Chris Castaldo (of the Gospel Coalition) submitted an article this morning titled, The Remedy to Religious Guilt. He uses his Catholic background to contextualize the issue, but protestants should not quickly glance over sentences such as these:
Misdirected guilt is a human problem that plagues every religious tradition, including Protestantism. In its most acute form, this guilt is not simply an incident; it is a lens through which we view the Christian faith. Over time, it can control our mental framework.
Guilt-riddled minds are everywhere. Three conversations in the last two days will testify to this fact. I didn’t grow up Catholic, but I did “rededicate” my life almost every week as a kid. Guilt from sin and fear of condemnation can be powerful motivators for earning God’s favor. But Christ did not die on the cross to give us a clean slate, some spiritual 409, and a towel. Rather, He gave us life and completely satisfied God’s wrath toward our sin.
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross. – Colossians 2:13-14
Castaldo concludes his article with these words:
Because our identity is founded in the resurrected Christ seated at God’s right hand, God looks upon us as being clothed with the perfection of his Son. On this basis, we have the audacity to lift our eyes to heaven in the absence of guilt and know that we are accepted as sons and daughters of almighty God.
Jesus’ work is final and definite. His sacrifice does not make salvation possible… it actually saves sinners! Christian, we have much to be thankful for! If there remains any compulsion to inward action, let it be to hold firmly to this glorious gospel! Continually bathe in the Word of God, meditate on His riches, and preach the gospel to yourself before opening your mouth towards anyone else. And remember…
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. – Romans 8:1