We have been looking at the results of sin and this week I want to look at how sin results in a guilty conscience.
Sinners feel the weight of their sin by their conscience. David gives us two examples. When he cuts off part of the robe of Saul (‘David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe’ 1 Samuel 24:4-5) and when he counts his soldiers (‘David was conscience-stricken after he had counted the fighting men’ 2 Samuel 24:10).
We also see that a guilty conscience is not a comfortable thing. David immediately desires to have it removed: ‘David was conscience-stricken after he had counted the fighting men and he said to the LORD, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, O LORD, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.”’ 2 Samuel 24:10.
But do all sins result in a guilty conscience? It is true that many people do not feel guilty for different sins that they have committed when they should. This is because part of the punishment for their sins is that their consciences have been damaged. Paul describes this: ‘Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron’ (1 Timothy 4:2).
But usually we feel some guilt when we commit certain sins. Sometimes this feeling of guilt is overwhelming, like what David describes: ‘My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly. I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning. My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body. I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart’ (Psalm 38:4-8).
So what can remove our guilty consciences? Only the blood of Jesus: ‘How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!’ (Hebrews 9:14). By his death, Jesus paid for our sin so that God no longer considers us guilty. Those who trust in Jesus are not guilty.
Do you have a guilty conscience? Repent and believe in Christ to gain a clear conscience from sin.