Feeling guilty is taking the side of the devil.
Think about the worn out verses of Romans 7 where Paul is saying that he does not do what he wants to do, and he does what he doesn’t want to do, and so on. Do you sense he feels guilty? I do not think so. He acknowledges in that in his physical person there is a struggle that occurs between his evil flesh, and the holy spirit of God. Notice how he removes himself entirely from the conflict. He takes no credit for righteousness, and no blame for unrighteousness. God himself is at war with Paul’s flesh. The same is true of anyone who has been born of God.
Now if we feel guilty, our mind is saying ‘I am taking my stand on the side of the flesh’ and there is guilt because God assaults the flesh. The mind is attached to the flesh and feels as though God is assaulting it as well. Yet if we operate under a clear conscience we welcome God’s assault on the flesh and we take the side of God.
So should we go on sinning with a clear conscience and just say, “I side with God?” God forbid. If we side with the Spirit why would we desire to go on sinning? It is conceivable for us to say it is no longer we that sin, but sin that dwells in us, yet in the very same breath we must say we have no righteous acts, but that which Christ acts through us. We too often want to take all the credit for our evil, and none of the credit for the good, and thus we are left feeling perpetually guilty. We should take credit for neither, that is if we are born of God, through Christ.
Paul talks about walking in the spirit, and not after the flesh. So with our minds we must constantly consider what the spirit is doing, the moment we consider the flesh our guilt condemns us. When we find that we are following the flesh and with our minds, and feeding the flesh and its desires we must repent. Repentance is taking sides again with the spirit.
This principle of ‘taking sides’ is evident in confession of sin. What is confession, it means ‘to speak the same of’. In other words confession is simply saying ‘God what you say about my flesh is true, and I am in agreement with you.’ Confession is taking God’s side against your flesh. Repentance then is turning to serve the spirit as opposed to the flesh with our mind.
Because of Christ’s sacrifice God welcomes us in taking His side because we are His. We were bought with a price, in fact he rejoices when we side against our flesh with Him. Our problem is that we sometimes think He wants us to reform our flesh, or bring it into submission, but that is not the case. The flesh does not need reformed, or corrected, it is evil to its very core, and it needs crucified. Now we (our old man) were crucified with Christ, so we are dead, yet we live. There is no room for guilt, guilt was the property of the old man, and he has been crucified. When we wallow in guilt we are trying to resurrect the old man.
The one thing that makes this all hard to comprehend for me is the time element. The cross was one moment in time that is effectual for all eternity. It is hard to accept the death of the old man on the cross with Christ when we can see the fruit of the old man’s labor every day.
I know this all seems like high thought, but it is very practical. Guilt hinders everything. When we feel guilty, we attempt to pacify our guilty conscience with our own acts of righteousness. Our righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). It is the righteousness of Christ we need. Should we feel remorse for sin? I do not think so. Instead we accept that sin is the deed of the old man who has been crucified, and we leave him behind, and move on toward righteousness.
This morning you and I talked about seeking out our sin, this is the best thing I think we can do. We are telling God when we ask to see our sin that we are on His side, and we desire the flesh to be destroyed. We are then actively participating in God’s act of sanctifying us. We are truly moving towards holiness because we are becoming more and more in accord with God concerning ourselves.
Quite possibly none of that made sense, but it helped me, so it was worth writing. The last thing I want to do is get all philosophical and intellectual so I hope this doesn’t seem that way. I think God is moving us somewhere on this topic, and I am kind of hoping He doesn’t divert us off of it anytime soon. But I choose to be on His side, so if it the topic changes so be it.
Continued in another message
The conversation on guilt is interesting, but it tends toward moving in a bad direction. When we acknowledge the fact that we should bear no guilt for our sin because of the atonement we will too often go one step further and have no remorse over sin. I think there is a distinct difference between remorse and guilt. It should bother us that sin dwells so easily in such close proximity to us, yea even in us, and that is cause for remorse. We know that if we were holy sin could have no part of us, the flesh would be utterly cut off and have no power.
We are not guilty, our guilt was nailed to the cross, yet we are not holy so we end up cohabitating with sin in our mortal bodies. Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death? Christ. He can make me so holy that sin and the flesh will have no dominion in my mortal body. I need him to do that. My only goal in life should be to obtain that holiness from Him, to diligently seek Him and obey Him until sin is utterly destroyed.
We need to be so careful not pervert the blessed truth guiltlessness into authorized unholiness.
Well, those are my thoughts for today.