From Paul Ellis, THE GOSPEL IN TWENTY QUESTIONS
Guilt is a signal that our lives have been disrupted by sin. It’s a sign that a hurt needs to be healed. The problem is we try to fix the hurt with dead religion. We take our sins and hurts to Dr. Law and he gives us bad medicine. He says, “You are not good enough, you are not doing enough, and you need to try harder.” We swallow his medicine, but the tumor of guilt gets bigger.
So we go for a second opinion. We visit Dr. Mixture and he says, “You’re forgiven, as long as you don’t sin. God is so kind he will cleanse you from every sin that you confess.” Now we are not only guilty, we are anxious. What if I miss one sin? Will God be kind then?
With muddled messages like these, is it any wonder that religious people are among the most neurotic people on the planet?
You need to understand that God is not the one making you feel guilty. God removes guilt; he doesn’t give it. To be guilty means to be held responsible for your sin, and God doesn’t hold you responsible. Look to the cross, where Jesus took responsibility for all our sin. He bore our sin so that we might bear his right¬eousness. Under law, the best of us is charged guilty on account of sin. But under grace, the worst of us is charged righteous on account of Jesus.
You may say, “I know I am righteous and justified, yet I still feel guilty.” Connect the dots. If you are righteous and justified you cannot be guilty. In Christ you have been judged and found not guilty for all time.
– Paul Ellis, The Gospel in Twenty Questions, p.117