Among the many behaviors with which we keep God at arm’s length, there is an underlying thread of guilt. We are ashamed of our moral impurity… we regret our materialistic nature and prideful tendencies… we are embarrassed that we are not as spiritually brave as God calls us to be… and we are right to feel this way. The closer we come to God, the more unworthy we feel. We recognize that, in our natural state, we are so utterly undeserving of His grace, His mercy, or His love.
But that’s rather the point: it is only in acknowledging who and what we really are that God can begin to work a change in us.
Nevertheless, we must be careful not to allow guilt over who we were before Christ to stifle God’s good work in us now. According to Paul – a guilty man if ever there was one… before he met Jesus at any rate (1 Corinthians 15:9-10) – there is no guilt or condemnation for those who belong to Christ. (Romans 8:1) As the apostle John later explained, we need only confess our guilt to God to be freed of it and made right with Him. (1 John 1:9)
Hanging onto guilt is to refuse God’s grace and, by extension, His salvation. We cannot rightly expect God to save us from who we were if we are unwilling to let go of our guilt over needing to be rescued by Him. He already knew what we were when He died for us. (Romans 5:8)
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:9-10For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
Romans 8:1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
1 John 1:9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.