Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say . . . “The accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” (Revelation 12:10-11)
As a child of the Most High God, it is right and required for us to repent of our sins, but it is wrong to rehearse our sins over and over again. This is one of the great goals of the accuser. Satan wants us to repeatedly rehearse our sins, because when we do, we take our eyes off our Redeemer and fix them on ourselves.
Rehearsing our sins again and again is not of God, who sent His Son into the world so that you and I can know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that those sins are freely and fully forgiven. Repentance of our sins is of God; rehearsing our sins is of the devil, who takes perverse pleasure in shifting our focus away from our Savior and onto ourselves. Satan delights in reminding us of our failures; the more he can keep us focused on our failures, the less we stay focused on our Lord, who has redeemed us from all our sins. Life at that dreary level becomes all about us, and that focus on self, as I’ve said here many times before, keeps us from growing into the person God is calling us to be.
I speak with far too many Christians who are locked in a rhythm of rehearsing and revisiting past sins. The malevolent enemy of the saints has convinced them that mulling over past sins and repenting again and again is a sign of maturing in the faith, as if wallowing in the depths of despair over past failures will convince God that we are truly sorry. This, interestingly enough, was once the mindset of the great Protestant Reformer, Martin Luther, who went to extraordinary lengths in castigating himself for his sins, until the day that God opened Luther’s eyes to the glorious truth of Romans 1:17 – “The just shall live by faith.”
The sign of truly maturing in our faith is taking God as His word. He has promised us that He has removed our sins from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12); He has hurled all our sins into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19); and He has cast all our sins behind His back (Isaiah 38:17). Oh, what an encouragement this is to be to all of us! God is plainly saying to you and me, “Why would you continue to rehearse your past sins when I have promised you that I will remember them no more?” (Hebrews 10:17).
Remember, self-condemnation is one of Satan’s sharpest arrows, one designed to weaken our faith and water down our witness in every way. What we must keep in view is another promise from God: “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1) When we sin, we are to repent and rejoice, because in Christ we have conquered the attacks of the accuser, who has been hurled down for all eternity by the blood of the Lamb.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!