Feelings of Guilt: Satan’s Conniving or the Spirit’s Conviction?

Posted at The Reformed Reader:

https://www.logos.com/product/4204/the-works-of-thomas-goodwin


In one section of Thomas Goodwin’s book called “A Child of Light Walking in Darkness,” he explains how Satan tricks and deceives a true Christian so that he doubts his salvation. Sometimes Satan will remind us that if a person is a hypocrite, if sin reigns in a person, and if a person is full of self-love, that person is not a Christian. Then Satan says to us: “You played the hypocrite last week and last month. You constantly give in to the sin of anger. You love yourself more than your family and more than God. Therefore you are not a true Christian.”

Notice how this works. Satan uses half-truths to get us to doubt our salvation. It is true that hypocrites, lovers of self, and those who are ruled by sin will not inherit the kingdom of God. However, there’s more to the discussion. A true Christian can stumble into hypocrisy, can give in to sin for a time, and can disobey God by loving self more than Him or others – but this doesn’t mean he is not a true Christian! It just means he’s not yet perfectly sanctified, and that the Spirit in him struggles against the sinful flesh (Gal. 5:17). Satan, the lying deceiver and enemy of Christ and his people, takes our sin, our failings, our stumbling, and our sinful nature and rubs them in our face in order to get us to feel guilty to the point of doubt and despair.

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