I think we had better get free! We must face up to the issues and attitudes and doubts which constitute our fears, that keep us from being happy and victorious Christians with the true liberty of the children of God. We seem to quake about many things.
In the first place, are you still afraid of your past sins? God knows that sin is a terrible thing—and the devil knows it, too. So he follows us around and as long as we will permit it, he will taunt us about our past sins.
As for myself, I have learned to talk back to him on this score. I say, “Yes, Devil, sin is terrible—but remind you that I got it from you! And I remind you, Devil, that everything good—forgiveness and cleansing and blessing—everything that is good I have freely received from Jesus Christ!”
Everything that is bad and that is against me I got from the devil—so why should he have the effrontery and the brass to argue with me about it? Yet he will do it because he is the devil, and he is committed to keeping God’s children shut up in a little cage, their wings clipped so that they can never fly!
In our churches we often sing, “Arise, my soul, arise; shake off thy guilty fears.” But nothing happens and we keep our fears. Why do we claim on one hand that our sins are gone and on the other act just as though they are not gone?
Brethren, we have been declared “Not Guilty!” by the highest court in all the universe. Still there are honest Christians, earnestly seeking the face of God, who cannot seem to break loose and find real freedom. The grave clothes trip them up every time they try to move on a little faster. Satan uses their past sins to terrify them.
Now on the basis of grace as taught in the Word of God, when God forgives a man, He trusts him as though he had never sinned. God did not have mental reservations about any of us when we became His children by faith. When God forgives a man, He doesn’t think, “I will have to watch this fellow because he has a bad record.“ NO, He starts with him again as though he had just been created and as if there had been no past at all! That is the basis of our Christian assurance—and God wants us to be happy in it.
SATAN MAGNIFIES MEMORIES
Next, are you allowing Satan to magnify the memories of your spiritual failures? He will always keep them before you unless you take your stand and move up in faith.
The devil will whisper, “You didn’t get very far along toward the deeper life, did you?“
He will say, “You made a big ‘to-do’ about wanting to be filled with the Spirit and you really flopped, didn’t you?”
He will taunt you with the fact that you may have stumbled in the faith—and perhaps more than once! The devil wants you to live in a state of discouraged chagrin and remorse.
Remember, the Bible does not teach that if a man falls down, he can never rise again. The fact that he falls is not the most important thing—but rather that he is forgiven and allows God to lift him up!
Perhaps you have read of the saintly Fletcher, whose holy life became so recognized that he was called “the seraphic Fletcher.” His testimony reveals that he stumbled and miserably failed God seven times. But after the seventh failure he went to a room and did not come out until he was able to rest his case completely in the strength of God’s hands. He came out of the room saying, “Dear Lord, I believe that I am delivered from the bondage of my sin. If you will keep me and help me I will never cease telling the world what you can do for a man!” For the rest of his life Fletcher exhibited to the world God’s power to bless and to keep His transformed children on earth.
If our failures are going to hinder us forever, we might just as well never have taken the first step. But God knew all about us and He still loved us and desired His eternal best for us. (I Talk Back To the Devil! by A. W. Tozer)
Tomorrow, Part 4 - Conclusion