© 1999 James A. Fowler

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I. Some Biblical words for guilt.

    A. Hebrew word asham - "offense, guilt"
         Prov. 30:10 - "slave...curse you and become guilty"
         Jere. 51:5 - "Israel and Judah...their land is full of guilt"
         Hosea 5:15 - "..until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face"
    B. Hebrew word avon - "iniquity, guilt"
         Job 33:9 - "I am innocent and there is no guilt in me"
         Ps. 32:5 - "Thou did forgive the guilt of my sin"
    C. Greek word enochos - "liable, culpable, guilty"
         Matt. 5:22 - "guilty before the court"
         Mk. 3:29 - "guilty of an eternal sin"
         I Cor. 11:27 - "guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord"
         James 2:10 - "keep whole law, stumble in one point...guilty of all"
    D. Greek word aitios - "responsibility, guilt"
         Lk. 23:4,14,22; Jn. 18:38; 19:4,6 - "I find no guilt in Him"

II. Kinds of guilt.

    A. Objective guilt, legal guilt - caught in trespass of law.
         1. Theological guilt - trespass of God's law or character
             Rom. 3:23 - "all have sinned and fall short of glory of God"
             James 2:10 - "stumble in one point, guilty of all"
         2. Sociological guilt - trespass of law of land, or civil law
             I Peter 2:13 - "submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution"
    B. Subjective guilt, psychological guilt - trespass of established attitudes.
         1. Bible does not directly address issue of psychological guilt.
         2. Allusion to guilty conscience -
             Rom. 2:15 - "Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their                  thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them"
         3. Legitimacy of guilt feelings
             a. Genuine guilt feelings - established attitude consistent with God's attitude.
             b. False guilt feelings - established attitude not consistent with God's attitude.
                 (1) Sigmund Freud - "To feel guilty is not to be guilty."
                 (2) Attitudes of "weak" brothers - Rom. 14; I Cor. 10
             c. Whatever is not of faith is sin - Rom. 14:23

III. Consequences of guilt.

    A. Theological guilt
         1. Penalty -
             Rom. 5:12 - "sin entered the world, and death through sin"
             Rom. 5:15 - "by the transgression of the one the many died"
             Rom. 6:23 - "wages of sin is death"
         2. Condemnation
             Rom. 5:16 - judgment arose from transgression resulting in condemnation.
             Rom. 5:18 - "through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men"
    B. Sociological guilt
         1. Penalty
         2. Condemnation
    C. Subjective guilt - both genuine and false
         1. Nervous
         2. Depressed
         3. Defensive
         4. Suspicious
         5. Sleeplessness, insomnia
         6. Fear, panic attacks
         7. Escapism, flight
         8. Insecurity
         9. Judgmentalism
       10. Lack of concentration
       11. Shallow friendships
       12. Blame others
       13. Self-contempt, self-denigration, self-condemnation
       14. Addictions, self-destructive behavior
       15. Works and performance

IV. Solution to guilt

    A. Theological guilt
         1. Payment of penalty by Jesus Christ
             a. Bought with a price - I Cor. 6:20; 7:23
         2. Christ took our condemnation
             a. No condemnation - Rom. 8:1
         3. Christians are acquitted and declared "right with God"; justification by faith
         4. Provision of God's grace for righteousness
    B. Sociological guilt
         1. Must face consequences of our choices
         2. Pay the penalty imposed
         3. Stand condemned
         4. Provision of God's grace for righteousness
    C. Subjective guilt
         1. Inadequate solutions
             a. Minimize - "It's nothing." "Only an illusion"
             b. Rationalize - "Everybody's doing it"
             c. Compromize - "lower your standards"
             d. Criticize - "blame others"
             e. Chastize - "whip yourself" - masochism
             f. Apologize - confessionalism - "I'm so sorry"
         2. Christian solutions
             a. Confess your sin - I John 1:9
             b. Accept God's forgiveness
             c. Live by faith - our receptivity of His activity - Col. 2:6
             d. Develop God's attitude by renewing of the mind - Rom. 12:2



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