Copyright 1996, John H. Stoll
In a recent nationwide poll it was determined that there are three areas of life that haunt people: death, guilt, and lack of purpose in life. These consuming problems are in marked contrast to what God states in Psalm 8:4-6, that mankind was created to reflect the moral character of God, for eternal fellowship with Him, and to enjoy the fullness of life of being custodians over all God's creation. The deception of sin has turned mankind from being God centered to being self centered, and that is what has caused these threefold fears.
Let us consider the contrast between God's purpose for His creation, and mankind's philosophy of life. Then we shall evaluate a resolution to this conflict, as to how it can be overcome, and the ability to bring one's life into conformity with God's will, so that fullness of life becomes a reality. In John 10:10, Christ noted, "I am come that you might have life, and that you might have it more abundantly". God desires all His children to enjoy life to the full, without these haunting fears plaguing the Christian through life.
In Isaiah 55:8, God says of mankind, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways". The Bible notes that the philosophy of the person in the world is after "the tradition of men, after the elements of the world, and not after Christ" (Colossians 2:8). In other words, one's worldview (one's opinion of what constitutes living) of life is basically self centered, not God centered. Therefore, one's philosophy of life is governed and patterned after what the majority think, or what is the trend at the time, not necessarily that which the Bible teaches.
This basic philosophy of life is what produces the fear and guilt, and in reality does not provide for real purpose in life. The reason this is true is that mankind was created to reflect the moral qualities of the creator. When one turns from that, then the only alternative is the self, and since one does not have creative life within himself, but only from God, there is no longer the resources to deal with the issues of life itself. The conclusion is that the end result brings fear of the future and the unknown, as well as purposelessness in life.
Biblical truth for living is quite the opposite. Christ said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). Life in Christ followed by living out the principles of the Bible, provide the fullness of life all desire, and that God wants us to enjoy. The worldly philosophy of life does not satisfy in the long run, whereas God's way brings life and peace (Romans 8:6).
God's antidote to the problems of these three areas of life that haunt people, is found in the Bible. The resurrection of Christ, who conquered death, has brought eternal immortality to every Christian (I Corinthians 15:54-57; II Timothy 1:10; I Peter 1:23). The "sting" of everlasting death, and fear of the future have been removed. Though the child of God may suffer physical death, one need not fear eternal death, by trusting Christ's work in their behalf.
For every Christian the guilt of sin can be removed through confession to God (I John 1:9; Psalm 32). No one needs to have guilt hanging over him, and once confessed there is not only forgiveness, but also cleansing. Sin once confessed brings Gods forgiveness, and God "wipes the slate clean", as to ever remembering it again (Hebrews 10:17).
One of the most persistent designs of Satan against the Christian is to "bug" one with past sins that have been confessed, and God has forgotten. In Philippians 3:13,14 the Apostle Paul stated that he had forgotten those things which were behind, and that he was pressing forward to the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. As he went about ministering to the saints, as God's Apostle to them, one can easily believe he could have been overwhelmed with remorse at what he had done to the Christians in the past.
At one time Paul, whose original name was Saul, was an employee of the Roman government putting Christians into prison. After the Lord regenerated him on the Damascus road (Acts 9), and now as the Apostle Paul, he probably was preaching to some whom he had previously put into prison. It can be easily imagined that he would have a great deal of guilt at what he had once done, as he saw the marks of imprisonment in their faces. Yet with confidence he was able to proclaim God's message to those Philippian Christians. He fully trusted what God had declared in His Word, that Paul's sins were forgiven and forgotten.
There are times in every Christian's life, when past failures and sins are brought up by Satan, to lay a guilt trip on the person, so that one has to tell Satan to "bug off", for no child of God owes Satan anything, but owes God everything. When God forgives and forgets the confessed sins of His child, it brings peace to the believer, who accepts what a loving heavenly Father has done because, "the blood of Jesus Christ His son, has cleansed us from all sin" (I John 1:7).
In today's world of stress and strain, there is no reason to multiply the problems that face us, by adding to them the guilt of confessed sins of the past which God has forgotten. If we but follow His guidelines for life, by trusting Him, and relying upon His Word, the Bible, we can be freed from these three haunting fears.
Christ gave us the assuring promise in John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid". Eternal death for the Christian has been conquered, guilt through confessed sin has been wiped out, and God desires us to have purpose of life and fullness through Him. What more can the Christian ask?
When we walk with the Lord, in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way.
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away.
Not a doubt nor a fear, not a sigh nor a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there's no other way,
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
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