The Gospel Observer
and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to observe
all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to
the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
August 26, 2018
1) Living with Guilt (Dan Gatlin)
2) News & Notes
Living With Guilt
Do different sins carry different consequences? Well, that depends
on how we look at it. From a spiritual perspective the answer is no.
The Bible tells us that all sin separates us from God (Isa.
59:1-2). Though man distinguishes between "big sins" and
"little sins," the New Testament does not. James writes, "For
whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he
is guilty of all. For He who said, 'Do not commit adultery,' also
said, 'Do not murder.' Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do
murder, you have become a transgressor of the law" (2:10-11).
James is not saying that the murderer is also guilty of adultery,
rather, that one stands before God as either forgiven or condemned.
In our courts, if someone is convicted of stealing he cannot
successfully argue, "I should be set free because I have never
murdered, committed arson, or assaulted anyone." We stand before the
judge as either innocent or a violator of the law. Violating even
one law, though we keep the rest, makes us guilty.
From the standpoint of church discipline all sin should carry the
same consequence. It matters not whether a Christian is guilty of
gossip, forsaking the assembly, fornication, or teaching false
doctrine, if they refuse to repent (1 Jn. 5:16-17),
discipline should follow (2 Thess. 3:6-15).
But the simple fact is that different sins can vary widely in their
earthly consequences. One who repents of a "little white lie" (if
there is such a thing) may immediately regain his reputation. But
the young woman who repents of fornication may find herself with a
child to raise. Both may be forgiven, but the consequence of the
latter endures while the former is more easily forgotten.
The alcoholic/drug addict may destroy every important relationship
he has. Family, friends, and neighbors, may all abandon him, yet if
he "comes to himself" (Lk. 15:17) he can find forgiveness
with God. His other relationships may never be repaired. The
adulterer may find himself divorced and in a position where he can
never remarry (as far as God's law is concerned), but he also can
obtain God's forgiveness. Loneliness as a "single" may be the price
he has to pay to be acceptable to God and to gain eternal life.
Living with the consequences of sins like these serve as a daily
reminder of those sins. While God and man may forgive us, forgiving
ourselves may be much more difficult. David wrote, "For I
acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me" (Ps.
51:3). While God forgave him (2 Sam. 12:13), his guilty
conscience continued to plague him. How can we deal with the guilt
associated with the consequences of such sins? God's word provides
1. Devote Yourself Completely To God. Being "double-minded”
(James. 1:8) is how most Christians become entangled in sin
in the first place. We cannot have one foot in the world and one
foot in the church. Jesus warned, "No one can serve two masters; for
either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be
loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and
mammon (Matt. 6:24). Those who try to live a double life will
eventually find themselves in a situation where they have to make a
choice between living as the world and living righteously.
Consider the words of Paul in Gal. 2:20, "I have been
crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives
in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in
the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Paul's life
was not his own, it was entirely dedicated to Christ. The statement,
"I have been crucified with Christ," is explained in Gal. 5:24,
"And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its
passions and desires." One does not have to be an apostle or
preacher for these statements to apply to them. All must set aside
their desires and do those things that are pleasing to God. The
degree of our devotion to God is expressed by Paul, "And whatever
you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving
thanks to God the Father through Him" (Col. 3:17). "Whatever
you do in word or deed" is all encompassing, everything we say and
do must comply with His word.
God expects us to serve Him every day. We must pray (1 Thess.
5:17), study (Acts 17:11), and meditate (Phil. 4:8;
Ps. 1:1-2) each day. Without taking such "drastic" action, we
leave ourselves open to Satan's attacks. Overcoming Satan's snares
takes preparation, discipline, and work.
2. Make Corrections Where You Can. Part of repentance
includes restitution. We can't rob a bank on Friday, be converted on
Sunday, and decide to keep the money on Monday. Zacchaeus told
Jesus, "if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I
restore fourfold" (Lk. 19:8). While we can't always make
restitution for our sins, we can express sorrow for our sins and
show by our life that we have changed. This is what John and Paul
meant by the phrase, "fruits of repentance" (Matt. 8:3; Acts
26:20). If we make changes in our spiritual lives, others
can't help but see it (1 Pet. 4:3-5; Eph. 2:1-10).
3. Recognize That God Forgives You. Even if we don't feel
forgiven, we can know that we are. Of course, such knowledge comes
only after we have repented, and only by trusting in God's promise
to forgive. Unfortunately, our emotions don't always fall in line
with our intellect. The apostle John wrote, "For if our heart
condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.
Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward
God" (1 Jn. 3:20-21). (John is not saying that we can
continue in sin and God will overlook it. Why would the apostle who
emphasized obedience to the commandments [Jn. 14:15; 1 Jn. 2:3-4,
3:22, 5:2-3; 2 Jn. 6] deny that obedience here?) We may know
that God has forgiven our sins and that we are walking by His
commandments, but somehow the feelings of guilt may remain. This is
part of what John meant by saying, "if our heart condemns us." In
such cases, God is greater than our hearts. If the guilt subsides so
that "our heart does not condemn us," then we are blessed with
"confidence toward God."
While David felt the guilt of his sin (Ps. 51:3), he also
recognized the blessedness of God's forgiveness. Psalm 51
expresses David's sorrow over his adultery and murder. In contrast,
Psalm 32 expresses his joy over the forgiveness of those
sins: "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is
covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute
iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit" (vs. 1-2).
The apostle Paul never forgot the fact that he was a persecutor of
the church (1 Tim. 1:13). He referred to himself as "the
least of the apostles" (1 Cor. 15:9) and "the least of all
saints" (Eph. 3:8). Yet, even with such guilt he could say,
"Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which
the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not
to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing" (2 Tim.
4. Take Responsibility And Accept The Consequences. When God
confronted Adam and Eve with their sin, Adam took the cowards way
out: "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the
tree, and I ate" (Gen. 3:12). He blamed Eve and then God when
he knowingly chose to sin (1 Tim. 2:14). God has never
accepted excuses, and He certainly will not on the day of judgment.
Again, we turn to David as an example. His statement to Nathan was
simple, "I have sinned against the Lord" (2 Sam. 12:13). The
consequence was: "Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from
your house" (2 Sam. 12:10). In years to follow David
witnessed the rape of Tamar by Amnon, the murder of Amnon by
Absalom, the overthrow of his throne by Absalom, and finally the
death of Absalom. No doubt David remembered the words of this
prophecy as "the sword" ravaged his family.
5. Use Guilty Feelings Positively. Today men go to great
lengths to avoid feeling guilty. Doctors dispense drugs,
Psychiatrists and Psychologists try to convince people that their
sin is simply an "alternate lifestyle." But avoiding guilt when we
are guilty causes our conscience to become calloused (Eph.
4:17-19). In reality, a tender conscience is a blessing.
Consider the good things guilt can do in our lives. First, it should
motivate us to live humbly toward God and those we may have sinned
against. Humility is the foundational attitude that makes our
relationship with God acceptable. "Draw near to God and He will draw
near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your
hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your
laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble
yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up" (James
Second, guilt can keep us from further sin by reminding us of the
pain we've caused God, others, and ourselves. Men are inclined to
think of the "passing pleasures of sin" (Heb. 11:25) rather
than the pain and suffering that later results. By focusing on the
consequences of sin, and not its pleasures, we can avoid the trap
that is awaiting us.
Third, guilt can remind us of the fate that awaits those who don't
make their lives right with God. "What fruit did you have then in
the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things
is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become
slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end,
everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God
is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 6:21-23).
Part of the torment of hell will be remembering the missed
opportunities of this life (Lk. 16:25). Let us always make
the most of those opportunities while there is still hope.
— Via The Auburn Beacon, August 16, 2015, Volume 6, Issue
Editor's Note: I would think the part in the above article
that says, "Doctors dispense drugs" (to eliminate their patient's
guilty feelings) and "Psychiatrists and Psychologists try to
convince people that their sin is simply an 'alternate lifestyle'"
are meant as generalizations, rather than that which would be true
News & Notes
Folks to be praying for:
Mary Aldrich (Danny Bartlett's mother) has been in the
hospital for two and a half weeks, due to her bowels having
burst. She is recovering, but slowly. (UPDATE: After spending
more time in the hospital, she was transferred to a rehab clinic
September 5, but had to return to the hospital after just one day.)
Baxter Cribbs has been suffering with some continual pain in
his back for the last couple months because of a nerve on a spinal
disc. Sometimes it is a little better than others, but never
Let us continue to remember the friends and family of Minnie
Lanier (Bennie Medlock’s sister) who passed away recently
Richard Kristianson (Marie Pennock’s youngest brother) has
been dealing with pancreatic cancer for about 5 years, having tried
various treatments. Lately, he has been having a little more
difficulty with it.
Rex “Rick” Hadley, Jr. (Anita Young’s brother) has been in the
hospital with congestive heart failure.
I (Tom Edwards) have now been to the ER three times following
my inguinal hernia surgery on August 9, due to the severe pain
brought on by fluid retention that has required a catheter — even up
to now. (UPDATE: On August 5, I had the third catheter removed by my
urologist, but had to have another reinstalled later that same
day. I'll see him again on the 19th for its removal and to
find out if I can do without it. I also heard from the
hospital Monday that tests at the ER on August 24 show that I have a
urinary track infection, which I am now taking medication for, and
hoping that eliminating the infection will also eliminate my need
for the catheter.)
Others to also remember in prayer: Danny Hutcheson
(paralysis of all but one arm), Roger Montgomery (needs a
liver transplant), Jim Lively (collagenous colitis), Shirley
Davis (pain in legs and shoulder), Bennie Medlock
(aortic aneurysm), Deborah Medlock (hurt herself from a
fall), Pat & A.J. Joyner, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Tommy
Lindsey, Hannah Laughlin, Misty Thornton, Michelle Rittenhouse,
and Mary Vandevander.
WordPress Version of this bulletin:
Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that
is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ
(John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5;
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom.
10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the
remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16;
Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord;
for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb.
10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00
a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m.
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies'
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912)
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(Older version of Gospel Observer website
without pictures, but back to March 1990)