This is Part 2 of two parts answering the question, “In what ways are even suffering people guilty before God?” in the larger project answering the question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?”
Guilt is part of the Sin Nature Resident in the Body
All people carry the sin nature in their body. Paul was a Pharisee and considered by most people a very righteous man. But even he recognized the real character resident in his body. He said,
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. (Rom 7:18-20 NKJ)
Furthermore, he said he knew there were two forces operating within him,
22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Rom. 7:22-24 NKJ)
In his spirit, Paul wanted to do the right thing, but he was pulled by the lusts (desires) of his flesh against that desire to please the Lord. He knew that this conflicting force was resident inside him in his body. As explained before, that human sin nature was passed down through the father to every child. The human race reveals that nature, because it disobeys and, committing only one sin is just as serious as breaking the whole law,
10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. (Jam. 2:10 NKJ)
He explained this further in letters to several churches,
19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. (Rom. 3:19 NKJ)
27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. (1 Cor. 11:27 NKJ)
Guilt is Removed at Death
That is why when a person dies, he is separated from his temporary (earthly) body and the guilt that resides in it. He receives a new resurrection body, which does not have this sin nature. Paul encouraged the Corinthians,
For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, 3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4 For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 6 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. (2 Cor. 5:1-6 NKJ)
We groan in our body (the earthly tent), but one day we who have trusted in Jesus Christ will receive a resurrection body free from the sin nature and the guilt of sin. We will walk completely free in newness of life and there will be no more guilt or sorrow (Rev. 21:4).
How can you be free from that guilt? Guilt is something every person in the human race carries until they are convicted by the Holy Spirit and receive Jesus Christ as their Savior. Upon faith in Christ, the Holy Spirit regenerates the new believer and cleanses him from all guilt. Hence, all of us carry guilt, because it is sin against a holy God that resides in us from conception. Once a person believes in Jesus, there is therefore now no condemnation (Rom. 8:1). The guilt is totally removed at death.
- Is there anyone on earth who is guiltless?
- Does a baby have guilt? In what way?
- How can condemnation be removed from the human race or individuals?
- Does his sin nature or his actual sins make man wrong? In what way?
- Why do you suppose many people, especially Christians, walk around with a great amount of guilt clouding their path?
This concludes the two postings.