In talking with people, women especially, one of the areas we seem to struggle with is wrestling our identity in Christ from that of our past. Whether it’s our own sins or those committed against us, they linger and cling like walking through a spider web we just can’t seem to be free of.
And the reaction is similar when those memories wash over our minds. The initial startle and repulse. The panicked swiping to remove it. The attempt to brush it off. The picking of each strand. Fearing those around us will get caught in it. And wondering if there is another one around the corner.
It’s not uncommon to pray that God remove those memories, even when we acknowledge He has made us free of even a scant trace, as they can be incessant to haunt us. And often, there is no shortage of those who will remind us of the former things.
But I’d like to offer a different reminder when those memories, or people, attempt to bind us. A Biblical one, Lord willing.
THE MEMORY OF OUR SIN OR OF OTHER’S SIN AGAINST US:
Is a testimony to the goodness of God.
“I will tell of your goodness; all day long I will speak of your salvation…” ~ Psalm 71:15
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” ~ Ephesians 2:1-10
Warns against repeating them.
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” ~ Romans 6:1-11
Demonstrates sanctification in our lives.
“For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” ~ Hebrews 10:14
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17
Provides an opportunity to humble ourselves before the Lord.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.” ~ 1 Peters 5:6
Provides the ability to identify with, empathize with, respond to and comfort others.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” ~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Reminds us of the Gospel.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. “ ~ 1 John 1:9.
Points us to Christ.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9
Enables us to point others to Christ.
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come!” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17
Reminds us of God’s grace and mercy.
“For I will be merciful to their wrongdoing, and I will never again remember their sins.” ~ Hebrews 8:12
Reminds us of God’s loving-kindness and patience.
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” ~ 2 Peter 3:9
Reminds us of God’s faithful and enduring love.
“…I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have continued to extend faithful love to you.” ~ Jeremiah 31:3
Reminds us He is a God of justice.
“The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty…” ~ Exodus 34:6-7a
“But the LORD sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice, and he judges the world with righteousness; he judges the peoples with uprightness.” ~ Psalm 9:7-8
Enables us to forgive because we have been forgiven.
“Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little. Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” ~ Luke 7:47-48
Reminds us to reflect on our assurance.
“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. ~ 1 John 5:13
Reminds us of our security in Him.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” ~ Deuteronomy 31:6
Reminds us that Christ was profoundly disgraced on behalf of His people and we now bear His righteousness.
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:21
Reminds us that His work in us may not be complete but it is effectual and eternal.
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” ~ Philippians 1:6
Though so much more could be offered when that web of memories ensnares our minds, but above all else Beloved, remember your Lord.
“Gentleness reflects how Jesus treats us. He came not to judge us – for who could stand? He came to be judged. He continues to treat us in our weakness and waywardness not with an iron fist, but with the firm grip of love. He does not manhandle us in our fears or sins or doubts or failures. He strives with us. He opens His arms to comfort us and uphold us. He is not safe. He is a warrior lion against His enemies. But He is a gentle Savior with those He loves.” ~ Pastor Stan Gale
Join us Saturday, June 1st, 2019 for our online book study of A Vine Ripened Life by Pastor Stan Gale.