The Only True Cure for Guilt

Matthew 18:21-22 “Then Peter came up and said to him, ‘Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.’”

Matthew 9:6 “the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”

Is there anything from your past that is bothering you?  Have you wronged someone else or lied to someone and it’s been weighing on your mind?  Maybe you’re caught up in some harmful act that you know is destructive to you and perhaps others, and you are plagued by guilt because if it, but you just can’t seem to stop.  What can you do about the past?  Are you terrified about some secret getting out about your behavior?  Is there any remedy?

It is the Bible – and nothing else – has real answers to this matter.  The answer isn’t any psychological formula, some medicine, or doing a good deed to “pay for” and offset the evil. Rather, Jesus taught that the recognition of such problems is the first step, and a vital step, to freedom from guilt and the awful feelings of a violated conscience that accompany it.  Jesus said that “only the sick need a physician” (Luke 5:31-32). He was using this analogy to point to spiritual sickness more than physical. And only those who recognize that they are sinners will ever turn to Him for a cure.

After a recognition of sin comes confession of it. The Bible warns “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy” (Proverbs 28:13). Confession shines the light in the darkness. It exposes the sin so that healing can begin. That confession should first be to any person that we’ve sinned against, followed by restitution if such action is called for. But ultimately confession must be made to God, for it is from God that forgiveness and the purification of the heart that accompanies it comes. 

For you see, while people can forgive us (or not forgive us) for sins we commit against them, still there is that sense of guilt for the sins we know we have and are committing that nothing seems to shake. The reason is that those sins, all sins, are sins against God Himself.  Yet this holy, pure and perfect Lord of the universe is a forgiving God. It’s in His very nature. He’s One Who longs to forgive us, and He will forgive us time and time, seventy times seven as it were, if we will but confess, repent, and ask Him for that forgiveness. He has promised us that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).

Think of it – forgiven, all sins blotted out, a pure heart and a new start – all of this is available from God. But the cost to Him was very high, which is the evidence of His great love.  He has told us that “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17). This salvation is available and forgiveness possible only because Jesus paid the penalty for all our sin and all our guilt on the cross. 

So, do you want forgiveness?  Is your sin weighing you down and plaguing your life with guilt? There is but one remedy:  it is the wonderful freedom from sin and guilt that Jesus offers us if we will but turn to Him to be saved – forgiven – born again – different terms for the same indescribable gift that God has made possible and available to anyone who truly repents (i.e., turns around) and thus turns away from their sin and then toward Him to receive it.

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