If I asked a majority of the Christians in America if they ever struggle with 1) fear of going to hell 2) guilt and shame every time they sin and 3) severe condemnation because of their sin, most would probably say yes to all three.
The problem is that struggling with any of those three things isn’t Biblical. Lets look at each one and you’ll see what I mean.
According to 1 John 4:18 perfect love casts out all fear. Since Jesus is perfect love, if we truly are in Him that means that we are free from all of fear. Therefore, fear of hell doesn’t exist in Jesus. So, if you live in fear of hell you’ve never really experienced the fullness of HIS perfect love, because trust me, when you do and you stay in His love, fear takes a backseat. Every time. That’s the Good News, folks!
No Guilt or Shame!
Now, on to the guilt and shame thing… if you truly live in the Kingdom of Heaven (Ephesians 2:6) it is illegal to live by guilt and shame. See, the whole message of the Gospel is that Jesus came to completely restore our relationship with God (Romans 5:11) so that we would be free from sin (Romans 6:11) and free from ourselves (Galatians 2:20). His intentions were to bring us back to our true nature like Adam and Eve were before the fall.
And get this…
Adam and Eve were so free of shame and guilt that they were naked and didn’t even realize it. It wasn’t until they believed the devil’s lie and ate the fruit (this was completely against their true nature) that they felt guilt and shame. Since, Jesus came to restore a shame-free, guilt-free existence, we get to live free of all guilt and shame.
Let me explain this further by looking at the condemnation because of sin aspect. This can be explained in one verse – Romans 8:1. There is now therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
There. That does it.
If you are in Christ, it is illegal to live in a place of condemnation. Why is that? Well, because the devil is called the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10). So, every time you live in condemnation, you’re empowering the devils accusations. On top of that, you’re actually listening to him, and why would you ever want to do that?
Why The Struggle?
So, the question remains: Why do Christians struggle with any of these things if they are in Christ? The Bible makes it very clear that in Christ we don’t have to anymore, so why is the struggle still there?
Well, it is my belief that it comes from how they were first brought into the Kingdom of Heaven (born anew in Christ; 2 Corinthians 5:17).
It is my bet that if you struggle with any of the three things I’ve mentioned, you were saved because of those three things. Someone probably told you how much of a sinner you are and that if God is a perfect judge, then He’ll throw you into hell. And therefore your first experience of the Kingdom of Heaven is one of fear of hell, guilt and shame because of your sin, and some intense condemnation.
First of all, I want to apologize. I apologize that someone actually thought they were doing you a favor through that way of “witnessing”. I apologize for all of the fear you’ve had to deal with since you were “saved”. And, I apologize how much they misrepresented the Kingdom of Heaven.
It’s no wonder that you deal with fear, guilt and shame, and condemnation. That’s how you think the Kingdom of Heaven works.
This way of “witnessing” may work and get people “saved”, but I’ve never really seen it create disciples of Jesus that walk like Jesus did (1 John 2:6), going around doing good and healing all those that were oppressed by the devil (Acts 10:38).
All I’ve seen it do is create people that are scared of God; a God that they think is looking for an opportunity to punish them to eternal hell fire. But, hey, at least Jesus is being preached… (Philippians 1:18)
So, how does the Kingdom of Heaven really look like and how should it be represented?
Well, that subject alone is practically impossible to fully cover because of its vastness and the fact that the Kingdom is always growing (Luke 1:33), but I can give you a small taste.
Let me explain something to you about Jesus…
If you noticed, He came preaching and demonstrating the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 4:17). Everything He did was to teach people what to expect when the Kingdom of Heaven invades earth (Matthew 6:10) and how this Kingdom works.
You need to understand. Back in those days, before a King would take over a new area, he would travel to the area and demonstrate to the people living there how awesome his kingdom was. His hopes was that people would so love his kingdom that when he came to overtake their kingdom that the people wouldn’t fight back. Instead they surrender because they would want to be part of this new kingdom.
That’s what Jesus did. He came demonstrating His Kingdom so that we would want to be part of it.
Being Part Of The Kingdom of Heaven
And that’s exactly what happens when we become born again. In that moment we are adopted as sons and daughters of God (John 1:12) (the King of the Kingdom of Heaven) and seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6) and we receive every spiritual blessings that God has for us (Ephesians 1:3).
Why? Because that’s how the Kingdom of Heaven works. If you decide you want to be part of it, simply receive Jesus and you are.
Now you get to go about demonstrating the incredible goodness and love of the Kingdom everywhere you go, making disciples of all nations and teaching them to do as Jesus did (Matthew 28:19-20).
When the Kingdom is demonstrated correctly, people will do anything they can to be part of it. (Isaiah 2:2). They will desire to be part of it. And, when people become part of it, they won’t struggle with fear, guilt and shame, and condemnation because they will know what the Kingdom is really all about.
And it pretty much boils down to radical love and power (2 Timothy 1:7) that does insane amounts of good and heals all people oppressed by the devil (Acts 10:38).
Jesus completes you (Colossians 2:9-10) and the Holy Spirit empowers you (Acts 1:8) to do just that. So, start living by the Spirit and start seeing radical transformations happen in front of your eyes.
I would love to hear your feedback below!