Overcoming Guilt And The Fear Of Death

This past weekend in Jud Wilhite’s message he reminded us of Billy Graham’s four universal needs.  Regardless of who you are or where you live in this world there will be a time when you will feel a spiritual emptiness, a sense of loneliness, a sense of guilt and a fear of death.  My reaction was that this is exactly why God sent His Son that through Him we might overcome these conditions.  Yet, many refuse to believe that they were created by God and that He, through Scripture, has given the answers to overcoming each of these human needs.

It seems we have a choice.  We can live a life complete with being content, having joy, peace of mind, love living somewhat fearlessly and happy as positive Christian people.  Or, we can live, to a degree, becoming paralyzed with anxiety and a sort of hopeless existence, fearing every painful existence that life has to offer.

The Bible teaches that we were created in the image of God.  We have a spirit, a conscience that distinguishes the difference between right and wrong and a mind capable of making decisions.  God gives us free moral agency with the ability to choose what is good or evil.  When we choose evil over good it can bring on guilt and numerous fears.  Studies show that the affects of guilt and fear can damage one’s emotions and may cause deteriorating physical conditions.

God loves each of us and wants us to have a happy and peaceful existence with all of our basic needs being met.  He sent Christ that He might teach us how to deal with each of these basic needs with which we struggle.  We are taught that our separation from God can be fulfilled by accepting Christ as our Savior and our mediator with God and encourages us to enter into God’s presence to worship Him.  For those of us who have accepted these terms realize that that spiritual void, the separation from God can and is made complete.  That spiritual emptiness can be overcome through Christ.

Can God actually forgive us our sins and take away our guilt?  How does one become convinced we can be forgiven?  It is by accepting God’s grace.  We must thoroughly understand the meaning of “grace” because it is major in comprehending what the New Testament is based upon and how God is different from the Old Testament.   It may take reaching a certain spiritual maturity.  But once we fathom the meaning of grace and can accept it, Christ then wants to show His unlimited power, through the Holy Spirit that can change our lives by meeting these needs.   One of the purposes of Christ’s forgiveness of  our sins was to eliminate our guilt and allow us to feel worthy as a child of God and our advantages and benefits as heirs.

We must realize we cannot rid guilt on our own.  So we may need to give up trying and allow the Holy Spirit to progressively help us accept grace, total forgiveness which can eradicate guilt and free us to live the life God had intended—to be healthy and positive.

But that can only be done by faith in Christ that God truly loves us regardless of our past, present or future or what we have done or will do.  However, our part is to become obedient and accountable to the teaching of the Gospel.    If we do not know what the Gospel teaches it makes it most difficult to feel accepted by God and feel worthy.  We do not earn being forgiven and worthy.  We are made worthy and guilt free by God’s grace through His Spirit.  It is His gift and it is “free” to us.  Do you have the faith to accept it?

Let me use these illustrations again.  My aunt, age 60, was a godly woman who was in a serious car accident.  She was hanging onto life.  Her son, a minister, told her that hundreds were praying for her.  She told her son to tell them that I am praying that God will take me home.  Her prayers were answered.  In 1984 I had heart bypass surgery.  In 2005 I had a massive heart attack and my family was told there was little hope.  Five years later I met the surgeon who did my last bypass.  I asked him if he was surprised to see me alive.  He said, to be truthful I am, you were in very bad shape.  At no time did I fear death.

Am I looking forward to heaven and eternal life?  Not really!  If I could I would like to live another 100 years.  Am I prepared to die—yes!  Hosea 4:6 – “my people are destroyed from a lack of knowledge.”  Isaiah 5:13a – “Therefore my people will go into exile for lack of understanding;”   I have learned that my actions are a result of how I think.  How I think is based on my knowledge.  Scripture teaches that Christ came to teach us how we can overcome guilt and take away the fear of death.  What I think is based on my having studied the Bible, in depth.  If God says these needs can be met, accept His promise! Don’t let your mind put up with anything less.

Romans 8:6 – “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”  I Corinthians 15:55 – “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”   II Corinthians 7:10 – “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”

Biblical knowledge and its promises can give you hope; whereas, a lack of knowledge could cause despair and fear.   I live knowing that Heaven is my final home and for years I have lived preparing and anticipating what it might be like.  Let all of us hope we can put off death for a while longer yet we need not fear it.

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