Guilty conscience is one heart disease that a lot of people suffer with, especially believers. The reason it is so is because much of the Church do not really know what Jesus Christ did with their sins by his precious blood. And because of this ignorance the devil cashes on it and use the believers past to condemn and keep in bondage.
If you live under the law though we are no more under the law (Rom.6:14) you will constantly suffer guilt and condemnation because the root of guilt and condemnation is the law. Nobody can fully keep the law (that’s why Jesus came). It was not given for us to keep, instead it was given to make man see that he is a helpless and hopeless sinner in dire need of salvation (Rom.7:7-25; Gal.3:23-25).
The law was given so that you will break it, feel guilty and condemned and then see the reason to embrace Christ’s salvation. And once you receive Christ as your saviour the scriptures says in Rom.8:1, ‘There is therefore NOW NO CONDEMNATION to them who are in Christ Jesus’. This means anyone in Christ (born again) is forever free from guilt and condemnation. We have moved from the law to Grace but if you remain under the law then you’ll always feel guilty because you can never satisfy the law. Read more on How to Deal with a Guilty Conscience.
The word ‘guilty’ in Greek is ‘poneros’. It is derived from ponos. It means to toil, be in anguish or pain. Poneros means hurtful, it also means evil. This is why the King James Bible translates ‘poneros’ as evil. It also means guilty. This is why you’ll find other translations like NIV translate it as ‘guilty’.
Hebrews 10:19-25 New International Version (NIV)
19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21
and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Ponos was the personified god of hard labour and toil in Greek mythology. He presided over extreme physical labour rather than just hard work.
So it means a person with a conscience riddled with guilt is in the bondage of endless religious labours and toils. A Christian suffering from this will always try to please God by works. The Bible calls this dead works, whenever we try to use our own strenght to make God accept us, God sees it as a dead work. The work itself is good but the motive behind it is what makes it a dead work (Heb.6:1; Heb.9:14).
He will burden himself with religious activities, reject the free righteousness of God and go for a self-righteousness (Rom.10:2-3; Isa.64:6). He feels empty, dry and unsatisfied within but he thinks he needs to double up his religious activities to feel accepted, loved and pleased of God. All these only leads to a circle of worthless dead works. Religious activities can never cure a guilty conscience. Only the blood of Jesus can (Heb.9:12-14).
A guilty conscience is a disease that you should deal with squarely and guard against it with the truth of what Christ has accomplished for you on the cross of Calvary.
Thefreedictionary.com says ‘ponos’ is a disease occurring in young children in some Greek islands, characterized by enlargement of the spleen, hemorrhages, fever, and cachexia; possibly the infantile form of visceral leishmaniasis.
So young believers in christ are liable to suffer ‘ponos’. But it should not be. Get yourself rooted in the Gospel truth of his grace and be forever free from guilt.
Poneros according to Biblestudytools.com is defined as follows:
- full of labours, annoyances, hardships
- pressed and harassed by labours
- bringing toils, annoyances, perils; of a time full of peril to Christian faith and steadfastness; causing pain and trouble
- bad, of a bad nature or condition
- in a physical sense: diseased or blind
- in an ethical sense: evil wicked, bad
From the above definition from a Greek Bible dictionary, it clearly means a guilty conscience is full of religious labours, annoyances, hardships (because of inability to receive from God), pressed and harassed by religious labours, brings toils, perils, causes pain and troubling, bad condition diseased and blind, and evil.
The word ‘poneros’ is better translated in Heb.10:22 as ‘guilty’ since the verse is referring to believers in Christ. A believer in Christ cannot be evil as it is, though he may do evil things. But the fact that the word could mean either guilty or evil means so much. It means that a guilty conscience is an evil conscience. God sees a man with a guilty conscience as a man with an evil conscience. Guilty conscience = Evil conscience.
Why it is so (Heb.10:19-25)?
- A guilty conscience will lead you to do evil things.
- It blocks your heart from God’s love, goodness and supply.
- It isolates you.
- You fear what is not Guilty
- You lose your boldness to approach God.
- Not able to hold fast the profession of faith.
- It makes you forsake the assembly of the brethren.
Read the ‘30 Signs of a Guilty Conscience‘.
Satan wants to keep you in guilt because its opens a door for him to you perpetually in bondage even if you are born again. Always remember that Jesus shed his blood to cleanse you from sin (Rev.1:5). You’re forgiven and your sins will never be remembered anymore (Rom.8:12; Rom.10:17). Knowing these is what will keep you forever free from guilt.