Dealing with Sin of the Past

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 1 Timothy 1:15 (ESV)

Recently a woman came to me and told me she had been unfaithful to her husband several years ago. Not long after that another woman told me she had an abortion, and yet another told me she had been intimate with many men. All of these things took place before these women were Christians and yet all of these women struggled with remaining guilt and shame. None of them said they experienced freedom in their Christian lives, and they all said they felt used, dirty and damaged.

Such is the state of our world and in this generation where sex is easy many are learning the hard way that love isn’t free. Sadly these women are finding things are not so easy, and that indiscriminate sex comes with a price.

Each woman has told me she cannot forgive herself for these past indiscretions, and in the case of the woman who aborted her child, she says she cannot forgive herself of killing the child.

All the women are church going women who hide behind a mask of fear of being exposed. They fear someone, anyone finding out who they are and what they have done, so they isolate. They may attend your Bible study or small group or prayer circle but let me assure you, they are very alone and trapped in a secret world of pain.

The women attempt various kinds of penance, wrongly thinking that some sort of restitution is needed and required by God. One woman promotes marriage weekends, another volunteers at the crisis pregnancy center, and the last one works in youth group hoping to steer young woman away from her path of promiscuity.

These dear ladies need to realize that help and hope and healing are theirs in Christ. The erroneous message of forgiving yourself is not biblical and nowhere in the Bible can we find Jesus telling anyone to forgive themselves.

The women I wrote about today have read the account of the adulterous woman in John 8, are familiar with Mary Magdalene, and the woman who wept at the feet of Jesus. None of those women asked Jesus how to forgive themselves; they sought Jesus’ forgiveness in repentance. When they received forgiveness, they obeyed His command to sin no more in that manner. They became His followers and lived their lives in obedience and they began to live for Him.

We could learn a lot from these women and their immediate response to Jesus. Beloved, when Jesus forgave them, it was done. His forgiveness was complete and total. When He forgave you, it was finished the ransom was paid and you were freed!

To ever think that you can add anything to His payment for your sin or to think you’re your self-abuse will obtain forgiveness is blasphemy. The guilty feelings that you hang on to that you somehow believe will help atone for your sin are actually adding sin to your heart and life!

Some will not accept this and maintain they must do something believing it is just too easy to just place it at the foot of the cross; that they must pay a price or have a penalty- something!  Dear ladies, consider this: if there is more to be done to secure your forgiveness then Jesus’ sacrifice was incomplete, our redemption is not assured, and God is a liar.

Rest and trust that He has paid the penalty for your sin and the truth is that you are complete and secure in Christ.