Answers for Church Members Devotionals

Common questions from church members answered by 9Marks ministries

9 Marks

How does the gospel address both guilt and shame?
Some church leaders today argue that the gospel addresses shame rather than guilt. Or they say that shame is a more primary category in Scripture and that we should de-emphasize the idea of guilt when we share the gospel.
Broadly speaking, we can define guilt as the objective state of having committed a crime against God and having incurred his judicial displeasure. Shame, on the other hand, is both (i) a subjective sense of defilement and remorse over a wrong committed as well as (ii) a broken relationship with God and neighbor. Does the gospel address both? Does it speak to one more than the other?
  1. The gospel addresses our guilt. We’ve sinned against God’s law and God demands a penalty (Hebrews 2:2. The good news of the gospel is that Christ has paid that penalty (Hebrews 9:15).
  2. The gospel also takes care of our shame in both senses. With the judicial problem solved, our relationship to God and to others can be restored and our subjective sense of remorse can be replaced by joy and gratitude (Colossians 1:21-22Romans 5:1-5).
  3. Those who claim that conceptions of guilt are rooted in either medieval or modern Western legal categories and are foreign to the Bible are simply wrong. From beginning to end, in the Old Testament and the New, God has given us an inviolable law and breaking that law always leads to the penalty of death—unless there is a mediator.

For more great resources from Mark Dever and 9Marks Ministries, visit

About Answers for Church Members

Learn all about Christianity at with rich, theological articles, video, and audio focused on the life of Jesus Christ, Bible Study, the Christian church, and Christian living for families. Grow in your faith and walk with Christ as you read about the history of Christianity, salvation, evangelism and discipleship. Use free daily devotionals from your favorite pastors, authors, and speakers as a way to spend daily quiet time with God. Discover how devotions can help you make postive changes in your life toward living out the promises of God. also offers free online Bible study tools with over 30 translations and a library of commentaries, concordances, lexicons, and more for you to highlight, take notes in, and bookmark for studying the Word!

  • Editors' Picks

    Why the Church Must Start Talking about Domestic Violence
    Why the Church Must Start Talking about Domestic Violence
  • Don't Think of Church as Your Own Spiritual Power Bar
    Don't Think of Church as Your Own Spiritual Power Bar
  • So You Think Theology Is Impractical?
    So You Think Theology Is Impractical?