Dealing with Nagging Guilt



Key Bible Verse: Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. (Psalm 51:7)

Dig Deeper: Psalm 51

If you are a believer and you’ve confessed your sins yet you still have a conscience that haunts you, remember that when you belong to God’s family the Holy Spirit convicts you of sin for which you must ask forgiveness, but once you have confessed that sin, his work is over. There is still, however the matter of your relationship to other people who might need attention. But as for your relationship with God, you can insist on a clear conscience.

There are two gifts mentioned in 1 John 1:9. We are both forgiven and cleansed. Our fellowship with God is restored, and our conscience is purged. This is your privilege as a Christian. Yes, you must accept God’s forgiveness, but also his cleansing.

We can’t clear our consciences by confessing the same sins again and again. Indeed, the very act of reconfession is proof that we lack faith that God is “faithful and just to forgive, and to cleanse us.” When nagging pangs of guilt return, we must affirm that our sins are already forgiven. Guilt serves a purpose in that it leads us to confess our sins to God; but once we have accepted his forgiveness, guilt serves no useful purpose. God says you’re forgiven; and from his point of view, it’s a done deal.

– Erwin Lutzer in The Power of a Clear Conscience

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