Sin and Punishment
If we accept God's self-revelation about Himself in the Bible, then we know that He has revealed Himself as a Holy God that cannot look upon sin, and definitely cannot condone it, since it is an offense to His holy character. Sometimes, wee think of Him as just an enlarged human; a fallible, frail person like ourselves, so that we can hope that He will "wink" or "overlook" our foibles, follies, and sins. But He can't, and He doesn't. Hebrews 2:2 reminds us, "every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward." This is why God has to provide salvation, a way "to flee the wrath to come." For we are currently under "the wrath of God" (John 3:36), if we are not saved.
Where do Morals come from?
To help keep us from going completely into uncontrolled evil, God has given us a conscience as part of our spirits, to alert us when we sin, and nag us to do right when we have done wrong. So when we sin, we SHOULD feel guilty. Guilt is to the conscience like pain is to the body. Pain tells us that the body is hurting, or injured. If we didn't have pain, our bodies would quickly be damaged, infected, maimed, and die, because we wouldn't know of injury or of infection that needed to be taken care of. (This is what happens to those that contract leprosy.)
Guilt lets us know that we have injured ourselves morally and spiritually. It is a trigger to inform us of the need to make something right, of a wrong we have committed, of our inability to save ourselves, to remind us that we need forgiveness. But the conscience can be desensitized, it can be hardened, "seared as with a hot iron", and ignored. By becoming hardened to its "guilt attacks", we will adjust our beliefs to defend and excuse the things that it bothers us about. This is the way that leads to any evil, and history is full of its recorded results.
Should I feel guilty for sinning?
Yes, you should therefore feel guilty for sinning. You should desire to have a more and more sensitive conscience to sin, and a greater increase in the sense of guilt for your sin, until it drives you to seek relief. The relief that comes through the forgiveness of sins, provided through the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. We won't take medicine unless we think we are sick. We don't seek salvation unless we think we are sinners that need forgiveness. Guilt in our conscience can give us that sense of need.
Freedom from Guilt
The salvation offered through the Lord Jesus Christ is able to satisfy the quietest qualms of conscience, and the greatest roarings of guilt, because ALL our sin is paid for completely, and God 's holy and just character, and its claims, are fully satisfied. The ONE sacrifice has paid for it all! This should quiet the condemnation of guilt. (Especially if we have committed those matters worthy of the death penalty in Scripture.)
Is my sin forgiven?
Completely, totally, fully, and irrevocably, IF the Lord Jesus has been made your Savior. Romans 10: 9 says, "That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved." Will you believe God , and trust in the Lord Jesus? That He died in your place, to take your punishment for your sins, and paid for them all? That this has satisfied all God's claims, and you can be pardoned?
Does God hate me now?
God hates sin, never the sinner. He loves you and desires for you to be reconciled to Him by accepting the Lord Jesus with the forgiveness of sins. He looks at you as if you are the Lord Jesus Christ Himself - you are accepted in the Beloved! :D
Do I have access to God, as I sin?
You have the access to confess your sin, and to turn from it.( 1 John 1 :8) But by sinning, you cut off the fellowship you have with God, by putting your sin between Him and you. It doesn't take away your relationship with Him - having become a son of God (John 1:12); but you can be like the prodigal who ends up "a far off', until you come to your senses and restore your fellowship. And this brings up another matter:
"I am saved, but I seem to feel more guilty. Can you help me?"
Congratulations, you are experiencing one of the proofs of salvation! When you get saved , your human spirit gets regenerated and has new sensitivity to the things of God. And the Holy Spirit has come to dwell in you! He wants to make you more like the Lord Jesus. He will start bothering you about matters that never bothered you before. (Like maybe, looking at the other gender with lust; spending too much time playing computer games; being dishonoring to your parents; masturbating; being bitter; holding grudges; seeking revenge; gossip; eating the wrong foods!; not exercising enough; a multitude of different things - wherever you need changing.) Obedience quiets such stirrings. Failure or inability can be quieted by committing your cause to the Lord and looking for His guidance and grace ("grace to help in time of need.") Grace is God giving you the desire and power to do the will of God. Yielding to God's grace brings change into your life, and your conscience the opportunity to start working in another area of your life. :)
How can I overcome my guilt?
If you are not saved, by confessing, and forsaking your sin, and accepting the Lord Jesus as your Savior, (and making any restitution as necessary). If you are already a Christian, by asking God what it is for, and what He wants you to do about it. Most can be handled by confessing the sin that originates it, and making restitution to those whom it is deserving. For many, it is a reminder that they are to be dependent on the Lord Jesus, and not look to themselves, for they will only find insufficiency in themselves, but everything will be supplied in Him. "Look and live, my brother live; Look to Jesus now and live."
Is the Devil torturing me?
There are times that the devil will use your conscience to bring self-condemnation into your life, if it can be used to make you useless, ineffective, miserable, depressed, or consider self destruction. For the humanist, atheist, or religious, this is a great way to keep them from Christ. But if it causes you to seek your Creator's solution, then he has overstepped his purpose with guilt, and has miscalculated. So he won't use it if it draws you to God. But remember, that you are the one who decides how you will respond to guilt. Some will not turn to God, and fall into depression and other mental illnesses. What will you do?
God uses guilt to correct, discipline, and teach growth in our lives. It's like a sweet siren voice that calls us closer to Him, and influences us to find our sufficiency in Him. We should embrace that voice. But if it (guilt) is torturing us, then it is not from God.
Let us walk in the light as He is in the light, so that we can see whether our deeds are wrought in God or not!
In Christ, Lawrence Howie Editor: Pavel R.