[Or, Why do I feel bad when I sin?]

It is not surprising that Christians feel 'bad' (or 'guilty') when they sin. Although God has forgiven us through the blood of Jesus, and we possess forgiveness of sins in Christ (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14), sin is still wrong and we know we should not do it.

We experience this sense of wrongness because when we sin:

We have acted contrary to our real, original human identity (Genesis 1:27).

We have acted contrary to our real, original human role and human purpose (Isaiah 43:7).

We have acted contrary to the new identity we have in Christ (1Peter 2:9a).

We have acted contrary to the new role and purpose we have in Christ (1Peter 2:9b-12).

We have acted contrary to the nature and character of our God (Matthew 5:48).

We have acted contrary to the love of Christ that we profess (John 14:15).

We have grieved the Holy Spirit, who brought us to new life, united us with Christ, and assures us that we are his children (Ephesians 4:30).

We have basically told God to shut up and let us do our own thing (1Thessalonians 5:19).

We feel bad because, deep down, we know that sin is thus totally incongruous in those who claim to know, love and serve God.

As a result of our sin and our knowledge of its wrongness, we sometimes:

Forget the Gospel and allow our sin and Satan to accuse us and condemn us (Romans 8:1, 31-39).

Forget the Gospel and refuse to acknowledge our sin, bearing the burden of it ourselves instead of approaching the throne of grace for mercy (1John 1:8-10; Hebrews 4:16).

Forget the Gospel and see ourselves relating to God on the basis of our own performance instead of on the basis of the mediatorial work of Christ (1John 2:1-2).

Let us remember the great mercy of God: it was while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8), and his death for our sins cannot be undone or reversed by our present sin. Like the tax-collector in the temple we continue to depend on this mercy alone, and not at all on any perceived spiritual merit of our own: 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner' (Luke 18:9-14).

© Rosemary Bardsley 2019