause to be feeling any guilt and the ongoing process of sanctification will continue if you continue to abide in Christ. 1Jn_3:20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. 

1Jn 2:24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.

November 13 2013 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Teresa Wiltz Freelance writer and copy editor, Christian
Philippians 3:13—“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.”

Today is a time of new opportunities to make smarter choices that will render positive results. Obviously, we do not have a magic wand to go back in time and rectify past mistakes, but fortunately, God blessed us with the gift of second chances to make things right from this point forward. 

The devil is busy trying to destroy our hope by attempting to keep us in a state of guilty darkness derived from past mistakes. However, it is up to us to recognize his lies and call upon The Holy Spirit for truth, and repentance to empower us with renewed strength.

Hebrews 10:15-17~And the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us, for after saying, “This is the covenant that I will establish with them after those days, says the Lord. I will put my laws on their hearts and I will inscribe them on their minds,” then he says, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no longer.”

I often heard it said that we should not dwell on past regrets; however it wasn’t until the last few years or so that I learn not to dwell on the past, but instead developed a faithful spirit no longer held prisoner to guilt. My eyes and heart are now open to the idea that all of my previous mistakes born from negative experiences were necessary to strengthen my character and to acquire a new found appreciation for lessons learned. 

God has a way of saving us from the pitfalls of our own misguided actions by teaching us patience and to trust in the plans He set forth during a lifelong journey. It is our responsibility to ask God for a clearer understanding and ability to rise above a web of guilt and shame weaved by Satan’s treacherous schemes. 

Psalm 40:1-3—“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.”

Living a guilt-ridden existence is exactly what the devil wants to fool us into lingering in our previous transgressions. But, God’s Word teaches us that once we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are granted eternal salvation. Once we are cleansed, our spirit of rejuvenation begins so that we no longer are bound to a life of unnecessary guilt because God provided us with a new spirit to refrain from the unholy temptation of fleshy desires.

Romans 8:1 -2~“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”

It is imperative that we understand once God forgives our sins He expects us to forgive ourselves as well so that we do not remain in bondage to Satan’s deceitfulness. If we maintain steadfast faith in Christ He will grace each of us with a new slate to jump-start a renewed awareness of divine mercy to carry us through whatever unfolds next.

Luke 24:45-47~Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”

It is my profound hope for those reading this devotional to be blessed by the truth and knowledge herein. I pray for deliverance to befall upon all of whom are held captive to past sins. The divine inspiration of studying scripture is what will ultimately lead to a place of inner peace. As part of my purpose, I hope to encourage each of you to seek discernment through the perfected Word of God to enrich your everyday lives with a true measure of divine knowledge, love and eternal forgiveness through faith.

April 08 2017 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini Billy P Eldred
When you come to Christ, the first thing you need to do is to acknowledge WHO HE IS. He, as God, has all authority to forgive your sins! 

The next thing you need to do is to realize what he did on the cross. He died to cleanse you from your sins. It may seem cliché, but His blood washed away your sin. Accept this. Truly believe this. Receive this!

Finally, remember what he said to the woman caught in adultery and those who were going to stone her. First to the crowd: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,” and then to her: “Did anyone here condemn you….then neither do I! Go and sin no more!” 

How can you condemn yourself or let others condemn you when the King of the Universe forgives you? Your sin has been removed. Do not cling to it. Let it go!

February 24 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Profile pic Mark Vestal Proud of nothing of myself. Freed by Christ who did it all!
Knowing that God forgave us through the shed blood of Jesus Christ is the foundation to finding the courage to forgive ourselves also. The grace of God and His love for us is too great for the human mind to comprehend. How can it be that when our sins did abound God's grace was and ALWAYS is greater (Rom 5:8-20)? It is only natural as a human being to have the constant 'inner war' that Paul references two chapters later, but remembering God's love will help in giving the Spirit more frequent victories. We look to the cross for the reminder of just how much God truly does love us!

Eph 3:16-20
"That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,"

Christ's death was indeed THE sufficient payment to God for all of our sins (Col 1:14), but we are also now COMPLETE in Him upon having faith (Col 2:10). This means that not only are we no longer subject to the punishment from God that we deserve (1 Thes 5:9-11), we are also now free to no longer punish ourselves. Jesus Christ bore all of our guilt on the cross FOR US! If it is by our faith in Christ that we are now seen as even the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor 5:21), why should we then not allow the power of this peace to reign within ourselves?

If we view Christ's suffering as completing our own suffering we can then let go of the anguish that continues to hinder our spiritual growth. We accept the fact that we are still human in nature, but should remember that we have been made spiritually perfect in the sight of God through having faith in Jesus Christ. We are now seen by God as joint-heirs with Jesus himself (Rom 8:1-17)! God wants us to fully realize this new position in Him. Our growth in faith, transition from the carnal mind to the spiritual, and ministry to others depends on the clarity of this realization (Rom 8:6).

2 Cor 5:17-21
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."

November 06 2023 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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