How the Spirit Handles That “Guilt complex”
Lesson 81

What happens to the sins of one who accepts Christ and receives His Spirit?

A woman’s voice-piercing, urgent-rang through the halls of a hospital where I once worked. “What am I going to do with all my sins?” she cried out as the orderlies wheeled her toward the operating room. Quickly the nurses gathered about, trying in vain to quiet her. The operating-room door opened, and her last word, shrill and distinct, just as the door closed, was “sins.” As a newly baptized Christian, my heart went out in sympathy to that suffering, sin-sick soul! How I have hoped that someone pointed her to Jesus, “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29.)


Where shall we go with our sins? We cannot leave them home or at some depot. We cannot leave them in the doctor’s office or on the psychiatrist’s couch. We cannot give them away to any man, be he preacher or priest. Only Jesus can take away our sins.


Calamities, disasters, and destructions have plagued our planet throughout the centuries, but nothing so terribly grinds down, wears out, and oppresses the soul as sin. Disease may wrack the body and waste the frame, but no physical torture can compare to the inner anguish caused by guilt. Guilt gnaws incessantly and relentlessly at the heart. Like a hideous specter lurking in the dark shadows of the soul, guilt haunts us, mocks our pleasures, and sneers at our successes. Guilt produces a diabolical brood of evil fruits-irritability, bitterness, sarcasm, criticism, disaffection, restlessness, suspicion, and hate. Many a person has become mentally ill while vainly trying to excuse, palliate, and justify his wrongdoings.


Like a red flare in the night, guilt warns that unforgiven sin exists in the soul. We cannot be rid of guilt without first getting rid of sin. Moreover, since there is no way to change a deed that has been already done, the plight of human beings seems hopeless. However, there is hope for those who will accept the forgiveness that Jesus so generously offers.


Christ can provide forgiveness because He never sinned. Christ, the Sinless One, bares our sins, and became sin for us. He did it for everybody, but only those who believe in Him can be benefited. Only those who by repentance and confession give up, give their sins to Him, and accept His righteousness in exchange for their sins can receive the gift He has to offer. (2 Corinthians 5:21.)  As the Holy Spirit flashes this vital truth into the soul of the sinner, it awakens faith, and the grateful heart responds to the love that made such a provision possible. Indeed, “we love him, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19.) Those who truly love Jesus are eager to surrender their sins to Him and to forsake the paths of sin. Christians will love Christ too much to carelessly wound His heart afresh. The “guilt complex,” as it is so frequently spoken of today, is truly complex, but its remedy is quite simple.


The accusing of conscience, the unhappy restlessness, the deep dissatisfactions, and the bitter resentments that build up within the soul, largely result because divine approval has been withdrawn. The Holy Spirit, the divine Comforter who encourages man when he does right and assures him that in doing right he is fulfilling the grand purposes of his existence, withdraws that approval when man does wrong. He cannot comfort the sinner in his sins. Without the fellowship of the Spirit, the sinner has no peace with himself or with anyone else. Isaiah said, “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” (Isaiah 57:21.)


God sends His Holy Spirit to the sinner to bring about reconciliation and restore broken fellowship. The Spirit works by helping the sinner see how God looks at sin-to see that sin costs the life of Jesus. The Holy Spirit leads the sinner to see the true nature of sin: That sin is intrinsically evil, diabolical, wicked, frightening, and totally reprehensible; that the sting of death is in every sin. He helps the wrongdoer to understand that God cannot ignore sin or brush it aside; that in order to save man from sin and its consequences, Jesus Himself had to feel as the sinner feels when plagued with guilt, and upon the cross suffer as the unrepentant will have to suffer in the final destruction of the wicked. Stated in another way, the Spirit actually exposes sin in its naked ugliness to the sinner; and when the sinner sees its exceeding sinfulness and realizes that only the death of the sinless Son of God could possibly atone for his sin, he becomes disturbed. This is called conviction. Conviction is intended to lead to repentance. Conviction gives evidence that the Holy Spirit is working in the heart.


Though the Holy Spirit brings conviction, He does not stop there, For His purpose is to restore fellowship with God, to banish fear, apprehension, and alarm. The Holy Spirit suggests, “Better not take your stand until you know you will stick by it,” or “Religion will make a fool out of you.” However, God does not prompt these thoughts. The spirit of fear is not from God. (2 Timothy 1:7.)


The steps that the sinner takes to received reconciliation and freedom from guilt are simple. All who repent of their sins, confess them, and believe that for Christ’s sake they are forgiven, will know that their guilt has been lifted. The pardoned soul rests upon God’s promises. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1. When the sinner has turned away from sin and forsaken it, the Comforter assures him that his sins are forgiven, and he rejoices in the fellowship of the Spirit.


If after a sinner has confessed Christ he should be un-Christlike in his behavior or falter in his obedience in a moment of weakness, he should not give up but should go immediately to Jesus and with repentance and confession claim anew Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary. Though the Christian stumbles, God by no means casts him off. God will pardon the brokenhearted and repentant. This assurance is found in 1 John 2:1: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”


When David lost the presiding presence of the Holy Spirit in his life, guilt plagued his soul. He knew that happiness for him would never return without the Spirit. In penitence he prayed, “Renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10. With the return of the Comforter David could exclaim, “O Lord, … my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.” (Verse 15.)


Memory Verse:

John 1:29.   “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”


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