Posted in 1John, Hebrews

Feeling Guilty

“When He (Jesus) had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…” Hebrews 1:3b

Do you often feel guilty? Do you find that many things you do are really motivated by a sense of guilt and fear instead of love? “Well, I’d better do this, or my husband will be upset.” “We better go there or our parents will be disappointed.” “If we don’t offer to do that for them then they might not do this for us.”

It is easy to do the right thing for the wrong reason. God wants to break us of the habit of living out of guilt and fear, so that we can please Him by living in His love. But to get there we need to understand a little theology.

There is one piece of furniture in the heavenly tabernacle, the one Jesus entered into after He died for our sins, that wasn’t found in the earthly one: a chair. That’s because under the Old Testament sacrificial system the work was never done. The sacrifices the high priest made for sin had to be made again and again, year after year. Sin was covered but never removed. People still felt guilty because the sacrifice was imperfect. Hebrews 10:2 points this out:

“If the law and its sacrifices could make people right with God, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins.”

The sacrifice Jesus made of Himself on the cross was enough to cleanse you of your sins. He sat down. The work is finished. You don’t get right with God by going to church, reading your Bible, doing good deeds, or by being a nice person. You could never be sure you were doing enough. Your own guilt would always demand that you try harder and do more. You couldn’t make yourself right with God, only Jesus could. And thank God He did. We must believe that truth to live free from guilt and fear.

“We who have believed enter that rest.” (Hebrews 4:2) Jesus has made a rest for you, have you entered it? Have you sat down on His finished work? Once you have you can enjoy going to church, reading your Bible, doing good deeds, and being nice. You’re not doing it to get right with God (fear and guilt), but because you are right with God and just want to serve Him out of love. If you blow it, and we all do, you just need to confess your sins and He will cleanse you again. (1John 1:9)


Pastor at City Church in Madison, Wisconsin