What a poor testimony for a Christian!
I have discovered that some believers continue to despair over their past sins which have been confessed to God and forgiven. This despondency is robbing them of their joy and confidence. It has deprived them of boldness for the Lord, and keeps them in a state of spiritual weakness and depression.
What happened? How did they ever allow themselves to get into such a state of affairs? God’s Word warns us that even though we have been saved, forgiven , and filled with the Spirit, the devil hasn’t forgotten about us. He hated to lose us. He will craftily wage war to recapture us, or at least to make us miserable.
Paul warns: “We wrestle… against spiritual wickedness” (Eph. 6:12).
The devil is always ready to resist our efforts to live for God (see Zech. 3:1). Jesus said, “Satan desires to have you, that he may sift you like wheat” (Lk. 22:31). He hates us and craftily plans our destruction!
Satan is “The accuser of our brethren” (Rev. 12:10; Job 1:6-11). “He is a liar and the father of it” (Jn. 8:44). He will take advantage of every opportunity to deceive us and sow “tares” of doubt in our hearts to choke the verity of God’s word. (Gen. 3:1-5; Mat. 13:39). Jesus identifies him as “the devil” — the enemy of God and of God’s people. He will try to discourage and destroy us. Beware of “the wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:11). He is full of deceit, and at times even coms as an “angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14).
The devil delights to trouble us by reminding us of our past sins, insinuating that we haven’t been forgiven.
But God tells us, “I will forgive…and remember their sins no more” (Jer 31:34; Heb. 10:17). He hurls “all our iniquities into the depths of the sea” (Mic. 7:19). When God forgives, He really forgives. David declares, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us” (Psa. 103:10-12). Our God is merciful and kind, fully forgiving and gladly reconciles His repentant children to Himself. Of course, He expects us to “Go and sin no more,” and to be thankful, coming to Him like the woman with the alabaster box of perfume, pouring it all upon Him in heartfelt gratitude (Lk. 7:37,38).
Satan will attempt to rob you of your initial joy over sins forgiven, by making you doubt that God has really forgiven you (Gen. 3:1). Remember, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). It is related that the devil visibly appeared to Martin Luther and started to berate him and to enumerate some of his past sins, boldly writing them on the wall. Luther had to admit he did indeed commit those sins. But the Holy Spirit prompted him to take a pen and inscribe over the posted sins the words, “The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 Jn. 1:7). With that, the devil angrily glared at Luther — and vanished!
We must “resist the devil and he will flee” from us (Ja. 4:7).
“Neither give place to the devil” (Eph. 4:27). Don’t discuss or debate your past sins with him. God doesn’t do it, so don’t let the devil do it. “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith” (1 Pet. 5:8 NIV).
Remember, you are — a child of God.
Keep your heart filled with gratitude for His love and generosity. Keep up a daily and close fellowship with Him. Talk to Him and let Him talk to you.
As you fully absorb God’s instructions and generous promises, the devil will be powerless to deceive or mislead you. Do it, familiarize yourself with God’s Word — so that “Satan might not outwit us. For we are not ignorant of his schemes” (2 Cor. 2:11 NIV).
Share this truth, for there are more believers who struggle with the memory of their past sins than what may be apparent. Help them resist the lying devil and to believe God. Let the joy of the Lord be evident in their lives.