Guilt

1. Nature of guilt.

By guilt we mean desert of punishment or obligation to render satisfaction to God?s justice for self-determined violation of law. There is a reaction of holiness against sin, which the Scripture denominates ?the wrath of God?

( <450118>Romans 1:18). Sin is in us, either as act or state; God?s punitive righteousness is over against the sinner, as something to be feared; guilt is a relation of the sinner to that righteousness, namely, the sinner?s desert of punishment.

Guilt is related to sin as the burnt spot to the blaze. Schiller, Pie Braut von Messina: ?Das Leben ist der Guter hochstes nicht; Per Uebel grosstes aber ist die Schuld? ? ?Life is not the highest of possessions; the greatest of ills, however, is guilt.? Delitzsech: ?Die Schamrothe ist die Abendrothe der untergegangenen Sonne der ursprunglichen Gerechtigkeit? ? ?The blush of shame is the evening red after the sun of original righteousness has gone down.? E. G. Robinson: ?Pangs of conscience do not arise from the fear of penalty; they are the penalty itself.? See chapter on Fig leaves, in McIlvaine, Wisdom of Holy Scripture, 142-154 ? ?Spiritual shame for sin sought an outward symbol, and found it in the nakedness of the lower parts of the body.?

The following remarks may serve both for proof and for explanation:

A. Guilt is incurred only through self-determined transgression either on the part of man?s nature or person. We are guilty only of that sin which we have originated or have had part in originating. Guilt is not, therefore, mere liability to punishment, without participation in the transgression for which the punishment is inflicted. In other words, there is no such thing as constructive guilt under the divine government. We are accounted guilty only for what we have done, either personally or in our first parents, and for what we are, in consequence of such doing.

Ezekial 18:20 ? ?the son shall not hear the iniquity of the father? =, as Calvin says (Com. in loco): ?The son shall not bear the father?s iniquity, since he shall receive the reward due to himself, and shall bear his own

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