Sometimes our failures and mistakes blot our history like stains on a comfy shirt. We try hard to forget or remove them but nothing works. And so we go through life carrying a burden of shame, or we ask forgiveness over and over and over again.
I address that issue in Moving From Fear to Freedom in the chapter titled “Facing the Ghosts of Our Past.” I also teach a retreat session on it. It’s a sensitive one for me because I share from my heart about struggles I’ve faced, how the enemy duped me with lies for years, and how God finally set me free. Tomorrow evening, I’ll teach a shortened version for the 7th and final recording session for the DVD series based on this book. Wouldn’t ya know it? Today as I read in my devotions, God gave me Scriptures that are custom-designed for this topic.
Hebrews 10 tells us about the sacrifices made in OT times. “If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared. But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (vv. 2-4).
Year after year, people made these animal sacrifices to receive cleansing from their sins, but the stain remained on their hearts. Nothing they did could fully remove the feelings of guilt and shame for the wrongs they’d committed.
But when Christ came, everything changed. “Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand….For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy” (vv. 11,12,14).
Christ’s shed blood became the permanent sin-stain remover. When we place our faith in Him, it washes our heart’s history clean. Yes, the enemy might tempt us to second-guess that cleansing work by bringing up constant reminders of past failures and mistakes, but we mustn’t allow him the pleasure of victory. When he tries to discourage us, we can turn those moments into prayers of thanksgiving for Christ’s work on our behalf. And we can find hope and joy in knowing that Christ Himself doesn’t remember our blotches. “Then he says, ‘I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds’” (v. 17). How sweet is that?
Have your sin-stains been permanently removed? If not, it’s time to ask Christ to do His magnificent work in your heart: “Father, thank You for shedding Your blood for my sin. Cleanse me from my sin and create in me a new heart. I trust You alone for my salvation and to make me holy. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Know you are loved…