Wild Goose Chase // Cage of Guilt
[Associate Pastor, Greg Miller, ECC Covington Campus]
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1, 2 NIV)
But so many of us refuse to believe this promise. We can read that there is ‘no condemnation’, but that’s not how we feel or live. We feel and live like we are caged in our guilty conscious about things in the past.
We wonder if we just didn’t get it. We think we just aren’t good enough to be a Christian. And definitely not good enough to do His work to share Jesus with others.
Let’s look at a portion of Peter’s life:
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” (Luke 22:31-34 NIV)
- Guilt is a healthy and holy reflex.
The guilt here is for unconfessed sin. This guilt is a good thing to draw you closer to God and to bring about confession.
When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. (John 16:8-11 NIV)
Guilt is not just an emotion. Since we have broken God’s law, we are GUILTY. So guilt is also a state of being. And the wages of sin is death. Thankfully, Jesus came to be our guilt offering. To pay for our penalty of death.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 NIV)
- Guilt becomes a cage when it occurs over confessed sin.
About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.” Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:59-62 NIV)
What did the face of Jesus speak to Peter? Do you think he gave him a guilty look, or a disappointed look? That wasn’t Jesus’ play. Peter probably saw a caring and forgiving friend looking him in the eye and communicating to him that he was loved and forgiven.
The enemy loves to use guilt of our past sins to cause us to remain caged and paralyzed from serving and sharing Christ with others. We think we’re not good enough. We think we’ve disqualified ourselves. This cage of guilt which keeps us from casing after the Wild Goose (Holy Spirit) can be broken IF we confess our sins..
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 NIV)
It almost feels safer to go back to the condemning law than to live in messy grace.
Let it go!
We are either not saved and our debt is still outstanding OR we are believing a lie about our standing with God in Christ Jesus.
WE ARE NOT GUILTY! Let’s act like someone who is free.
- Jesus wants to recondition us by his grace to become a revolutionary for his cause.
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. (John 21:15-17 NIV)
It looks like Peter was beating himself up. And in typical and perfect Jesus fashion, he takes Peter aside and reminds him that he hasn’t disqualified himself or his ministry. Three times Jesus asks Peter if he loved him. The same number of times that Peter denied Jesus. And Peter accepted this love and went on to begin and lead the Jerusalem church.
Don’t allow past guilt to ruin God’s present plan.
- Confess sin to God and to a brother/sister.
- Offer or seek forgiveness.
- Leave the guilt in the grave.