Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Masters of the Guilt Trip



2Ti 2:12-13  If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.  If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.

Mat 26:34  Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times."


The Guilt Trip

From time to time, I get posts on my social media news feed having to do with some Scriptural admonition.  At the bottom the post often says that I should pass the post on unless I am ashamed of the Lord.   A  verse like Luke 12:9 usually accompanies the guilt trip to encourage me to pass on the post.  Luke 12:9 says, "But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God."  Whenever, that guilt trip accompanies the post, I do not pass it on because I am not convinced that our relationship with the Lord after we come to faith should be based on guilt.  


Salvation is by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus.  But somehow after we are saved, we tend to make our relationship with the Lord one of works rather than one of grace.  Now I understand that James says that some will try to show their faith without their works but he would show his faith by his works.  But his faith was not a guilt ridden faith.  It was a heart felt desire to please the Lord who has made such a sacrifice for us.  Works can be religious and born out of duty, or they can be devotional based on love.  Sometimes I feel that Chrisitans preach the Gospel of grace and when someone comes to faith, then we say, "Now we got you."  Now you HAVE to do this and that and the next thing in order to prove that you are really a Christian.  In othe words Christians can be masters of the guilt trip.  Guilt is good before we are saved since it leads us to an understanding of how lost we really are.   Romans 3 says that the law was given that every mouth might be stopped and all the world become guilty before God.  But now through faith the Christian has been justified.  He has been declared right with God.  He no longer needs to wallow in guilt. 


The Conference

I went to a conference recently.  When I go I always hope that the Lord will speak to me in some way.  Most people go to hear the speakers.  I go to hear the Lord.  I don’t go to get entertained, I go to learn something.  That is necessary for me because while I like to read, I have learned most of what I know today through lectures, speeches and preaching.  Even in college, I didn’t like to take time to read the book so I always went to class and took copious notes.  The conference that I went to recently was no exception.


While I won’t be "guilted" into passing those notes on social media along, I have never been able to fully explain what the Lord meant when he said that if we denied Him on earth, He would deny us in heaven.  It can’t have to do with salvation or salvation would not be a free gift.  But what does it mean? 


One of our speakers pointed out that Peter denied the Lord three times and we really don’t expect the Lord to deny him in any way in heaven.  He was used after that denial to preach to both non-jews and jews.  He had a shepherd’s heart for the Christians of his day.  Yes, he denied the Lord emphatically three times.  Later on he wouldn’t eat with non-jews because of his fear of the jews.  But in every case he saw his error and confessed it.  Those experiences made him a better shepherd of the Lord’s people than he likely would have been without the failures.  And that was God’s message for me at the conference.


The Lesson

We need to remember that words have to be understood in their context.  It does not always mean the same thing every time it is used.  It is clear to me that there are denials of the Lord that are the result of the weakness of our flesh.  There are denials of the Lord that represent a total rejection of Him.  In Luke 12:9, the Lord goes on to explain blasphemy.  In the context of Luke 12:9, denial represents not yielding to the Holy Spirit as He tries to draw us to faith in the Lord.  There were two thieves on the cross beside the Lord.  Both started out blaspheming the Lord or denying him.  One came to his senses and looked to the Lord for salvation.  The other continued in his blasphemy of the Holy Spirit by rejecting the Lord and he was lost.  These are two different kinds of denial.  The lost thief blasphemed the Holy Spirit and denied the Lord.  His sin could not be forgiven.


Likely, a Christian who denies the Lord through some weakness, will lose reward in the coming Kingdom.  If we aren’t faithful in serving the Lord now, we aren’t likely to be given full responsibility in the coming kingdom.  But regardless of how the rewards work in the coming kingdom, a Christian’s salvation is secure.  "If we are faithless (that is untrustworthy), He remains faithful.  He cannot deny Himself."  Praise the Lord!  And from the point of salvation on, hopefully, we will ask the Lord what can I do to serve you and please you and not what must I do!. 


Bruce Collins


Meditation for the week of September 5, 2016

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