Guilt Can’t Produce the Obedience God Desires, Because It Has Nothing to Do with Love of God

“If love for God isn’t present in our heart, then Godward obedience will be absent in our life.” -Elyse Fitzpatrick, Comforts from the Cross

 

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Why Guilt Isn’t a Great Motivator

“It seems upside down to say that God motivates our obedience by freeing us from law and by declaring that he has no wrath left for us, but it’s true, and true faith embraces it.

To help you understand this principle, let me ask you a few more questions: How do you act when you feel guilty? How do you feel about someone you might have offended? Does your guilt make you love him more? Of course not. When I feel guilty, it isn’t long before I’m comparing my behavior with my accuser’s, feeling angry or self-justifying, or spending hours in self-recrimination and despair. Guilt doesn’t produce love; only grace does that.” -Elyse Fitzpatrick, Comforts from the Cross

 

Cultural Observation: Nobody is Guilty

“I went to my psychiatrist to be psychoanalyzed.
To find out why I killed the cat and blacked my husband’s eyes.
He laid me on a downy couch to see what he could find,
And here is what he dredged up from my subconscious mind:
When I was one, my mommy hid my dolly in a trunk,
And so it follows, naturally, that I am always drunk.
When I was two, I saw my father kiss the maid one day,
And that is why I suffer now from kleptomania.
At three, I had the feeling of ambivalence towards my brothers,
And so it follows naturally I poisoned all my lovers.
But I am happy; now I’ve learned the lesson this has taught:
Everything I do that’s wrong is someone else’s fault.” -Anna Russell

 

What Broken Fellowship With God Is Like

“One of the results of this guilt [incurred through Adam’s Fall] is broken fellowship with God (see Gen. 3:8-10). However spectacularly wonderful the pleasure of enjoying intimacy with God, captured in the picture of walking with God in the cool of the day (3:8), now it is gone. We can catch some small glimpse of this wretched slide through human analogies. If you have been married for ten years in a really good marriage characterized by genuine intimacy and not a little joy, and then for some abysmal reason you slip up and sleep with someone you should not be sleeping with, and you know it and your spouse knows it, the old easy intimacy is shattered.  You cannot look each other in the eye anymore. Shame engulfs you. You hide. Even if good efforts are made to heal the breach, there are certain things you cannot talk about anymore. That is why throughout the Bible human sin before God is sometimes described as analogous to sexual betrayal.” -D.A. Carson