How To Overcome The Yoke Of Guilt And Sin-consciousness
"Put on the new man which after God is created in righteousness and in true holiness"
One of the crisis that we faced as young believers years ago, was what I call "the righteousness crisis." It usually takes place a few days after answering the altar call for most people. I mean you begin to wonder if you really got saved or not based on your current feelings...You want to please God but suddenly discover your inabilities to do so through your will-power alone. You listen to another message on salvation and jumps out again to give your life to Christ all over. And if you were like me, you embark on a "search" for the way out. And in the course of your search, you discover pet doctrines like: "the first work of grace and the second work of grace," you aspire "to kill" the flesh daily, you try to distinguish between "salvation and sanctification, calling salvation the first work of grace and sanctification the second work of grace." And if you were like my friend, Joe, who always jotted down all his sins on a little paper (he always kept in his breast pocket) as a reminder of the sins to confess the next day during prayers, you would always dwell more on your sense of inadequacies. Or if you were like my other friend, Kemi, you will always end up every prayer session with a request from the Father-God to "make you rapturable." But as interesting and nice-sounding some of those practices would seem, the thing about them is that many of them were embarked on from the perspective of guilt, condemnation, sin-consciousness and a crucial desire to "impress God in order to be approved of God...Yet, what God wants us to know is that he approved us in Christ so as to make our subsequent efforts acceptable to him"
Many of the above illustrations fitted the personal struggles of myself and a few of my friends years ago, as we struggled to impress God with our good works. I continued to do so until one day when I discovered the above scripture in Ephesians 4:24.
As I ponder along this line in the course of writing this message, I am convinced that Ephesians 4:24 was one of the most profound scriptures that imparted me as a new convert several years ago. It helped me to discover the nature of my salvation in Christ Jesus in a very dramatic, practical and comprehensive way. It was a scripture that helped me to appreciate the idea that 2 Corinthians 5:17 and 21 attempted to convey to us. And what idea was that? It was the idea that a new man was created within us at salvation. Paul, by the Spirit of God described that new man as "the new creature in Christ." And I love to simply describe him as "the new creation."
So, what difference did Ephesians 4:24 add to the general understanding that when we came into Christ, we became "new creations in Him" you ask? Well, the chief-difference was in the description of that new man! Kindly take note of the phrases the Spirit of God used to convey that description. I mean phrases like: "...created in righteousness...and in true holiness..." Hallelujah!!!
Not only that...also take note of this one, "...which after God..." In other words, the kind of righteousness and true holiness which this new man was created with were after the order of the "God-kind-of-righteousness." And also remember that this dimension of righteousness exceeded "the righteousness of the Pharisees" which Jesus said we have to exceed if we must inherit the kingdom of God. In addition to that, this kind of righteousness was more glorious (both in content and in feel) than the "filthy-rag-kind" of righteousness which our self-efforts at trying to be good by own efforts could achieve.
So, over time, as I continued to put on this new man within me like that scripture instructed us to do, I discovered the "golden-gem for supernatural-effortless living..."
And here is that golden-gem: "The new creation is the spiritual giant within me who operates by the living flame of the Spirit of God...neutralizing obstacles, disarming defeats, obtaining victories...and advancing by the word of God."
When a student ever discovers this, such a student becomes an A student, when a spouse know this, such a spouse would produce a delightsome home, when a Pastor comes to this understanding, such a Pastor would flow under a stronger ministerial anointing, when a professional person applies this insight to his or her career, such a person's worth would increase at a geometric proportion, when a business person ever finds out about this new creation, he or she always turns out a better business person. And that is why the story of John will inspire you!
John, a business man friend of mine who partners with our ministry through a monthly financial support, once asked me this question: But how do I put on that new man? And I told him that he could only do it through an attitude of "thanksgiving." I told him that he must simply change his prayer point from always petitioning God to make him righteous and holy... to thanking God for having done those for him in Christ Jesus, in his inner-man.
Then he asked again: "How do you do that in your own personal life? And here was my response...I simply say this prayer with my whole heart:
"Father, I thank you today for imputing your divine nature of righteousness and true holiness within me...I declare today that that life is energizing me to do your biddings in my life and in my affairs"
So, John began to put the word of God to work in his own life, praying and building his faith up in the Spirit, and here is his testimony:
"Pastor Iyke, here is the big thing that happened to me as I put this understanding to work in my own life, I noticed that instead of 'asking my flesh to die' like I used to do, my spirit man began to live big...big...and big within me. Intact, so big did it begin to live, that the voice of my flesh sounds so faint that I hardly hear it...I really wish you can preach this more...more people need to hear this."
Well, I do agree with John that more people needs to hear these strategies of advancement through faith in the word of God. And that is why we are using the platform of our weekly television program called the "advancement strategies broadcast" to convey these Holy-Ghost inspired golden-gems and strategies for supernatural-effortless living. And I am asking you to partner with us today to reach out to more people for Jesus. Click HERE if you are led along this line.
Yours in His service,
President, The Advancement Ministries World Outreach Center, Inc.
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