Part of being created in the image of God means that we share common attributes with our Creator. God is loving, just, merciful, wrathful, forgiving, gracious, and the list goes on. We as humans share these attributes but we do not have the infinite unlimited capacity that God has. Ever since sin came into the world we have corrupted these attributes in our fallen state. Everything in humanity has been corrupted by sin, even our sense of morality.
In Romans 1 Paul tells us that ever since the fall, we have been given over to our human depravity and by the end of the chapter, Paul states that we even celebrate as good that which God calls evil. We see this in our society as the moral brokenness of humanity is celebrated when a cake maker is famously deemed immoral because he does not conform to the moral compass of the culture.
At the same time millions of people are sick with depression and worry because they are stricken with guilt. Particularly in western cultures where laws and principles have been somewhat influenced by a Christian ethic, the chasm between the cultural change and the traditional values are transparent in the psychologist’s offices. This cultural change has given rise to guilt-ridden, anxious humans who are arguing against their parent’s values to live the way their sinful hearts lead. The psychologists have an answer for this. It is not your sin that is the problem it is your guilt. Get rid of your guilt. Fight your Freudian Super-ego and embrace your Id. Don’t let your guilt get you down but overcome it with healthy measures of self-esteem.
How do Christians act with this dilemma in our societies? Unfortunately, many Christians have embraced the psychological principles of our day to merge biblical truth with the self-esteem doctrines of the world. The dilemma of sin is not as much of a problem as the way you feel about yourself. But the Scriptures give us an answer for our culture’s dilemma of conscience. It is in a simple verse that says that our guilt leads us to an ultimate cure for conscience that the world will never teach.
Hebrews 10:22-23 “…let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”
Our consciences can be washed clean through repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ. We can appeal to the moral dilemmas of our unbelieving friends and family and say, “Your guilt is not such a bad thing. It is saying you have a problem that only the cross of Christ can fix. You don't need self-esteem, you need forgiveness.”
The cross is the true cure for conscience.