But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. – Isaiah 53:5
Have you ever done something that you wish you could take away? Do you have something in your life that haunts you to this day? Are there buried secrets that you secretly hope never come to light? You are not alone.
I am not speaking about a person who continues to live in sin. I am speaking about those who no longer live in sin, for Jesus has set them free. They have repented over their sin, mourned over their sin, and found forgiveness in Christ. Yet, though forgiven, the memory and the guilt of yesterday often creeps into the heart of today.
Guilt can be a powerful foe. It is bondage. It can bring emotional and physical difficulties. Many Christians battle depression, panic attacks, and other fruits of this root. I do believe there is deliverance from guilt in the Lord Jesus.
1. There was a Punishment for Your Sins
Sometimes we cannot grasp the concept that we have not suffered more for our sins. It is almost as though we condemn ourselves to perpetual torment because we feel that we deserve more. Truly, we are not excusing our sin as though it was “no big deal.” Our sin does demand Hell. Our sin does demand misery. Sin is always grievous.
What we must understand is that our sin was not just let go; it was not merely swept under the rug and forgotten. There was a great punishment for our sins, far worse than what you know you deserve. There were stripes, wounds, bruises, and chastisement for whatever is in your past. The wonderful news is that the punishment, though terrible, was not laid upon you. Jesus took your punishment. Whatever sin you committed that haunts you to this day, rejoice in that God received its payment on the back of His Son.
2. The Devil Seeks to Enslave People to Their Past
God works peace and joy in the lives of His children (Galatians 5:22-23). Yes, the Lord does convict men of their sin, but He does so that they might repent and turn to Him. In Him we find forgiveness and freedom. Once sin has been placed under the blood, it is no longer seen in the sight of God. He removes it from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).
It is the father of lies who accuses the brethren. It is Satan who seeks to clamp the past around your wrists like shackles. It is the Deceiver’s delight to take a person’s eyes off of the payment Jesus made and place his eyes on the sins of yesterday. Do not live in your past. Let God remind you of the sacrifice He made for you on Calvary. Calvary was enough.
3. Use Every Reminder of the Past as a Time to Thank God for Calvary
Perhaps you are at work, at home, at church, at school, or simply relaxing in the back yard when memories of yesterday haunt you. O, child of God, do not wallow in that guilt. Take a moment to thank God and praise Him for Calvary. Bless His holy name that Calvary covered it all. Let the grasp of faith carry you above the despair! When Satan whispers to you that your are wretched and vile, whisper to God, “Thank you,” that HE paid for the sins of one who is wretched and vile.
Child of God, you have been set free from sin’s penalty. You will not suffer for it, for Jesus did so. You are being set free from sin’s power. You have grace each day to abstain from sin; you are no longer its slave. You shall one day be set free from sin’s presence. When we go to be with the Lord, there will be no more sin with which to wrestle and ask forgiveness.
God is able to give you victory over your guilt. Yes, our sins were grievous. Yes our sins were terrible. Yes, we deserve Hell and all its torment. Yet, everything we deserve, Jesus bore. Sin no longer is my master; I am a new creature in Christ. I can cast my care – including my guilt – upon Him, for He cares for me.
Do you know someone who has been enslaved to their past?
Are you battling guilt and its effects in your life?
Do you believe that Jesus took the punishment you deserved?