Joseph Prince — Break Free from Addiction and Shame
You know, panic attacks, anxiety, suffering from these conditions is really not a small thing, people. It's not something that we can just say, "Well, think positive, you know? Just look on the bright side of things". And many of them are on medication, and sometimes when they get off the medication, the rebound is even worse. So, we have a heart for people like this and I can't begin to tell you how many people who are suffering from thoughts of suicide, suicidal thoughts, suffering from panic attacks and anxiety that have been set free through Jesus Christ, amen, just by hearing the gospel of grace.
Yet, when we say we listen to the gospel, what are we actually saying when we say "gospel". It's from an Old English word that is spelled "Godspell," all right, good news. Good news. And when we hear "good news" today, we always think of, like, well, Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Basically, the people know that, but how does that translate into our lives? The reason why he died on the cross, why he who knew no sin, he knew no sin, he did no sin, in him is no sin, but he died on the cross as if he was the worst sinner ever, why? How does that translate to me, where I'm living? How does that help me with my addictions, with my bondage? How does that help me with my unclean habits? How does that help me in my relationship with my spouse, my children? How does that make me successful whatever I'm doing, whatever I'm undertaking?
Now, all this has a direct bearing on our emotional health, even our physical wholeness, our mental poise and peace. It has everything to do with our lives as a whole, amen. It all starts with conscience. When you know you are forgiven of all your sins, it brings into your spirit such a peace that comes to you such a calmness, a sense of well-being, which translates as physical health and emotional health as well. In fact, the word "salvation" is from the word "sozo," which is actually to save you in every area of your life.
Well, let's look at Hebrews 10. Are you all ready for the Word? "For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come". Say, "Good things". So, the law is a shadow. It's not the substance, amen? I love the idea the Bible says with God, every good and perfect gift is from him, but with him there is now shadow of turning. Not even... you know when the sun is at its meridian, at the center, it is right above us, noontime usually, there's no shadow around us, right? Right? When the sun sets, you see a shadow behind you, and the further it sets, the longer the shadow. Well, with God, in God's realm, there is no shadow. It also means that God is like the light that's all around us, amen, and there's no shadow. There's no shadow of turning with God, not even a shadow. God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. If he is good then, he is good today, amen?
The only difference that we need to understand is that in the Old Testament, we see the shadow. We see the visual aids. Why Israel bring the lamb, okay, and why the sinner would lay his hands on the lamb, transferring his sins to the lamb and the righteousness of the lamb is transferred to him, and then the lamb is killed on his behalf as if it was his death, his punishment. But the one that actually sinned is now innocent in the eyes of God. He is now righteous, rather, in the eyes of God, and he walks away with the righteousness of the lamb. The lamb dies his death. The lamb suffers his punishment. So, all these are visual aids for Israel down through Israel's history in the Old Testament. And what it did for sin, it didn't really remove sins, it covered sin. The word there is "atone," "atonement".
So, every year on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the sins of Israel is covered. It's covered. It's like your Visa card. Your Visa card, guys, is not a payment. Remember that, okay? And don't forget that real payment is coming. But what your Visa card does is it sort of covers for you until your real payment. So, the sufferings of all the lambs that was sacrificed on the Jewish altars, multitudes of them down through the Old Testament, are all visual aids of the real Lamb to come. So, when Jesus came on the scene, John the Baptist pointed to him to all Israel and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world". Now, this time when Jesus died on the cross, it's not a covering for our sins. It is the word "taking away". Our sins are removed from the eyes of a thrice-holy God, amen? Praise God. And now God is so near to us and we are close to him, we rest our head in a fatherly bosom. God is no more God far away, he's our Father in heaven. We are his sons and daughters. Can I have a good amen?
All the riches and all the treasures of heaven is now ours. And like the Bible talks about health and healing as the children's bread. At the Father's table is the children's bread. We are now children. We are not a guest, amen. Israel in the Old Testament was God's servant, but we are God's sons, hallelujah. There's been a change, amen? So, before we read all that, I thought I'd just give you the background so you understand this. Verse 1 says, "For the law, having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very substance, or the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year," obviously referring to the Day of Atonement, "make those who approach perfect". If you read the previous chapter, perfect not in terms of your behavior, perfect in terms of your conscience. A perfect conscience is a conscience that is free from sin consciousness. When you know your debt is paid, when you meet your creditor, you are no longer afraid of him, amen?
For example, you promise to pay a certain payment to your friend or whatever, and you meant well, you are sincere, but the day came and you're not able to pay him. So, you bump into him or you see him from far away in a mall, what do you do? You don't like to meet up with him, why? Because you have debt on your conscience, so you try to avoid him. Supposing someone came to him, and let's say you owe him $1.000, and someone paid that 1.000. Actually, what Jesus did is that he didn't just pay that $1.000 debt, for the guy that you owed money from, he paid him 1 million on your behalf. That's the picture there. Jesus is in overpayment.
Also when we come before God now, because Jesus is an overpayment, there's no more sin on our conscience. Now, there's still sin in our behavior. There's still sin in our conduct, amen. We are not perfect yet where those things are concerned, but God doesn't want sin on your conscience. Now, write this down somewhere. A great man of God who lived in the 1800s, he said this, "When sin is removed out of your conscience, it is dethroned from your heart. When sin is removed from your conscience, it is dethroned in your heart". Isn't it amazing, amen? So, this is the key to the true holiness that so many people want for their people and for their churches, and we wanna see this in the body of Christ. But right believing will always produce right living, always, praise God.
So, right now, what do we have? Not perfect behavior, but perfect conscience, and that's what it means. All the sacrifices they offer year by year, all the bullock and all that they offered cannot make those who approach perfect in terms of their conscience. "For then would they not have ceased to be offered? Because the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins". So, to have sin consciousness is a dishonor to God. When you have sin consciousness, you carry sin consciousness, supposing someone paid $1 million for your $10.000 debt and yet you walk around as if you are afraid of the creditor to meet up with him, you walk as if the person didn't pay and all that, it's dishonoring the one who did the payment. So, as a believer, the true Christian conscience is no more sin consciousness. I did not say there's no more sin in your life. I did not say there's no more sin in my life. I said there's no more sin consciousness, why? Because we are forgiven by the blood of Jesus. Can I have a good amen?
It goes on to say in verse 3, "But in those sacrifices," referring to the Old Testament sacrifices, "there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins". So, in the Old Testament, because the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sins, there's a reminder. So, are we there? No, we are in verse 2. Go back to verse 2. We are in a place of no more consciousness of sins. Now, this is exactly what Jesus said. When Jesus says you take the communion and the only institution the Lord left behind, besides water baptism which you do once, but the only thing he tells us to remember him constantly in is the Lord's Supper, the holy communion, amen, and there's great blessing in the communion when you understand that.
The Lord said in the communion, Matthew 26, he says this. "He took the cup, and says, 'Drink from it, all of you. For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for," reminder of sins.' For remembering sins. No, for the remission, remitted, sending away, forgiveness of sins. The word "forgiveness" is from the same Greek word, remission, forgiveness of sins. When you take communion, you're not to be sin conscious, you are to remember you are forgiven of those sins. You are forgiven. You are a forgiven man, a forgiven woman. If you are born again, you are forgiven of all your sins, past, present, and future.
When you partake of the Lord's Supper, you are to be forgiveness conscious. You're not to be sin conscious. To be sin conscious is to insult the one who sent his Son and also to insult the Lord, to dishonor him when he sacrificed and paid a perfect price for your forgiveness, and yet you are acting as if he didn't do a good job, as if the Father did not give up his Son. It's a dishonor to the Lord, and that's partaking unworthily. Are you listening? So, it's vital for us to understand that sin consciousness is not the portion of the believer, even though sermons that make you feel sin conscious, they feel like the more sin conscious you are, the more you avoid sin, actually produces the opposite effect. The more sin conscious you are, the more you will sin.
People, you are forgiven through Jesus's blood. If I've done something wrong, and you know something, I broke someone's favorite, let's say, silverware or whatever, and it's not available in Singapore, right? I gotta buy it from overseas. While it's coming, I give them something, okay? I give them something else. Now, whatever I give may not be as good as what I broke, but who must be satisfied with my gift? Me giving or the recipient? The recipient. The person receiving must be happy with any payment for that matter. It's not a matter of the person giving being happy, it is the one receiving. Now, listen, in terms of the work of redemption, who must be happy with the sacrifice of Christ, me? Who must be satisfied with what Jesus did at the cross, me? No, God, right? Is God satisfied with the work of his Son? We know God is because God raised his Son from the dead. That was a proclamation that what Jesus did is perfect before God. God accepts it, amen, and he did it on our behalf. So, when God raised Jesus from the dead, it shows God's acceptance, complete acceptance with what Jesus did.
So, God is pleased. God is satisfied with what Jesus did. Am I right? How come we are not? It is the recipient that is pleased, that is satisfied, and yet we are not. How can the sacrifice of Christ satisfy God and yet we are not. We feel must add with our good works, our sincere intentions. And today, we have a gospel that says this. Yes, you receive forgiveness of sins if you have repented enough. There's always an "if". If you have repented enough. If you have prayed enough. If you are sincere enough. Now, if you advocate this teaching, even if you are a person who has been a Christian for some time, even if you are a pastor or a leader, whichever ranking in terms of position you are, I will say this, you don't have settled peace in your heart. Every time you put an "if" to the forgiveness of sins, there'll be no settled peace in your heart. You cannot qualify the work of Jesus. It is to be believed, and when you believe, it has a holy effect. It will purify our hearts, and then our actions will catch up with it.
Now, I wanna say this to you. There are situations whereby you read in the Bible it's referring to people who are professors, not possessors of eternal life. They profess to have eternal life. They profess with their mouth they are Christians. When they fill in a form, when it comes to religion, they put down there "Christian". They profess to be a Christian. They profess they have eternal life, but they are not possessors of eternal life. Just like going to a garage don't make you a car, right? Coming to New Creation Church don't make you a Christian. So, who is born again, who is not? Usually you can see the fruits after some time, but if someone is constantly and always, after sort of a very protracted time, they are still living in sin, or they're always committing adultery after some time, I question if they are truly saved. Can you understand that?
So, if the Lord really saves you, there'll be fruit in your life. Don't try to produce the fruit. Nothing good can come from the flesh or human effort. There'll be fruits, but let's not worry about the fruits, amen? Amen. Even if someone falls into sin, they might go away for awhile, but they will always come back. But professors, ultimately they will leave. Professors, just because they are in church, people get confused. "Pastor Prince, you know, I got a problem with eternal security. What about those who really... they were Christians when they were younger, but then they live their life in such a mess and all that. Are they really saved"? Now, I can't answer who is saved and who is not, but I'll tell you this. You put your trust in Christ, you are saved. You put your trust in what Jesus did, in his blood, you are saved, amen.
But there's a verse of Scripture in 1 John that says, "They went out from us because they were not of us. For had they been with us, they would no doubt have continued with us". Okay, you all must look at this, this verse. "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us," truly born again, "they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us". So finally, if they fall off and all that, they were never of us. They were never born again. They were in church, but they were never born again. There are people in church... by the way, there are people who think that, "My parents are believers, so I'm automatically a Christian". No, God doesn't have grandchildren. He only has children, amen. Just because your parents... you know, people say, "Well, my parents were Christians. My grandparents were Christians". No, God has no great-grandchildren either, only children. You've gotta make your own personal choice to believe in what Christ did, and when you believe what Christ did, his blood washes away your sins, amen.
The Bible tells us one of our greatest possessions is that we know we have forgiveness of sins. Ephesians 1, verse 7, "In him we have". Say, "We have". We're not trying to have. We're not going to have. We have. And even in the Greek, it's in the present tense. "We have redemption through his blood". Not only we have redemption, redemption is actually a release through payment, and Jesus released us from our sins. He released us from the judgment that will accompany our sins or the punishment. He released us from all that. He released us from the penalties of sins. And by the way, long before there was sickness, there was sin. And the judgment for sin is sickness, aging, finally death.
Now, I am not saying, because of that, you point to someone who is sick and say the person has sinned. No, but ultimately all sickness comes from Adam's sin, and sin is in the blood. You understand that? If there was no sin, there was no sickness, right? So, when Jesus forgives sin, he heals the disease. Always in the gospels, you find him, every time he forgives sins, the person is healed. So, by the same token, if you are able to believe that your sins are forgiven, hey, your body will line up. You will start producing health and wholeness in your life. Here it says clearly that as believers in him, in Christ, we have this release from all the punishment, from all the penalty. We have redemption through his blood.
What else we have? We have the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace. So, based on this, I'm gonna tell you right now, when God forgives your sins, God forgives according to the riches of his grace, not out of the riches of his grace. You know what's the difference between forgiving you according to the riches and forgiving you out of the riches? If I tell you I give you out of what I have in the bank, I'll give you some money out of what I have in the bank. Let's say I have $10.000 in my bank, and if I say I give you out of my bank, I can give you $1. It is still out of my bank, out of the riches in my bank. How many understand that? But if I tell you I'm gonna give you according to what I have in my bank, that means what? If I have $10.000, $10.000 is yours. That is the word "according".
By the way, here it says not only according to his grace, according to the riches of his grace. There's no beginning and there is no end to the riches of his grace. And then when he forgives us, that means we are forgiven of all our sins, past, present, and future. And let's not be afraid to say that. Today there are voices telling us, "Yes, you are forgiven of your sins, your past sins, but your future sins are not forgiven". No, my friend, that is not scriptural and that's erroneous, and to hold onto that is to dishonor God. We are forgiven of all our sins, past, present, and future, because we are forgiven according to the riches of his grace.
In any case, Jesus died 2.000 years ago so all of us don't have past sins to be forgiven. Even your past sins, let's say you got born again in 1980, all right, but you're thinking that when I got saved, my life from 1960 to 1980, 20 years of sins, is all forgiven. But from now on, depending on your denominational belief, there are things I must do, confess my sins, catch my sins, confess my sins, catch my sins, and you think that you're not forgiven, but you're forgiven as you go. Hey, in the first place, even your past sins now is future when Jesus died unless you are 2.000 years old. All your sins are future when Jesus died.
You see, Jesus died actually outside time, because God created time. I've said that many times, God created time. If God created time, God is outside time. God can go to your past, heal you when you were four years old and something terrible happened that brought emotional trauma into your life. He can go into your future and prepare the way for you. God is outside time. The cross of Jesus Christ, therefore, is outside time. Jesus could die for people before he came to earth, all the Old Testament people, and then he died for all of us who will live in the future, plus you and I. He died for our sins as well. So, when he died for our sins, he died for what? Only your sins from the day you were born physically to the day you receive him? No, your entire life of sins. God knows what sins you will commit, even before you commit them, amen. Not that we want to commit them, amen.
Like I said, you know, you're truly born again, you don't wanna sin. Let me ask you a question, okay? If "Truly, truly, you are free," this idea, "Pastor, if you tell people they are forgiven of all their sins, past, present, and future, people will go out here and become crazy". Really? You really believe that? You really believe that? When you are set free, what do you really want to do? When you've been away for a long time from your family and you come back to Singapore, what's the first thing you wanna do? You're a normal person. You're a normal person. I'm not referring to Pastor Mark. I'm referring to you, you're a normal... no, Pastor Mark is the first one that will rush back home. What do you want to do? You want to see your spouse. You want to see your children. You want to spend time with them, and then you wanna eat.