Thursday, March 05, 2015
Psalm 32:1-2 (ESV) Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
Matthew 26:27-28 (ESV) And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
With age comes wisdom. With wisdom comes discernment. With discernment comes self-reflection. With self-reflection comes two possibilities: regret and shame, OR praise and progress.
Now, let’s put what I just said into context.
There is a lot of discussion today within the Body of Christ of the need to live in a constant state of brokenness. Scripture passages are quoted that seem to indicate that unless we are constantly reflecting on what we once were in our sin we will never know the splendor of God’s grace. This can cause a serious spiritual problem when it becomes so much the focus of our life that we forget to live in the victory over sin that Jesus has provided. It is very dangerous to fixate on why we are unqualified for eternal life and not live in the reality that the Father has qualified us! (Col. 1:12)
Just like anything in life, the problem becomes one of balance. The backward look at what we once were is necessary, but it must not become the standard by which we measure our spiritual sensitivities. The backward look is only necessary for one primary thing in our lives – to make us appreciate the current status of our relationship with Jesus Christ and live in the joy of our salvation.
The backward look at our past sin, when combined with the satanic influence of shame for that sin, can cause serious spiritual problems. Yes, I said satanic influence of shame. You see, once God has forgiven our sin in Jesus Christ, ALL condemnation is removed. Shame is Satan’s weapon to condemn us. Shame is not the same as godly sorrow that leads to repentance. Shame is the chain with which Satan binds us to our past.
I hear a phrase coming from the lips of Christians far too often. It is usually used in a sentence that goes like this – “I know God has forgiven me, but I just can’t seem to forgive myself.” Nowhere in the Bible are we told to forgive ourselves. In fact, it is a deception of Satan to think that we must. It is how he holds us in spiritual bondage.
As long as we continue to look backward in a self-gratifying brokenness and believe we are still guilty and unworthy we have not truly accepted God’s forgiveness. We are choosing to look at our lives from our perspective rather than from God’s.
The person who believes they have not forgiven themselves is really guilty of not accepting God’s forgiveness. They are still trying to justify their own life and actions, when from God’s perspective they were justified in Christ and made to be His child forever. For some reason in their mind they believe their opinion of themselves is more important than God’s opinion of who they are. Their insecurities, guilt, and shame become the chains with which Satan holds them captive, and the only key he claims to have for deliverance is self-forgiveness and self-justification.
Unfortunately Satan never reveals the truth that he has no keys, and we will never be set free on those terms. Jesus said, I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. When God forgives there is no need for any additional forgiveness. The only way any of us could ever hope to forgive ourselves is for us to have sufficient resources to pay for our sin. We would have to be able to come before God and declare that we suffered the total consequences of sin and conquered it. The fact that we know we have a sin that needs to be forgiven makes us ineligible to pay God’s required price for that sin, which is a sinless sacrifice. We who try to forgive ourselves are in a hopeless state.
But the blood of Jesus Christ, the perfect spotless Lamb of God, was poured out for the forgiveness of sin. None of us is required to or capable of forgiving ourselves. We can only – and wondrously – accept the forgiveness already provided by the Father.
My friend, if you are suffering today because you are trapped in the chains of believing you must forgive yourself for what you have done, you are in a futile pursuit. You will never be free. You must realize that what you are really doing is rejecting the forgiveness God offers you. When God says you are forgiven – accept it. When God says you are justified – accept it. When God says you are worthy – accept it. When God says you are qualified – accept it. There is no need and there is no way for you to improve upon what God offers. You do not make yourself worthy of God, so stop trying to make yourself worthy of people, including yourself. When you repent of your sin, God forgives. To believe anything else denies the very nature and character of God.
REJOICE! Your sins are forgiven, and God declares you righteous. Stop arguing with Him.