FREE AT LAST!
The Denver Zoo decided that the polar bear should have the largest and most naturalistically built cage of all the animals in the zoo. So the engineers and construction crew went to work to build an enclosure that was big and natural in its representation of the artic terrain.
The polar bear was sedated and when it awoke it found itself in a small cage made of thick metal bars that had been placed directly in the middle of the giant enclosure that was still under construction. The small enclosure was just large enough that the polar bear could take about four good-sized steps before being halted by the cold metal bars. It would take four steps in one direction, rear up on its hind legs as it made a 180 degree turn slowly, and take four steps in the opposite direction before rearing up again as it made another turn back. ALL day long the bear would slowly pace back and forth in its cage.
Finally, the polar bear’s new home was completed. The bear was again sedated and the small cage of metal bars that had been the bear’s world for so many months was removed. The polar bear awoke, took four slow but steady steps before rearing up, paws high in the air, and turned around to take the four customary steps in the opposite direction, rearing up again as it turned and retraced its first steps and rearing up, etc.
The polar bear was no longer caged but it wasn’t free. Can you imagine how the zoo director felt? He went to all that effort but the bear was still trapped. The bear was unable to receive it’s freedom.
Sadly, that’s the way many of us Christians act. We repent and confess our sins but we remain trapped in guilt and shame. We cannot forgive ourselves and as a result we are unable to enter the full glorious freedom of the sons and daughters of God. We can’t love ourselves and as a result we have a hard time believing that Jesus love us.
We consider ourselves sinners and we let the devil continually beat us up over those past sins which no longer exist in God’s eyes. We live under the influence of yesterday’s failures and under the influence of a lie. Can you imagine how Jesus feels when we remain trapped like that bear, trapped in guilt and shame over sins He has already forgiven AND forgotten? The truth of Jer 31:34 needs to pierce our hearts. "I will forgive their evildoing and their sins I will remember no more."
Some Christians will frequently say, "I’m not worthy; I’m just a sinner." It is said in a sense of humility, but it can actually be a subtle form of pride. It really is a denial of our true identity. If we have been washed clean in the blood of the Lamb, then we ARE clean and forgiven and we ARE children of the most high God. That is our identity! We are not miserable sinners. The blood of Jesus wiped out the record of sin in our life. Our old nature is dead. We are a new creation in Christ Jesus ( 2 Cor 5:17.)
Jesus calls us saints! We were changed from a miserable sinner into a beautiful blood-bought saint when we received salvation. It doesn’t mean that we can’t sin, it just means that we are not a professional at it anymore. We are not seeking to sin anymore, we are seeking to be holy. We are living for God!
Romans 6:2f says: "Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?... that we might no longer be in slavery to sin... If then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him.... Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as (being) dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus."
Brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, we are forgiven! There is nothing anybody can do to change that. When the devil brings up some sin from the past, he is talking about something that doesn’t exist anymore. We can tell him we didn’t do that. The person who did that is dead. This new person that we are, never did that!
2 Cor 10:5 tells us to "take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ." 1 Jn 4:4 says: "greater is He (Jesus) that is in you than he (the devil) that is in the world." When the enemy tries to slip some guilt and shame from old sins into our minds, we need to grab them and stamp them "access denied." Don’t accept those lies and stand on our true identity in Christ Jesus. The demons must leave with those lies when we tell them! As we do that, illegal shame and guilt will quickly become a non-issue.
God is not glorified when we live under the influence of our past sins, always recalling the bad things we did in the past. He is glorified when we walk in our identity as sons and daughters of God, free from all illegal shame and guilt, with light hearts and a bounce in our step, proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ, and telling everybody that He has set this captive FREE!
If you are not free from shame and guilt from past sins, totally commit your life to Jesus Christ, burn all your bridges behind you, and ask Jesus to let you "experience the breadth and length and height and depth of His love for you" (Eph 3:18f). Saturate your mind with the truth of God’s word, live in this truth and "the truth will set you free" (Jn 8:32). When we are living free and forgiven with no illegal baggage to haul around, we will experience life as God intended it from the beginning.
We will be "convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor powers, neither height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God that comes to us in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Ro 8:38-39)
********** Jesus Is Lord! **********