Perhaps you have applied God’s grace to yourself and experienced that love and power which has delivered you from all roots of bitterness toward someone. You have put on a disposition of forgiveness, even toward those who will not repent or receive your forgiveness, but somehow you cannot forgive yourself and subconsciously are demanding some punishment of yourself.
Sometimes it is more difficult to receive forgiveness that to grant it. We feel we deserve to suffer because of what we’ve done. But, to bear our burden and take our penalty was part of our Saviour’s ministry on the Cross.
When we belong to Him, we can leave our shame and punishment with Him. This is part of God’s grace. This is part of the unmerited privilege that is ours when we are in His grace. Only when we realize that God truly desires us to receive all He freely offers can we avail ourselves of His unfathomable love and grace.
Victory over the Flesh
So often, we hold a grudge against ourselves. A root of bitterness continues to demand another pound of flesh.
The devil does not want a Christian to understand and act upon the truth concerning his “old man,” who was ruled by the “spirit of this world which now dwells in the sons of disobedience.” The devil does not want the flesh to assume its place of death on the Cross where he rightfully belongs. The flesh is continually striving against the Spirit.
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
The flesh, condemned by the law, rises up to condemn our new man, our new creature. The flesh attempts to bring us again into servitude to the penalty of the law. (For more on this, please read The Expected Christian Life and Holiness and Victorious Christian Life.)
It is the flesh, the character of our old man, that still holds the grudge against the new man who is free in Christ. The devil deplores the idea of God’s grace. Condemnation is the demand of the law against the flesh. The devil wants to see this carried out. By operating through our flesh, he demands condemnation and punishment, which he also tries to inflict.
What is the truth? It is that we, as Christians, need to agree with the devil. Yes, the flesh does deserve condemnation and punishment, but we remind the devil that, not only do we agree, but we have already done something about it. We have brought our “old man” to Jesus—and Jesus has nailed him and his sin to the cross. Jesus has crucified the “old man,” rendering him dead positionally.
Our responsibility in this matter is to reckon it so! By the power of God’s Spirit, we must reckon experientially in our own lives what is so positionally. We experientially assume our privileged position in the new man because the new man is who we have become in Christ.
Our problem is that when we neglect to follow the Spirit, we fall victim to the flesh and sin results. We suffer the consequences of sin, but, by grace, we repent and are forgiven and cleansed. By repentance and forgiveness, empowered by the Holy Spirit Who operates according to the nature of Christ, we function as the new creatures we now are…
Don’t Condemn Yourself for Lack of Maturity
We should not allow ourselves to be condemned for the wisdom which we lacked last month. We can bless and thank God for our growth this month. This devil will have us thinking, “God must be sick of me. All I seem to do is repent.”
What the devil will never tell us is how pleased God is that we do repent and grow to another level. One of the most spiritual things a Christian can do is repent. God is blessed by our realization of growth and maturity.
God is not pleased with our sin, but He is pleased with our progress. He sees us as we are in His Son. He sees what we are becoming.
Our Unfailing Friend
Finally, remember a friend can fail us at any time, even as we can fail him or ourselves. There is, however, one Friend Who will never fail nor forsake us. The world is searching for something upon which they can depend, and we have that—the love and grace of Christ.
II Cor. 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Rom. 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
This blog is an excerpt from a little booklet called, “God’s Healing Power for Hurting Hearts,” available at www.uhwchristianbookstore.com