You’ve sinned and you still feel guilty; what should you do? Scripture says that everybody’s sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (see Romans 3:23). So if you’ve sinned, welcome to the human race.
But I’m not trying to give anybody any excuses. Because when we believe in Jesus, we’ve set ourselves on a course to follow Him. Which is another way of saying obey Him. Which is another way of saying we keep His commandments.
And that’s our intention. We repent of our sins. We’re turning away from that which we know is displeasing in God’s eyes, and we set ourselves on a course every day: take up your cross, deny yourself, and follow Him (see Luke 9:23).
Obedience is Progressive
But still, James said, “We all stumble in many ways” (James 3:2). He talks specifically about how we so often stumble with the things that we say.
Stumbling implies unintentional. Tt implies accidental. That is, within our hearts, within our minds, within our will we want to obey the Lord. We want to do what’s pleasing in His eyes. And that’s the mark of the genuine Christian. If you don’t care, if you’re not concerned, well, Jesus is not your Lord. So every day we’re striving to please him. Yet still we fall short.
Scripture talks about a progression called sanctification. Jesus said, “If you’re truly My disciples, you will abide in My Word. And you will know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (see John 8:31-32).
He’s talking specifically there about freedom from sin. So that’s a progressive thing. As we renew our minds upon the Word of God, as we learn God’s will, as we walk with Him every day and try to learn what is pleasing to Him, then we’re growing in holiness and sanctification. But all along that way we are fraught with our own weaknesses and frailties and we face temptations, and we are apt to give in to those temptations. (continued after the graphic below…)
10 Bible Verses on Forgiveness to Encourage Your Faith
So we all know what to do. When you fail, of course you feel guilty.
Now, let me encourage you just by virtue of that sense of guilt that you have. If God was giving up on you, and if this was the end and He was saying, “you’re hopeless,” well, there wouldn’t be any reason for Him to make you feel guilty.
The whole idea of guilt is to give us some motivation to repent. And within that of course is contained the realization that the Lord wants to forgive. The Lord wants to restore. He’s still on my side and He’s helping me along the path of sanctification, and guilt is a part of that process. So you recognize right off the bat, the guilt that I feel is another indication of the love of God.
Don’t ever forget, he is our Father. If you’re a father, or if you’re a mother and you have children, think of the compassion that you have upon them. Even when they disobey you blatantly, you still love them and you still want them to come to their senses if they’re not realizing what they’ve done. And you try to help them see that they’ve done wrong.
You might explain to your little daughter or your little son, “Well, here’s the reason we don’t do that. That hurts other people’s feelings.” Or, “That’s not right, you have to share, because God wants us to share.” So we’re helping them to understand what’s right and what’s wrong. The Lord’s the same way with that sense of guilt that He lets us all experience when we sin.
What To Do When You Sin
All right, so what do you do when you sin? Scripture is very clear: you confess it. Proverbs 28:13 says that “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.”
You know how that works. In our relationships with other people, when people offend us, when they sin against us, the way to heal that breach in our relationship is if they’ll come and ask for forgiveness, if they’ll acknowledge and confess that what they’ve done has been offensive and say, “Would you please forgive me?” Then it’s very easy to forgive people who humble themselves like that.
So if you and I have that capacity to forgive people and give them another chance, we being human beings… Well, how much more does the Lord have that capacity? He’s longing to forgive us. He wants to bring us to a place where we can acknowledge our sins, and as we read there in Proverbs, not just confess, but also forsake them.
Okay? So there has to be a determination. And of course naturally there is if you’re sincerely asking forgiveness. And naturally, you don’t want to do it again, just like you didn’t want to do it the first time. (continued after the graphic below…)
A Promise to Memorize
Then we have a promise from 1 John chapter 1:9. I think this is the first Bible verse that I ever memorized (and for good reason, because I so desperately need it!).
“If we confess our sins,” there it is, “he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” So there it goes.
And God has made other promises similar to that. If we’ll confess, if we’ll forsake our sins, though they be as scarlet, they’ll be as white as snow (see Isaiah 1:18). So He erases it and He casts our sins, as He says, “Into the sea of forgetfulness” (see Micah 7:19). There are these beautiful analogies in Scripture that help us to understand how gracious and forgiving and merciful God is. (continued after the graphic below…)
Believing God’s Promises for Forgiveness
Now, our question on today’s lesson was, “I confessed it, but I still feel guilty; what should I do?” Well, now is the time to learn a little lesson about faith. Faith doesn’t go by what it feels, it goes by what God’s Word says.
So if God says He’s forgiven you because you confessed it, you met the conditions, then He has forgiven you. So believe it. If you believe it, then you’re not going to wallow in depression over it.
Now, again, if you’ve harmed somebody, the consequences you often can’t change. If you’ve messed things up, you can’t fix the consequences, and so you can’t get rid of that regret. But I’m talking about if you feel like God is still holding it against you, then that’s a feeling that doesn’t line up with God’s Word or God’s promise. And so you need to get hold of yourself and say, “Wait a second here, buddy, God said if you confess He forgives you, and so you’re forgiven. So go on as if you’re forgiven.”
Just like you would if you sinned against me and you asked me to forgive you. I’d forgive you and I’d want you to go on from then on not wallowing in it, not thinking I’m still upset at you. I want you to know you truly are forgiven. Okay?
A little more to say about this same subject on tomorrow’s little lesson. Hope to see you then! God bless you.