Newsletter for Oct 2007
Guilt is one of the most powerful and effective weapons Satan uses against a child of God. He knows full well that many Christians will stand up to him when faced with sickness, financial troubles, family problems or a host of his other devices. But if he can saddle you with guilt, he will ride you mercilessly until you are rendered ineffective against him. At that point, he can begin to move to destroy any and every area of your life.
However, lest we think more highly of ourselves than we ought, we must realize that we are not the ultimate goal of Satan’s attack By ourselves, we can do nothing. Therefore, it is pointless for him to focus his onslaught on people who are not threat. Why, then, does he do it? Read these verses very closely:
And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: (Ephesians 1:19-21)
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)
Satan’s goal is to try and neutralize the exceedingly great, universe-creating power of God the He used to raise Jesus from the dead. It is that same power which enables the name of Jesus to be the Name above every name that is named. The moment we believe on Jesus and are born again, that exact, same power is extended to us. According to that power, God is able to perform through us works that are exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think. This is the power which causes the sick to recover when we lay hands on them. It is this power which causes the blind eyes to see, the deaf ears to hear, silent tongues to speak, lame legs to walk, and demons to be cast out.
Look again at Ephesians 3:20, “according to the power that worketh in us.” That word “worketh” is the Greek word “energeo” and it means “to be active and energetic.” The power of God is extended to us and dwells within us as a child of God. However, we must learn through His word and prayer how that power becomes active and energetic to do the “exceedingly abundant.” If Satan can get a Believer caught up in the guilt of the past that Jesus has already washed away with His blood, he can stifle the growth of that Believer and accomplish his ultimate goal: rendering the power of God ineffective through that person. Since the devil is powerless to take away an individual’s salvation, the next best thing is interfering with the flow of God’s power.
“Yes, Brother Jim, I can see and understand all that. But you have no idea what my past is like. You have no idea the kind of things I’ve done. I asked Jesus into my heart and I meant it. But it seems a day doesn’t go by without some memory of my past suddenly jumping up in my mind. I don’t know what to do. Sometimes I wonder if I really am saved.”
Listen to what you just said, “But you have no idea what my past is like.” You have taken your past and brought it into the present. This is exactly what Satan wants you to do! You said you meant it when you asked Jesus into your heart, so pay close attention to these verses,
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace (Ephesians 1:6-7)
And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (Ephesians 4:24)
And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; (Colossians 2:13)
Think about what you’ve just read: You are accepted as God’s beloved child. You have forgiveness of all sins and trespasses. His power has caused you to be quickened (made alive) with and in Christ. You are created in God’s own righteousness and true holiness, neither of which has a sinful past. The old things of before are completely passed away.
You are a new creation n Christ, born again as someone who had never before existed. To paraphrase from Galatians 2:20, you are crucified with Christ: nevertheless, you live; yet not you, but Christ lives in you: and the life which you now live in the flesh you live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved you, and gave Himself for you. Hallelujah to Jesus!
Read what God says about your past,
As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:12)
And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (Jeremiah 31:34)
God chooses to forgive, remove and forget. This means He doesn’t see the past you’re trying to hold on to. Since He has forgiven, removed, and forgotten, He cannot be the source of any condemnation you may feel regarding your past. That leaves two sources: you, and the devil. Since you’re struggling so much with those memories and you wish you didn’t remember your past, this eliminates you as the source of this ongoing “inner criticism.” So, guess who’s behind this attack? That’s right, it’s the devil.
In John 8:44 Jesus called Satan a liar. Since we know that Jesus can only speak truth, then Satan is the liar Jesus called him. This being so, when the devil uses your past to condemn you it has to be a lie. We know this is true because we’ve already learned that God has chosen to forget our past.
This means that when the devil uses circumstances or people or anything else to condemn us over something washed away by the blood of Jesus, he is lying to us. Then, if we give into this condemnation and guilt, we are actually choosing to believe a lie over God’s truth!
In Acts chapter ten, the Apostle Peter was staying with Simon the tanner. He went up to the housetop and fell into a trance…
And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. (Acts 10:11-15)
The word “common” is the Greek word “koinoo” which means, “unclean, polluted, defiled.” When Satan “lets down a sheet” filled with memories of a filthy past, he’s trying to get you to feel unclean, polluted, and defiled. I have no doubt that some of you reading this know exactly what I mean. Revelation 1:5 tells us that Jesus Christ has washed us from our sins in His own blood; therefore, do not call unclean that which God has cleansed! You are clean and cleansed from your past, and Satan cannot render you unclean.
Someone might say, “But Brother Jim, I don’t struggle with the things I did before salvation. My struggles are with the memories of what I’ve done after I accepted Jesus as Savior. Sometimes, I don’t eve feel like going back to church. I feel like I’m in some sort of ‘spiritual limbo’ and I’m miserable!”
Guess what…I’ve been through the same thing. If it’s any consolation, I think most Christians have gone through times like what you’ve described. But let’s take a moment and find out what God has to say…
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:1-2)
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
These passages have been used to lead people to Jesus as Savior. However, they weren’t written to the lost. Contrary to popular belief, people who aren’t saved are not commanded to confess their sins in order to be saved. Romans 10:9 says, That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. If a person wants to be born again, he or she must confess Jesus, not their sins. (Can you imagine trying to remember every sin in order to confess them so you can be saved? What an impossible task!)
In 1 John 2:2 Jesus is called, “…the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” In this, there is a distinct line drawn between Christians and non-believers. As a result, we know that his book of First John was written to Christians. Therefore, if we blow it and do something which is sin, Jesus Christ is our advocate before the Father and our propitiation for that sin. (“Propitiation” means “the High Priest offering the sacrifice; who is Himself both the High Priest and the sacrifice, because no other priest is qualified to offer it and no other sacrifice is perfect enough to be offered.”)
If you have sinned after salvation, you can go to Jesus, confess that sin, and He will forgive you. Yet, not only will He forgive you, 1 John 1:9 says He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness. When you confess and repent with a sincere heart, the sin is forgiven, we are cleansed, and God again chooses to forget. We are then expected to “go and sin no more.” Sound impossible? First John 2:1 says, …these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. As you pray, seek God, feast on His word and grow spiritually, His power in you becomes the power that is active and energetic; that power then strengthens you to say “no” to temptation.
When you feel yourself starting to dwell on a past that has been forgiven, removed, and forgotten, immediately recognize it as a lie from Satan. Quote some of the verses in this letter and remind him that you are created in righteousness and true holiness. Keep in mind Hebrews 10:22, Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Make that verse a personal declaration,
In Jesus’ name, I can draw close to the throne of god with a heart full of assurance that I am accepted in His presence because the blood of Jesus has cleansed me from all unrighteousness. In Jesus’ name, I declare that His blood has cleansed my heart from an evil conscience and I refuse to accept memories of a past that God has forgiven, removed, and forgotten. Whom the Son sets free is free indeed and I am free from my past. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
May you know His unspeakable joy!
Your fellow laborer,