For Christians, sin is not a way of life. Rather, it’s a mistake. An Accident. It’s something that should never happen. But Oops – sometimes it does! So what do we do when we feel the guilt that follows sin?
Oftentimes when Christians sin, the after-problem is not forgiveness, but guilt. I personally believe, that feeling guilty when we sin, is still a sign that we love God, a sign that we didn’t like the fact that we sinned. However, prolonged guilt is what must be corrected. In our state of innocence, we feel sorry that we wronged God. We wish we never did what we did. Sometimes we even punish ourselves compensate for what we have done wrong. Seems fair enough, from our human eyes. But have you ever taken a moment to stop and ask: How does God view it? How does God judge my sense of guilt when I sin?
It is my prayer that as you read this article, the Holy-spirit may open your eyes and speak the message you need to hear from him today.
While as Christians, we should never comfortable with sin, it is healthy to feel guilt when we do sin. In-fact, if you are a Christian and you do not feel guilt after sin, then it’s very unhealthy. . The problem begins when we stay in the position of guilt for too long.
There are two main causes prolonged guilt: (1) Self-Righteousness: Not understanding fully God’s Redemption plan (2) Ego: focusing on ourselves and not on Christ. We lose our boldness to pray, it’s a sense of condemnation, it draws us even farther away from God and this is what the devil enjoys. The devil knows that as long as we remain in this state, we won’t get help. We begin to think ‘‘can we ever be forgiven’’? We begin to think “God must be mad at me!’’
But No He isn’t. He knew you could mess up so he made enough provision for it. He made enough propitiation of your past, present and future sins. If God only forgave our past sins and not our present and future sins then we were never saved or redeemed. Because we are humans, we are frail but He knows our frame (Psalms 103:14)
It is one thing to know we are forgiven, but another thing to accept and believe the forgiveness. A lot of people are living continuously in guilt not because God hasn’t forgiven them, but because they haven’t accepted the forgiveness which they need to forgive themselves.
Looking back to my childhood, it would be impossible to count how many times I offended my parents, they would correct me by giving assignments and often times I was flogged, but guess what It didn’t reduce their love for me. Well, I didn’t earn the love by my acts, so I can’t lose it by my actions. As usual, whenever I did something bad, I felt guilty. I would ask for my parent’s forgiveness, receive forgiveness and didn’t choose to remain at the state of guilt. And I continued to enjoy the love showered on me by my parents. So are we supposed to be with our heavenly father. When we sin, we ask for forgiveness, and he is faithful and just to forgive us, then we must receive the forgiveness and embrace the freedom from shame and guilt.
“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, it is finished; and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost” (John 19:30)
Jesus said that ‘it is finished’. And yes it is indeed finished. He forgave us and made us righteous. It’s a finished work. Completed. Done. we can’t add to it by our self-righteousness and we can’t subtract from it by our acts. It’s done. He made us righteous and told us to walk in this righteousness, not try to attain righteousness by ourselves. To overcome prolonged guilt, we have to know we have been forgiven.
Below are some few points I believe can be helpful for overcoming continuous guilt. This has helped me over the years, and I believe they will be of great help to anyone.
- Speak with Someone (Believer)
“Therefore Confess your sins to one another [your false steps, your offenses], and pray one for another, that ye may be healed and restored. The heartfelt and persistent Prayer of a righteous man (believer) can accomplish much”
(James 5:16 AMP)
Every believer should have their own company. As a Christian, there must be someone in your life that can confront you when you are wrong, no matter the level or position you have attained. When faced with guilt, it is recommended you speak with another believer you know has good understanding. Someone you know you can be vulnerable with (your pastor, mentor, spiritual-friend etc.). I would also be available if anyone wants to speak with me. (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Guilt lasts longer because people try to cover up their sins, nurture the wounds of guilt by themselves, but oftentimes this doesn’t work. Do what the above scripture says. Open up to someone. Seek counsel. Let prayers be made for and with you, this may also help in breaking sin addictions.
I believe someone who is matured spiritually will be able to handle your secrets.
- Worship in Songs
Worshipping God when we face guilt, causes our focus to shift from ourselves and to God. We behold his majesty, meditate on His love for us, and think about his Righteousness. I personally love to sing songs by Hillsong and House-fires. I also recommend many other spirit-filled songs that bring our focus on God’s love for us. As we meditate on this, we gain strength to come boldly once again into our father’s presence.
- Dare to Call Him Father
Over the years, I have discovered that the times I have struggled with sin were the times I have not had a good fellowship with the Holy-Spirit in the past days. When we fall into sin, we lose our boldness to pray or worship, we lose our sense of righteousness. We can’t come boldly into His presence any longer as we do. But the point is, we can’t continue that way and hope that the wounds guilt brings will be healed. We have to dear to call him father again, then the author condemnation and guilt, the devil will stop accusing us.
The story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15: 11 – 32), is a good example of this. The boy realised what he was done, he was sorry for what he did wrong, but he didn’t stay there, he took a step, he went back to his father.
“I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee” (Luke 15:18)
“And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him (Luke 15:20)
The boy decided to arise and go back to his father and interestingly despite his sins, his father still loved him and while he was on his way, his father who had always been waiting for him, ran out to him, showed him love and restored him back as His son.
Today, we also need to take such steps. Today, I say despite the prolonged guilt you might be facing, dare to pray, worship and sing. Call him Father. God’s love again his demonstrated to us just like this prodigal son in Luke 15: 11 – 32 stated above.
He loves us even when we mess up. At the point of death, Peter made a lot of promises to stay with Jesus till death (Luke 22:33) but he couldn’t. He denied Jesus three times. Peter went out and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:62). I am sure at this point he must have felt guilty, he must have felt unworthy but yet when Jesus rose from the dead this was an angel’s instruction,
“But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goes before you into Galilee: there shall you see him as he said to you” (Mark 16:7)
The angel was careful to mention Peter’s name specifically, knowing that Peter would doubt his worthiness to be called a disciple. God was still saying ‘Peter, you are forgiven and you can stop feeling guilty. Thank God, Peter was still greatly used by God to do awesome things to advance the gospel. This was only possible because he did not allow his guilt to hold him back. .
My dear friend, God loves you and He says “You are free”. You do not have to feel guilty. He is inviting you to come up to him and leave the place of your continuous guilt.
I Call You Blessed
Written by Samson Afolabi
It is without doubt that God is very interested in meeting our needs. He wants us to be in perfect health, He wants us to be pay our bills, live in nice houses, have very good cars, marry beautiful husbands and wives and have very beautiful kids. He wants us to be able to take the summer holidays of our heart desire, eat whatever we like, be able to afford the latest luxury and generally live very comfortable lives.
Jesus showed this concern, when he asked his disciples in Luke 22:35, “And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye anything? And they said, nothing”
In-fact he said, “…Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what shall eat; nether for the body, what ye shall put on” (Luke 12: 22). So he knows we have the tendency to worry about the things. He knows we need them. They are important.
John praying says “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers”. I do believe that this prayer includes material prosperity i.e. getting our needs met. We need it. Now, what should be the place or priority of this things in us? How much should they control our lives? Control our prayers? Control what we do when we gather as brethren in fellowship? What’s their priority?
At the Beginning recorded in Genesis 1 – 3, we see the whole human race cut short by disobedience of one man. We also know Man was dead, because God said:
“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eat thereof thou shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:17)
God couldn’t lie. The day Adam and Eve disobeyed, they died. Though they were alive physically, their spirit man died, and this passed on to every human who came out of them. We all died in Him. Ever since then, man needed Life. He was alive physically, but dead spiritually. The core being of his person was gone. The greatest need of his life, was LIFE. We must understand the priority of Man’s needs. Our needs are not first physical. Our needs are first spiritual. Man needs life. Jesus didn’t come to first satisfy our Physical needs. We were dead, we needed LIFE.
“…: I am come that they may have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10)
“But these are written, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life through his name” (John 20:31)
He said it categorically, I came to give LIFE. You don’t give life to someone who is living. We were dead before we believed. Note, FIRST life, not money, not cars, not houses. As much as God is willing to give us those things, we must understand the priority. We should ask ourselves did Jesus come to the earth to bless us materially. Do we necessarily need Jesus to be rich and successful? (We discuss this questions and others in the ALETHEIA DISCUSSION group on Whatsapp.) But you necessarily need him to HAVE LIFE, there’s no life outside of Him.
If it takes only God to be rich, the devil shouldn’t be telling Jesus…
“And the devil, taking him up into a high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.” (Luke 4:5)
“And the devil said unto him, all this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. (Luke 4:6)
Notice, that Jesus didn’t say that the devil was lying by this statement. Because he was not. He bought it legally when Adam sinned.
You don’t make the best meals, buy good clothes, and take lots of money to someone in comma. As much as those things are essential for him, what he needs first is life. I wonder why there is just too much emphasis on us living good and rich lives by many of our African Pastors without adequate emphasis on what the scripture teaches. I call this the Gospel of things.
Studying the book of Acts, the emphasis of the early Christians was about Salvation, and after that spiritual growth of the new converts through teaching and prayers. Teaching about who they were in Christ and what Christ had done. Time wasn’t unnecessarily spent on praying in hours, praying that God bless them with cars and good houses or trying to undo what the devil had done. It just wasn’t necessary.
Paul through all his epistles kept charging us believers, to renew our minds. Set our hearts on things above. Though our heavenly father is eager to bless us, but we must understand the priority of things. Paul spent most of his time teaching us about the finished work of Christ and who we were now in Christ and walking in the true heritage of who we are, as SONS OF GOD. Paul encouraged us through out to grow in faith that we might in turn teach others.
In conclusion, let me say, it is God’s desire to bless us, prosper us but we need to understand the priority of things. We shouldn’t spend unnecessary time in addressing our physical needs and leaving behind the Spiritual.
I Call You Blessed
Written by Samson Afolabi
Can we categorically state what God will do before we have it and be confident it will only be such? A friend once said, “do you think someone will write 66 books about himself to you and not want you to know him?” That should suffice but for that in those books we have irreconcilable personality traits of God reported, which could further strengthen the unpredictability of God. One might account that the unpredictability of God is to his glory, at least, he is the all-wise, all-knowing, all-creating, almighty and infinite. This would hold if being predictable implies weakness. The scriptures however did not paint it as such. Another might say, “why be interested in God being predictable or not”. Why? We have to deal with him! And he wants us to know him, trust him.
There are assertions about the reliability of God. Num23: 19 “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” It says God is consistent. Psa18: 25-26 “With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright; With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward.” It says God can be froward, devious, depending on who he is dealing with! That man of integrity said “What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? Job 2:10b Assertions as this and many more have been used in heralding a bipolar God. Conversely, we see God demanding, requiring, instructing men to be reliable and straightforward, as a godly virtue. Hence, the valid unsettling at the thought of an inconsistent God. It is noteworthy that even Job had questions and wished he could ask God in person (Job23:3). Bless, God he came to our rescue. He came in person and all twists straightened out, all doubts dissolved. “God was manifest in the flesh” (1Tim3:16).
Since man fell into sin, he sank into death and darkness (Rom5:12-14, Eph2:1). All men were found in sin and darkened in understanding of God. The revelation of God to mankind had to be progressive, and relayed to men by other men (equally in spiritual death but) used of God. The limitations of the prophets coloured their ministry. Until God came in the flesh and set things straight, the understanding of God suffered clarity. Hence Jesus, and subsequently his apostles, made assertions to straighten how we receive the testimony of God from the scriptures of the prophets.
“No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”(Jn1:18). He is categorically stating that no prophet before Christ has seen God, only Christ made him plain. He said this just after mentioning Moses’ name. Jesus corrected Moses a number of times (Matt5:38-39, 19:8). He corrected Elijah (Luke 9:54-56). He says, “If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him…he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how say thou then, Shew us the Father?” The writer of Hebrews in comparing the ministry of the prophets and the diverse manners they spoke said Jesus is the clear-cut glaring exact character of God’s personality. (Heb. 1:1-3). He is not the “mercy-version” of God, it pleased the Father that in Christ should dwell the fullness of the Godhead bodily.(Col 1:19, 2:9, Jn16:15). In the pursuit of the knowledge of God, any testimony that is not found in consistency with Christ is to be dropped. It means it is not consistent with God. Moses gave a clause in his writings that when Christ comes, “him shall you hear” in whatsoever he will say (Deut. 18:15,18). On the mount, God said this is the person to listen to, in spite of the presence of the Law and the prophet (Moses and Elijah, Matt17:1-8)
In John16:12-15, Jesus authorised his apostles to deliver his testimony, the things of God he couldn’t say because of the state of men at that time (none was yet raised to eternal life). The apostles of Christ, being so empowered of the Spirit, taught of Christ and being men out of spiritual death, could accurately present the knowledge of God. Paul said they give the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus, adding elsewhere that this is done with grew plainness of speech (2Cor4:6;3:12). No shadows or diverse manners, as was with the prophets. No parables as when Christ could not expressly communicate to unrenewed men (Matt13:10-15). Christ is the screen in which we see God, none other. The prophets were to witness Christ, and that they did (Jn1:45,5:39). The scriptures, I.e, the writings, the documentation were inspired of God, not the content of what was written. Ignorance, the devil, evil men, rational men, prophets, God all spoke in the bible. God inspired it all to be written down. The records are true, but not everything is the truth of God. Hence skilfulness is expected of a student of God’s word to rightly divide the word of truth which will be the things consistent with the testimony of Christ as clearly stated in the epistles. Jesus in navigating the old testament scriptures stuck to the things concerning him!(Luke24:25-27).
So from the epistles, the words of Jesus recorded in the four gospels, the scriptures of the prophets, we can now investigate with consistency “Is God predictable?”
TO BE CONTINUED…
Written By Samuel Agboola
I remember growing up, I was taught how to pray in our children’s church as it was called. We were actually given a formula on how to pray. Our Teacher’s said when you pray,
1. Start with thanksgiving
2. Ask for forgiveness of your sins
We had to ask for forgiveness every-time we pray, even if we knew what our sins were or not. The explanation they gave was that there was no way we could live without sin. Now, I know that’s wrong, If we can’t live above sin, why did Jesus die? But that’s a discussion for another day.
Read Romans 6 Selah.
3. Ask God for our needs, petitions and all
4. We should always end with thanks.
All these were backed up with scriptures, a good reference for such a sermon was always “The Lord’s Prayer”, so there was no way I could have questioned that then. Anytime, our teachers asked us to pray, and I used this formula, I was greatly applauded as a good student of prayer.
Things were fine, and I had strongly believed God must have been listening to me because I was using the “Prayer Outline Formula” until I started reading the book of Psalms.I am a lover of the book of Psalms. If an estimate is made, it might end up being my most frequent book of the bible. I noticed that David wasn’t using the formula. What? David, the king, the man after God’s heart, the prophet was bumping into God in prayers (many of the psalms were actually David’s prayers) without thanking and praising him first, then ask for your forgiveness. I had thought that no matter how urgent our need or situation was, one had got to stick with the formula. As a Mathematician, I understand the place of formulas, and I know it takes years of labor of some people to dig it out. And it always works, until proven otherwise. Without the formula, no going anywhere.
That was rude, I thought, for David didn’t just “bump” into God once or twice but almost every-time he prayed. Although there were times when all he did was to thank God and times when he asked for forgiveness. I noticed he prayed as it “flowed from the inside of him” and not as “our formula states”. Then I asked, does he actually know my formula? I have so much respect for David, and I knew he shouldn’t just be “ignoring the formula”. Something was wrong somewhere, I thought.
As I grew, the Holy Spirit taught me, “Prayer wasn’t supposed to be coordinated with a formula”. It should flow freely, directed by your Spirit. If God was my father I shouldn’t be making rituals and observing a formula before talking with him. Even my earthly father, I don’t have to observe rituals before talking with him. Even though we are thousands of kilometers apart now, if I need to speak with him, I will just pick up my phone, call him and tell him my concerns. Maybe I would want to say “Good morning” or “Good afternoon” first, or call him “Baba ooo” (meaning father in Yoruba language) and we would both laugh and I tell him why I called. And when I miss him, or he misses me, we make a video call. If my earthly father being evil could be like that, how much more my father in heaven? (Matt. 7:11)
I also noticed David’s prayers were in the old covenant. If the prayers in the old covenant were this liberal, how much more in the new covenant? God said:
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16)
He actually not just said this but showed it when he the veil tore in the temple when Jesus died. A stop came to all the rituals to be observed before coming into the most holy place. God is saying come boldly, Come and present your requests, no need for prayer formulas!. Just pray and pray as you are led. Freedom comes when we don’t have to observe a formula in prayers. Enjoy the liberty of the Spirit.
Over-time, I have noticed that just like me a lot of Christians are still caught in the web of Religion; a dogged practice of what we have been taught from child-hood that doesn’t conform in what way ever with the truth, just like in the prayer example I gave above.
Freedom comes when we break the cords of Religion. Anything could become religious. Going to church without the understanding of why we go, why we give, fasting could also become religious,giving etc. When John the Baptist was given birth to, Zacharias his father was mute because he didn’t believe the prophecy of John’s birth. When he was given birth to, according to the words of the angel, the mother of the baby, Elizabeth requested the child be called John. The family members and neighbors who came for the circumcision said,
Luke 1:59 – 64
So it was, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him by the name of his father, Zacharias (vs 59)
His mother answered and said, “No; he shall be called John (vs 60)
But they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name” (vs 61)
So they made signs to his father – what he would have him called (vs 62)
And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote saying, “His name is John”. So they marveled. (Vs 63)
Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God (vs 64)
The Custom was that John be named Zacharias. It was a norm. But God said he is to be called John which was against the custom. Just like Zacharias, a lot of us are caught in the web of religion, doing things the way we do them because that’s the way we’ve been told to them from our childhood, or the way accepted by the society. We oftentimes don’t ask why we do them the way we do them. Zacharias obedience to breaking the cords of Religion brought his freedom from being dumb. I believe the Holy-spirit is trying to paint an example for us from this scenario of how we can also be free if we dared to break the bonds of Religion. One way to do that is to always ask “why”. Why do you do what you do? Why do you have to do what people do?
I have had to ask, this kind of questions, like why should I be married?, why should I have a wedding ceremony, and even why should I have a reception afterward?. Interestingly I found many of my answers in scriptures and I am holding on to them. That’s the true test of spirituality. This would open the eyes of your understanding, and bring freedom your way swiftly from what bounds others. You would also have a good conviction of what you do.
Again let me say Freedom comes when we break the cords of Religion and also add that Christianity is not a Religion it’s a Life.
I Call You Blessed
Written by Samson Afolabi
This week I will like to bring us to awareness of something I believe is quite important for us to have at the back of our minds as Christians. The lesson is simple, and it is we should have a world perspective of Christianity. What do I mean? I mean God has the whole world in mind. He is interested in the affairs of the whole world, and most especially he wants the whole world saved.
“Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” 1 Timothy 2:4
Yes. All men means all men. All men every-where in the world. Every men in all nations in the seven continents of the world. See here also
“And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the father” (Philippians 2:11)
All through the scriptures, both from the old and new testaments, especially in the book of Psalms we see phrases such as “clap your hands all ye people (Ps. 47:1)”, “Praise him all peoples (Ps. 117:1)” and many similar phrases. If it says all nations, it means all countries, all nations. He wants all people to declare his praise. We must also have this destination in mind. We have been called to save all nations. God isn’t just interested in Nigeria, or some streets in Africa, he is interested in everyone around the world.
Every tongue means every person from all nations of the earth. Nigeria, Ghana, Jamaica, Germany, India, Malaysia and everyone. We are to start from our streets, neighbours, friends, but we must know that getting the whole world saved is our destination. Jesus speaking with the apostles about the great commission gave this same insight, he told them start from Jerusalem then to Judea and then to the ends of the world. Simply interpreted, start from your friends, neighbours, streets, states and then to the ends of the world.
“And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” Luke 24:47
Now, as His ambassadors here on Earth, we should have the same mind set, so that we can walk in agreement with God. See this:
“Can two walk together except they agree” (Amos 3:3)
Having a world perspective of our mission starts first about having a concern for happenings to other Christians in many other countries of the earth. We must know that God is not just working things in our environments alone, he is at work in every country. We should learn to pray for missions work all around the world.
I presently attend International Baptist Church, and what a beauty to see people from different nations, backgrounds, cultural beliefs and ways of life come gather in a room in unity in the name of Jesus. We must learn that as a Christian, we are a part of a body. A part of a whole. And the body comprises of all Christians on earth.
Brethren, Christianity is a world issue, a global issue. And we should see it as such.
I Call You Blessed
Written by Samson Afolabi
Edited by Omotayo Abraham
I would rather be wrong in my Lover’s embrace, than right away from Him.
For if I am wrong, I shall be taught aright, following my Lover, as He makes me lie in green pastures, and leads me beside quiet waters
His Spirit guides me on the right path, for my Lover is true and truth personified.
However if I was right and away from my lover, then my right is false as it is devoid of truth and what I know would soon run false as my knowledge would puff. And that which I know is nothing, for it is better to be known of Him, than to be knowledgeable without him, knowing nothing. To be known of God is to love Him.
For Truth is greater than right or wrong!
Blessed am I, when I seek Truth above right and wrong. For I come to know the love of my lover which passes knowledge. This knowing, is one that is built on intimacy, rooted and grounded in love which is produced by fellowship with Him as He dwells in my heart by faith.
In my Lover’s embrace I am taught, for he will draw me and I will run after Him. My Lover’s love is unfailing, He loved me before I could spell the letters of love, outside of my Lover I am dead, for He is my life, paradoxically though he slays me yet would I trust in Him.
In the end, my goal is neither to be right nor wrong but to be at the center of my Lover’s will. Pleasing Him. For I know that in loving my lover, my knowledge is pure and my lover is Truth.
Written by Abraham Omotayo
Abraham Omotayo is a is a teacher of the gospel of the Kingdom, he teaches on how believers are expected to live in the reality of Kingdom at all times by being the light and salt of the word as they conform to the image of the son. Contact him on email@example.com