Throwing off the baggage of guilt can be so freeing and so transforming. It’s not about never feeling convicted for doing something wrong, it’s believing that no matter what happens God has already saved you, forgiven you, and wants to free you.
Here’s how Paul wrote about this to the church at Ephesus:
22 Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.
The image he’s drawing here is of a coat, right? Throw it off! Take off your old, dirty coat and find something new to wear. And God has already given you something new – a brand new nature.
When you sin, you feel convicted. If you’re not a Christian then you’re guilty. That’s your natural state. You sin because that’s your nature. But when you’re a Christian – when Christ has come and taken up residence in your heart and the Holy Spirit is there to lead you – your old nature has no control over you.
But we still sin, right? There will be some mess up now and then. If you’re a believer and you sin, you still feel conviction. The difference is, you’re not defined by that action. You’re actually behaving in opposition to your real nature in Christ. So the conviction is to stop acting like you aren’t.
We throw off our old, dirty nature – like a dirty coat. But if we allow ourselves to feel guilty, then it’s like we’re putting on a prison jumpsuit. You want to let it go, but that guilt still has a hold on you. So the enemy will hand you a prison jumpsuit and make you think you have to perform in order to really be free from sin.
But nothing could be further from the truth! You are no longer bound by guilt. So don’t live like it! Instead, take off that old dirty coat, say no to the prison jumpsuit, and put on a new nature – like a brand new suit. Or better yet, one of those robes that Ric Flair used to wear to the ring. Wooo! You should be walking in style when you’re a Christian!
Look, if you feel bad about yourself then you’ll probably behave bad. But if you realize that God doesn’t want you walking in guilt then you’ll behave the right way. You’ll act your true nature. Take off the old nature, forget the prison nature, and put on the new nature. That’s what it means to let go of the baggage of guilt.