Does God want us to feel guilty? Many would respond that we should not, that God sent his son Jesus to die so we could be free from guilt and sin. While that is entirely true, I believe it is only partially correct. It really boils down to where the guilt is coming from.
In many instances, guilt is a product of the lies and accusations Satan hurls at us. This is the guilt that Jesus frees us from. The Bible tells us in Romans 8:1 that, “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” We should reside in the knowledge that Satan has already been defeated. His accusations hold no sway over us because Christ’s blood cleanses us and makes us holy.
But there is another kind if guilt, one that comes from God through his Spirit and spoken directly to our conscience. This guilt is meant to convict us of sin, initiating a repentant lifestyle. 2 Corinthians 7:10-11 says, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done.”
Here, we see that guilt is sometimes necessary in order to produce change, in order for us to grow. Satan’s guilt leads to regret. Guilt from God leads to concern as it should if we have truly given over our heart to him.