This point needs to soak into your bones, because we have a natural desire to cover our shame with guilt instead of grace. Guilt drags along behind us like a ball and chain, even though God has shattered the chain with a cross.
– Sprinkle, Preston; Charis: God’s Scandalous Grace for Us; David C. Cook Publishing; Colorado Springs, CO; Kindle version; copyright 2014; page 168
Yet the good news is that God provides the sacrifice for guilt. After the fall in Genesis 3, God clothed Adam and Eve with sacrificial skins, pointing to the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. God wasn’t bound in any way to do this. It’s a sheer act of free mercy on his part. The whole sacrificial system of the Old Testament pointed forward to the moment when God the Son, in our flesh, would bear the curse for our sin and bring an end to all sacrifices.
– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 195
Maybe you grew up in a home where you were taught all about Jesus. Through fear and guilt you learned to keep as many of the rules as possible, hoping it would be enough to keep you out of hell. You were taught to observe different religious traditions and rituals in an effort to appease God. Instead of becoming a follower of Christ, you become a follower of religion.
– Idleman, Kyle; Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus; Zondervan; copyright 2011; Grand Rapids, MI; Kindle Edition; page 82
When following the rules becomes the principal focus of a church, then you can count on guilt being the primary motivator. Jesus speaks of guilt as a weight that these religious leaders forced people to carry by making a relationship with God all about the rules.
– Idleman, Kyle; Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus; Zondervan; copyright 2011; Grand Rapids, MI; Kindle Edition; page 79
The bottom line is that rules and regulations (and this resulting guilt) are not enough to change our hearts. Only Grace has that power.
– Tchividjian, Tullian; Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free; David C Cook Publishers, Copyright 2013, Kindle Edition, page 70
The tragic irony in all of this is that when we focus so strongly on our need to get better, we actually get worse. We become even more neurotic and self-absorbed. Preoccupation with our guilt (instead of God’s grace) makes us increasingly self-centered and morbidly introspective.
– Tchividjian, Tullian; Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free; David C Cook Publishers, Copyright 2013, Kindle Edition, page 68
Yet we are on the wrong track if we think that the gospel was only necessary for “getting saved” and not for staying saved – even for growing in holiness. It is always “in view of God’s mercies” that we can offer ourselves as “a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1-2). Our sanctification, no less than our justification depends on Christ’s absolution, so that we live out of gratitude rather than guilt and out of faith rather than self-trust. No longer trying to make God indebted to us, we receive his gift and share it with others. The gospel makes us extroverts: looking outside of ourselves to Christ in faith and to our neighbor in love.
Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 132