From: Bob Williams
Guilt is the moral sense of blame we feel when we know we’ve done wrong. It produces shame, rejection, unworthiness, and low self-esteem. We have feelings of guilt when dealing with our fellow man, but we also have the problem of guilt before God as Ro. 3:19 says, “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” He tells us why in Ro. 3:23: “For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.”
The issue then becomes, how can we resolve our problem of guilt before a holy and righteous God? How do we gain the total forgiveness of God?
Some feel that confession of sins is the answer. Many either “go to confession” occasionally, or go through a confession process. Their purpose is to “wipe the slate clean” before God. But we know that doesn’t work; the slate keeps getting dirty, thus we create a cycle of guilt, confession, and then forgiveness that is repeated over and over again. While this may make us feel better for a while, the problem of guilt is not resolved. This is very discouraging, for because of its repetition, the process actually increases our awareness of our shortcomings and failures. Like putting a pot under a leaking roof, we can empty the pot and feel better, but the leak has not been resolved and we are constantly aware of the problem. Like the pot for the leak, the temporary fix of confessing our sins actually puts us in bondage to our sins, and our guilt goes unresolved.
It should be noted that at one time in the Bible, when God was dealing with the nation of Israel under the Law of Moses, He did require the confession of sins. But as we learn in Gal. 3:24, the law was to be a schoolmaster to point them to Christ. The Law of Moses was given, not as a means for salvation and forgiveness, but rather to bring them to a clear realization of their sin and guilt. That is why after reading Ro. 3:19 about all the world being guilty before God, that Ro. 3:20 states, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
Today many people like to use 1 John 1:9 to keep “short accounts” with God, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” By using this confession model, we are actually going back to a system that was designed for Israel and that was never designed to relieve our guilt, but expose it. Should God forgive us just because we ask him to, especially when He knows we will just do it again? God cannot let us off the hook that easily; His righteousness won’t allow it.
The answer to the problem of our guilt before God is found only in the total provision that God Himself already provided. Sin cannot be overlooked; it must be paid for. God provided the payment for our sins in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ at the cross of Calvary: “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past…” Ro. 3:25; “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace,” Eph. 1:7; and “…having forgiven you all trespasses.” Col. 2:13
God has replaced the confession process and its short-term results with the riches of His grace in Jesus Christ. God’s total forgiveness is available by simply making the decision to trust in the finished work of Christ. It is that simple to get all past, present, and future sins forgiven and have the slate wiped clean. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.” Eph. 2:8-9
Instead of confessing to God, we should be thanking Him for His grace and the total forgiveness He has given us in Christ. Let His total and complete forgiveness free you from your guilt, and motivate you to faithfully serve Him.