Biblically speaking, guilt is the state of a person who has done something against the commandment of God. In fact the Hebrew word for guilt refers to the punishment that should be dealt out because of the transgression. It has more to do with the fact and penalty of sin than it does with the feeling of having sinned. I would say that the feeling that comes with sin would be more biblically called shame rather than guilt. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, they disobeyed a command of God and earned the punishment of death, and thus were guilty of having sinned. When anyone in Israel sinned against God and realized their guilt, they were to bring an offering to the Lord. The offering removed the guilt by dying in the place of the person who actually sinned (Lev. 5:5-6 for example).
False guilt is what we refer to when a person violates some standard other than the Word of God. They may have disobeyed a house rule, or their own conscience, or some other outside rule and thus they feel guilty. But if the standard is not the Word of God, they have not sinned against God, they only feel like they have. False guilt is just that— false guilt. Fake guilt. No guilt. Simply feelings of guiltiness. These feelings are there because the person is too introspective, too focused on themselves. The person might be afraid God is angry with him. But if he has not sinned, his feelings are false. He needs to repent of allowing himself to think like this and stop feeling guilty for no reason.
In counseling, we deal with sin by pointing to the provision God has given to deal with our sins. We point to the promises of God to forgive sins. We also point out the Biblical means of appropriating that forgiveness. To start we would go to John 3:16, 1John 2:2, 1 John 1:9 and go slowly through each section. If we confess…our sins…He is faithful…and just…to forgive us…and cleanses from all unrighteousness. The counselee needs to see that God sent Jesus as a sacrifice for sins, a redeemer of souls, and a restorer of lives. Then, through confession and repentance, God gives forgiveness and his Holy Spirit to clean us up from the inside out. And it is in this process that God takes away the guilt and replaces it with a new name and a new position in Christ. The guilt is gone. If the feelings of guilt are not gone, the counselee has not believed the Gospel or the results of the Gospel. He may still in his sins.
Guilt is done away with because of Jesus’ death on the cross. Our appropriation of that gift comes when we believe. The result is that the gift actually comes and changes everything. Guilt has no place in the Christian’s life unless he sins. If he does sin, he should confess his sin, receive God’s forgiveness, and be restored to full fellowship with God.