Creation Studies Institute
Six days
 

Weekly Devotionals by Pastor Steve Rowitt, Th.M., Ph.D.



March 2, 2014 – Guilt Free Living  

God has created us with a conscience. This serves as an inward warning system concerning out thoughts and actions, so we have the ability to know right from wrong. Our major problem concerning this is, because of the Fall, Gen. 3:1-24, our conscience is broken. Our ability to know right from wrong has been seriously compromised and our connection with God was severed because of Adam’s disobedience, Rom. 5:12. Sometimes people damage their conscience in ways that render it completely useless. This is the case when false prophets, whose conscience is said to be seared (scared), no longer sensitive to right and wrong. A condition that is prevalent in these “last days.”

BUT THE [Holy] Spirit distinctly and expressly declares that in latter times some will turn away from the faith, giving attention to deluding and seducing spirits and doctrines that demons teach, through the hypocrisy and pretensions of liars whose consciences are seared (cauterized), who forbid people to marry and [teach them] to abstain from [certain kinds of] foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and have [an increasingly clear] knowledge of the truth,  I Tim. 4:1-3 Amplified Bible

This is a description of false teachers however, everyone has the ability to rationalize away feelings of guilt for a variety of reasons such as God will forgive me or everyone does it or it’s not really that bad or I’m not hurting anyone else, etc. Humans have a laundry list of excuses when it comes to matters of conscience. So what’s the answer to this problem of conscience?

 First we need to admit that everyone who is born into the human race is born a sinner. King David declared, “Surely, I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me,” Ps. 51:5. We are all born speaking lies straight from the womb, The wicked are estranged from the womb; They go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies, Ps. 58:3. So, the first order of business for a guilt free life is to discern the difference between true guilt (the transgressing of God’s commandments) and false guilt (everything else).

 

March 9, 2014 – True Guilt vs. False Guilt

False Guilt: Feeling guilty for something that God in His Word nowhere condemns. This state of mind comes from our carnal flesh, not the new person we are in Messiah, II Cor. 5:17-21. False guilt is very toxic and can cause serious damage if not understood and properly managed. This is the enemy’s playground. Our carnal mind is really a tape deck of lies that can become strongholds in our carnal nature. Once these tapes start to run, old carnal behaviors, the deeds of the flesh will begin to manifest.  This form of guilt is usually fueled by the suggestions of the world, the flesh, and the Devil. Listen to Job’s friends as they play the cosmic blame game with him.

Is it any pleasure to the Almighty that you are righteous? Or is it gain to Him that you make your ways blameless? “Is it because of your fear of Him that He corrects you, and enters into judgment with you? Is not your wickedness great, and your iniquity without end? Job 22:3-5

This is a very typical scenario and it inevitably leads to worldly sorrow, Job 35:9-13; I Cor. 1:23-24, 30, not Godly sorrow, Job 34:31-33.

True Guilt: This is what many refer to as the “conviction of the Holy Spirit.” This is an inner awareness that is prompted by the indwelling Holy Spirit when our behavior does not reflect our true nature as saints. It never causes believers to feel condemned, ashamed, and hopeless. 

Once you know the truth, it will set you free from the fear, guilt and shame generated by the world, the flesh, and the Devil.

March 16, 2014 –A biblical example of true guilt

As we have noted, true guilt is always the result of disobedience to God’s Word, not the word of man. It never leaves you hopeless and overwhelmed by shame. Instead it directs us to the Lord; it produces Godly sorrow resulting in a cleansing of one’s conscience in preparation for further ministry. It does not mean a conflict free life or a life devoid of any shame. Shame rooted in true guilt is humbling and God will use it for His glory and our ultimate benefit, Rom. 8:28. 

We have an excellent example of true guilt from the pen of the apostle Paul. It is a true story relating to the behavior of the apostle Peter when he was visiting among a predominantly Gentile body of believers in Antioch.

Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews? We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified, Gal. 2:11-16.

If you are familiar with Peter’s life, you will realize that he had previously learned this lesson, that God is definitely no respecter of persons, Acts 10:34-35. So what happened? Peter’s carnal nature was influenced by peer-group legalism and he showed favoritism towards his fellow Jewish believers when they came from the church in Jerusalem to visit him in Antioch. We need to guard against this attitude, because it is common to our flesh. We are susceptible to this kind of behavior. God’s love is without hypocrisy (dissimulation) and so should ours, Rom. 12:9.

March 23, 2014 – A guilt free lifestyle proceeds from the finished work of Messiah 

This is a “grace through faith” lifestyle, Eph. 2:8-10, promised to all God’s adopted children. It is built upon the finished work of Yeshua at Calvary. In contrast to the Mosaic Covenant, where the external application of the blood of the sacrificial system could temporarily assuage a guilty conscience, the New Covenant, Jer. 31:31-37, fundamentally transforms us into people who can truly love and accept others, the way God loves and accepts us, John 13:34-35.

For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin. Heb. 10:14-18

When we align our beliefs to conform to the truth of the gospel, we can be set free from carnal fear, and the false guilt and shame that fear-based lies generate. Only then can we experience the faith, hope and love lifestyle afforded to us because of the glorious gospel of God’s amazing grace.  

 

March 30, 2014 – The Fruit of Guilt Free Living

The benefits of guilt free living are numerous, but we can look at a few basics that the gospel gives to God’s adopted children.

  • Shorter and less frequent guilt trips, Rom. 8:1. You won’t automatically have them packed, ready to receive a guilt trip ticket from anyone else.
  • A more consistent faith-walk. You’ll spend less time dealing with the fear, guilt and shame of false guilt and more time operating in God’s faith, hope, and love, Eph. 5:15-21.
  • No more carnal excuses! But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. II Cor. 12:9; for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity. Prov. 24:16. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, Phil. 4:13.

Take the time to discern the source of your guilty feelings. Initially you may confuse real guilt and false guilt. Eventually, you will be able to recognize the difference and spend less time confused and ashamed, and more time experiencing the victory that a Spirit-filled and Spirit-guided life produces.
For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. Heb. 9:13-15