Guilt: Fact or Feeling?

An important distinction that we need to make as Christians is the difference between the fact of guilt and the feeling of guilt. The world today acknowledges that people struggle with feelings of guilt. So much of secular counseling is designed strictly to help people get over such feelings, whether by medication, self-affirming thoughts, or other techniques, without any attempt to address the reality of guilt in people’s lives. Yet these remedies fail to treat the root problem.

We see in God’s Word that shame (feeling of guilt) entered this world not as a result of chemical imbalance or behavioral disorder, but as a result of our sinful rebellion against God. The feeling of guilt resulted from the fact of guilt. As sinners, we not only feel guilty, but we, in fact, are guilty, before God and before men. And as such, we deserve God’s just judgment for our guilt.

This is why the cross is so precious. At the cross, Jesus Christ has born the punishment and death that we deserved for our sins. And being raised from the dead, He has proven victorious over our guilt, so that now, by repentance and faith in Christ, we may receive forgiveness from our sins. In Christ, God has provided true healing for all the shame of our sins. As you head out this week, rejoice that your guilt has been truly and decisively dealt with in Christ. And as you rejoice, proclaim this message of God’s grace to a world struggling with guilt.

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