Look into the Word of God
for help on repentance
in the crisis of guilt.
In the law, the guilt of sin was alleviated by a sacrifice of atonement:
Leviticus 5:16-19 (KJV)
And he shall make amends for the harm that he hath done in the holy thing, and shall add the fifth part thereto, and give it unto the priest: and the priest shall make an atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering, and it shall be forgiven him. And if a soul sin, and commit any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the LORD; though he wist it not, yet is he guilty, and shall bear his iniquity. And he shall bring a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering, unto the priest: and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his ignorance wherein he erred and wist it not, and it shall be forgiven him. It is a trespass offering: he hath certainly trespassed against the LORD.
This passage shows that a sin of ‘ignorance’, a sin one is not even aware of can bring guilt, and needs atonement. The fact startles many, but even a sin of ignorance causes a guilty conscience. We often think that we only feel guilt if we know of the sin. Yet, the Bible shows that guilt comes to those who do not even know what trespass against God’s law they have committed.
God has made it that ‘guilt’ is felt by even the untaught of sin. Those who have never read the ten commandments from God will feel guilt, inner guilt, for the breaking of those laws. One may protest that they can steal, kill, speak evil of someone, and feel no guilt. Yet, they do. The Holy Spirit came to this world to condemn the world of sin, and He does that, even if the persons being convicted do not know they broke God’s laws. Guilt is created by God to show mankind what is unacceptable.
There are three kinds of guilt.
1. There is REAL GUILT from the Spirit of God convicting mankind of the sins that keep them from God. This guilt is beneficial, and necessary in the plan of God to bring mankind to Jesus and forgiveness.
Romans 2:8-9 (KJV)
But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
God wants guilt to come upon mankind for their sins, so that they will turn to the One Who can forgive their sins and remove this guilt.
The ministry of the Holy Spirit in this age, is to convict, bring feelings of guilt over sin, of the need of righteousness, and of the soon coming judgment for those who do not come to Jesus.
John 16:7-9 (KJV)
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you. And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on Me;
2. The devil likes to take the things of God, like guilt, and pervert it. He wants to make not the sinner feel guilty, but the forgiven. This is called ‘FALSE GUILT’.
There is false guilt from the devil, from mankind, that is inflicted upon the forgiven sinners, to remind them of the sins already forgiven by the mercy of the Lord. The repented sins are washed away, forgiven by God, and not to ever be mentioned by God to us again. Therefore, any plague of guilt upon the forgiven person is not from God, but is either from the devil or from instigation of the devil to our mind, or the minds of our peers.
The devil would like to keep us repenting for sins already forgiven, for it can discourage us to feel that though we have repented often for those sins, still they will damn us, or be to our shame forever.
Ephesians 1:7 (KJV)
In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace;
Our repentance to Jesus brings us forgiveness, and we are rich in His grace.
This forgiveness has ‘delivered’ us, the devil and sin’s guilt, can no longer claim us. We have ‘redemption’ because of His blood.
Colossians 1:12-14 (KJV)
Giving thanks unto the Father, Who hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: In Whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
3. There is also SHARED GUILT. This guilt is the feeling of shame and remorse for the sins of those about us, those associated with us, or those with whom we share some common bond.
Adam sinned knowingly, and Eve sinned by being deceived. We all share in that original fall. Those sins brought death, pain, sorrow, and multitudes of more sins into this world. We are never doomed to hell for their sin, it is our own sins that would take us there. Yet, the fact of there being a devils’ hell that is now shared by sinful mankind, is due to us sharing the sin of Adam.
The sins of a nation brought the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. All suffered for the sins of many there. Even Jeremiah suffered, though he had long preached for them to repent. Daniel was a slave in Babylon due to sharing the guilt of others.
The nation shared the guilt of David, his family suffered, his child died, his sons later followed his sinful mistakes. The sharing of guilt is a fact of life.
Some have been made to feel guilt for others failures. Parents sometimes tell a child that it is their fault that a marriage failed, or that life is not better for the parents due to the child. The guilt that is put upon children can plague their lives, can make them too depressed to ever feel loved, needed, and appreciated.
There are degrees of guilt.
Some can be more guilty than others, even with the same sin.
James 4:17 (KJV)
Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
To know something is sinful, and then to do it anyhow, makes one more guilty than if one was ignorant of the sinfulness of the deed. Adam was more culpable for his sin, that was Eve, for Eve was deceived about what God had said. Adam had spoken directly with God, and he knew of certainty that his choice was definitely sin. Jesus said the sin of the pharisees made them more to blame than the sins of the publicans and harlots. For the pharisees knew the law, knew the prophecies of the Messiah, and still they sinned and rejected Jesus. Jesus told them that they would suffer a greater hell punishment than the harlots and publicans.
Romans 2:12-16 (KJV)
For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another. In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.
Luke 12:47-48 (KJV)
And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.