Summary: This message distinguishes between the false guilt that many labor under, and genuine conviction of sin.
Guilt Free Living
When I was a kid, there was a dairy stand called Cluxton’s not far from where we lived. I couldn’t number the times that we would be driving by and my dad would say we needed to stop and get a LARGE milkshake or banana split. He used to tell my brother and me that banana splits and milkshakes were good for growing boys. We believed him. And I happen to think it made something already good even more enjoyable.
As an adult, I don’t think a banana split or a LARGE milkshake has ever tasted as good as it did when I was a kid. My dad’s comments made us feel like we were doing something good by enjoying those dairy treats. Not only were they good, but they were good for us! It was a win - win and we loved it!
Today, I struggle to enjoy a small milkshake, made with skim milk, under the disapproving gaze of my wife, Laurie. 9 She never suggests we stop for the ice cream like my dad used to do. And if I bring it up, she never says, "sure Honey. That would be good for you. The most positive response she can muster when I suggest we stop is, "well, I guess…if you think you have to…but I’m not getting anything." No fun.
The truth is, it’s not just my wife’s disapproval, but the reports from the American Heart Association, American Medical Association, the Diabetes Association and over eater’s anonymous that robs me of the joy that I once knew at places like Cluxton’s.
You can’t enjoy anything good to eat anymore. Some ladies in the church have been baking desserts for missions. The worship folder says, and I quote, "Are you trying to watch your weight" (that statement right there takes all of the fun out of it). The announcement goes on to say, "Now you can have your cake and eat it too! You can choose from yummy desserts that you don’t have to feel guilty about!"
When was the last time you had any dessert, that didn’t taste like cardboard, without feeling guilty about it? Wouldn’t it be great to not only enjoy it, and I mean really enjoy, but also be able to eat as much as you want without feeling guilty about it?
We all hate feeling guilt, but I suspect most of us do from time to time. And some of us feel guilt on a pretty regular basis. And the truth is we are feeling guilty about far more important things than milkshakes, banana splits, and chocolate brownies.
Let’s talk about living without guilt. Paul’s letter to the church at Rome offers some liberating words for people laboring under a load of guilt.
Romans 8:1-4 (NIV)
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
3 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man,
4 in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
I want to talk to you this morning about this freedom from guilt that is only made possible by a right relationship with Jesus Christ.
Romans 8 he tells us that there is no condemnation when we are in Christ Jesus. Do freedom from guilt and living with no condemnation sound good to you?
It is a message that has implications for every one of us. We’ve all faced guilt for having said or done the wrong thing at some point in our lives. We have also experienced guilt for having not said or done the right thing that we knew we should.
The truth is, most Christians are not experiencing Romans 8:1 on a very consistent basis. We need to understand what guilt can do to us and how we can live without it.
The good news is that we can be free from guilt, especially false guilt. First, we need to understand that there are basically Three Types of Guilt.
1. Guilt before God.
We have guilt before God when we are in violation of God’s Word and God’s will. This is a healthy type of guilt. It’s brought on by the Holy Spirit who convicts us of sin enabling us to see our wrong doing and challenging us to turn from doing wrong to doing right.
2. Guilt before men.