walk in the word
4Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. 5Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. 7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. 9Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 10Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. —Psalm 51:4-10
I Timothy 1:19 is a sober warning: “ . . . holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith.” Guilt is your conscience saying, “You did it. You hid it. You can’t get rid of it! You will destroy yourself.” The voice of guilt is conscience.
I John 1:8 says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” We have a sin problem. There’s only one way to handle it that doesn’t involve self-deception—admission. Now guilt has to go. You can have freedom. It’s just to draw your attention to something. If guilt can get you to repentance, you can get rid of the guilt in a hurry.
Here are the three things involved with repentance:
1. Admit it. Take personal responsibility. Just say, “I did it.” Own the wrongdoing.
2. Call it what God calls it. David, in Psalm 51, calls it “transgression,” “iniquity,” “sin,” “evil.” It’s not weakness. It’s not light or excusable. It’s sin. It’s iniquity; it’s transgression; it’s evil.
3. Ask God for forgiveness. Ask Him, like David. “Purge me with hyssop . . . Wash me.”
Isaiah 1:18 says, “Come now, let us reason together . . . though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” So admit it. Identify it correctly as sin. Then ask for forgiveness—not just to God, but one of the truest proofs of genuine repentance is a desire to be right with the people my sin injured.
The result of repentance is freedom from guilt. God doesn’t want the alarm going off constantly. Guilt is an alarm that God has given to your soul. It’s conditioned by what you do and by what you know. If you have an active, God-honoring conscience that the Spirit is working through, the purpose of guilt is repentance. The result of repentance is freedom.
Prayer: Father You are so faithful in accepting our heartfelt repentance and giving us a clean heart and a right spirit within us when we acknowledge guilt and the sin that produced it. Thank You that when we come to You brokenhearted for mercy, You are ready to forgive and restore. In particular, thank You for the times You have restored to me the joy of my salvation. I know I can’t be free any other way. In Jesus’ freedom-giving name I pray, Amen.
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