Those of us who call ourselves disciples of Christ sometimes need more humility. We need to be reminded again and again that the position we have in the Kingdom of God is not something we have earned. Rather, we have been extended an undeserved mercy.
All too often, we forget that He brought us out of the pit, out of utter spiritual darkness. That truth should create within us an enduring gratitude.
In my own experience, I can say that I hit bottom spiritually at one point, and that God nevertheless never gave up on me and brought me back into His family. When I realized the reality of His forgiveness, I was almost stunned; I referred to Him as “The God of the Second Chance.”
No matter what we have done in our past, if we come to Him in genuine repentance and look to the Cross, He wipes away all the sin and shame. One of my favorite passages is found in I Corinthians 6 where the apostle Paul provides a list of sinfulness that excludes people from the Kingdom—yet he doesn’t end there.
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.
Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
I’m eternally grateful that the list is followed by that declaration of total spiritual renewal.
The dominion of hell wants us to wallow in our past sins, of course, bringing up the memories of the sins that now bring revulsion. The satanic hope is to paralyze us with remorse so that we are unproductive for the Lord. The enemy of our souls seeks to weigh us down with the enormity of our past sins.
We cannot allow that to happen. We need to have the words of Psalm 103 in our hearts and even say them out loud whenever necessary:
He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
If you are plagued by the memory of distant sins, come back to the truth of those words. The east and the west never meet; they go on in opposite directions forever. In the same way, your former sinful life is precisely the opposite of the new life you now have in Christ. We are to move forward for Him in confidence that He truly loves us and our sins are removed, never to be brought to mind again.
As the prophet Isaiah tells us, speaking for God,
I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.
If God Himself has blotted out the memory of our sins from His own mind, so should we.