The Sin Syndrome: Sin, Guilt And Estrangement

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

A failure to understand properly the full extent of God’s forgiveness is always going to hamper our spiritual lives. It is because there is an inevitable cycle involved with sinning, even after we have become children of God born of the water and Spirit. 

When we sin, the Holy Spirit convicts us and we experience a bonafide conviction which is referred to in 2 Cor 7:8-11 as “godly sorrow.” However, if that sorrow is not properly related to the forgiveness of God procured by the means of Jesus’ baptism and death, it will lead to guilt and that will lead to estrangement from God. This estrangement doesn’t mean we don’t belong to God anymore.  However, it can cause us to live in fear of God’s punishment or rejecting us and that leads to a sense of inferiority before God. 

Now how can this sin syndrome of sin, guilt and estrangement be broken? We know we don’t stop committing sins even though we are believers. So how can we keep from developing guilt which leads to estrangement from God? 

Here is the solution. When I knowingly sin, I must confess my sin to the Lord (1 John 1:9).  The word “confess” is a combination of two Greek words, homo and logeo. These two words together mean “to say the same thing about something that someone else says about it.” In this case, when I have sinned, I must say the same thing about my sin that God says about it. Now, what does God say about my sin?

First of all, He says it is sin. So I agree with God that what I just did was sin. I don’t try to make excuses for myself or cover it up. I openly admit that I have sinned. Since I know that I am already forgiven by the Gospel of the water and Spirit which contains God’s Righteousness, then I am not afraid to come to God and be honest with Him about my sin. 

Secondly, God says He has forgiven all my sins, including that one I just committed. So I look to the baptism and cross of Jesus and remind myself of the great fact of my forever forgiveness which He purchased. Then I thank Him that in His sight my sin has already been forgiven. Jesus has already suffered and died for the penalty of that sin.

Thirdly, out of appreciation for that great forgiveness, I accept it gratefully, turn from my sin and begin to focus consciously upon the Lord Jesus again, drawing upon His Holy Spirit, Who is indwelling me and Who alone can empower me not to sin.