Over the years I have met many people who have had a great struggle trying to forget their own past. In this part of this series, I would like to take some time to offer some Scriptural help to those who so often struggle with the despair that this torment brings. God’s Word does not leave us without the tools and weaponry needed to deal with this very common problem. Right in the center of the answer we once again find the most powerful Blood of Jesus.

Jesus tells us in John 10:10: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” Most of us understand that Satan is behind all of the killing, thieving, and every other evil we find on this earth. Many of God’s people however don’t always recognize that he is also the one who attempts to steal our recognition and acceptance of our total and eternal forgiveness for everything in our past. Because of this, many people live in despair because of the memories of the past. Unless these attacks of the enemy are driven off by the power of the Word of God and through the power of the Blood of Jesus, we slip into depression, mental anguish, and even thoughts of suicide can present themselves. The Bible calls Satan the “accuser of the brethren.”

I was acquainted with a man some years back who had served in the United States Armed Forces. After he completed his time in the American military, he also served some years as a mercenary. Years later, and during the time when he and I became acquainted, he eventually became a follower of Jesus Christ. I met with him quite often, both before and after he gave his life into the hands of the Messiah. One of the things he struggled with had to do with the things he had done in his past. He would make comments like: “You don’t know what I have done in my past! I was not the typical sinner! How can God forget the evil that I can’t even forget?”

One big mistake we tend to make, is to categorize sins. I recognize that God especially labels some sins as “abominations” but in the sight of God, sin is still sin. Even the little minor sins separate us from a Holy God. The famous evangelist, the late R. A. Torrey put it like this: “If we could see our past as God sees it before it is washed, the record of the best of us would be black, black, black. But if we are walking in the light, submitting to the truth of God, believing in the light, in Christ, our record today is as white as Christ’s garments were when the disciples saw Him on the Mount of Transfiguration.”

Since we know that the enemy of our souls is going to attack us at our weakest points, we need to be prepared with a response. In Leviticus 17:11 we find the words: “for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” It is at this very point we need to understand the work of the cross which removes “dead works” from our conscience. A reminder of what is recorded in Hebrews 9:13-15 is in order here:

For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered Himself from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Before the sacrifice of blood is made, we are all guilty, guilty, guilty! As was explained earlier, it is not just the individual acts of sin that we need to be cleansed of. The greater problem is that since the fall in the Garden of Eden, we have all been born into sin. It is carried from generation to generation through the bloodline. After blood has been applied, there is freedom. Before the supreme sacrifice by Messiah Jesus, it was only a temporary “covering up” of the sins until the next required sacrifice had been offered. Since the death and resurrection of our Messiah 2,000 years ago however, sin is not just covered up, but eradicated, completely removed from remembrance! As humans, this is a difficult–if not a near impossible concept. A comment we hear made by people that have been wronged is this: “I will forgive, but I will never forget!” What the “forgiver” is really saying is, “I will verbally say that I am going to forgive you, but I reserve the right to keep the memory of what you have done in my soul, and hold it against you until I think you have suffered enough to satisfy me.” God’s forgiveness is nothing like that! When He forgives sin, it is eradicated–never to be remembered by Him again! Below, I have printed out a number of Scriptures that express the extent of God’s forgiveness.

Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:18-19)

What shall I say? He has both spoken to me, and He Himself has done it, I shall walk carefully all my years in the bitterness of my soul. O Lord, by these things men live; and in all these things is the life of my spirit; so You will restore me and make me live. Indeed it was for my own peace that i had great bitterness; but You have lovingly delivered my soul from the pit of corruption, for You have cast all my sins behind Your back. (Isaiah 38:15-17)

I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins, Put Me in remembrance; Let us contend together; state your case, that you may be acquitted. (Isaiah 43:25-26)

Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah–not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the  day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt. My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the  house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God. and they shall by My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, “Know the LORD,” for they all shall know me, from the  least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more. (Jeremiah 31: 31-34)

Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the  transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:18-19)

Is there any question about God’s attitude about His forgiveness of our sins? I really don’t think so! Yet, there are some who would say, “You just gave some Old Testament Scriptures. How about the New Testament and the New Covenant?”  Okay, I can do that. Here are some Scriptures from the New Testament.

But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and then the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe, for there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His Blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in his forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:21-26)

For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His Blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by  His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. (Romans 5:6-11)

A. Torrey also helps us to understand the difference between forgiveness and justification. He said this: “In forgiveness we are stripped of the vile and stinking rags of our sins; in justification we are clothed upon with the glory and beauty of Christ.” All of us, if we really get a true picture of the condition we are in before God’s intervention in our lives with our legacy of sin and unseen corruption, will be unable to settle for just the removal of the stinking sin in our lives. We will most willingly welcome the glory and beauty of Jesus Christ to fill in the void after the sewage that has been forever removed! If we don’t see that contrast, one has to question if the “salvation” experience we experienced was for real! Ponder and meditate on this. In order to truly understand the gravity and necessity for a person to receive forgiveness from Jesus, it is of course imperative that we understand Who He really was. If He was not really who He claimed to be, He was either mentally ill, or the greatest deceiver that ever lived. If He was Who He said He was, then every single human being that has ever lived, and ever will live, must hear what He had to say and then must answer to Him! There is no middle ground, because He was, is, and always will be…GOD.

In Maxwell Whyte’s book, “The Power of the Blood”, he gives his thoughts about the day when  Jesus was crucified. I felt it well worth including in this article. Here is what he had to say:

Imagine, if you can, the scene at Calvary. No artist has ever pictured the Calvary scene as it really was. It would be too repulsive to paint on any canvas. It is doubtful that the Romans left Jesus even the courtesy of a loincloth. He became as the first Adam in the garden, that He might cover his own nakedness with His own precious Blood–not even a linen cloth to spoil the type. In turn, we may cover our nakedness with his precious Blood–a perfect atonement or covering indeed! We cannot even offer a convenient loincloth or fig leaf to hide our sins; we must divest ourselves of everything and appear destitute of all covering in His presence. Then He will give us His own blessed robe of righteousness after we have accepted the cleansing of His precious Blood. A glorious truth indeed!

The crown of thorns was then put upon His head, not gently but roughly; many thorns (maybe a dozen or more), one-and-a-half inches long, jabbed into his scalp, producing such serious wounds that trickles of Blood spurted out and ran into his hair and beard, matting both in dark red.The spikes were driven into the palms of His hands, and His Blood coursed down His arms and sides. “Later the spear was thrust into His side and His Blood spilled out and ran down the sides of the cross onto the ground beneath.) Spikes were also driven through his feet and more blood ran down the sides of the cross on behalf of the sins of the whole world.

His bones were out of joint. (See Psalm 22) His face was dreadful to look upon. There was no beauty in Him that we should desire Him (Isaiah 53:2). God gave His best, His Son, His perfect sacrifice–and even in death, there was no blemish in Him, for He was already dead when the soldiers arrived to break His legs; therefore, not a bone of him was broken. Those who looked on Him saw only blood. It was a spectacle of blood. His hair and beard were soaked in His own blood. His back was lacerated from the thirty-nine stripes and was covered with His own blood. Even the cross was covered with blood, and the very earth was soaked. Every type of the atonement was fulfilled in Christ. It was blood, blood, blood.

And…this is only a glimpse into what really happened on that day. Isaiah 52:14 tells us that “His visage was marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men…” when Jesus died on the cross that day, not only did He carry the sins of the entire world with Him, but also all of the effects of the curse. I believe that in the time He was hanging on the cross, He bore the effects of every disease of mankind. Imagine for yourself a man having cancer, leprosy, smallpox, polio, muscular dystrophy, and every other disease that has been experienced by the human race being put on Him in those last moments before He released His spirit. This would certainly leave a body nearly beyond recognition! Original readings of the Scriptures say that He was so disfigured that one could hardly tell it was a man hanging on that cross. Why is this all so very important? Because, in human history, there has been an increasing number of supposed messiahs or prophets that have come on the scene of the human race claiming to have a religion that people should follow. Which one has ever died for the entire human race? Which one has ever risen from the dead? Only the One who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” His life, His death, His resurrection, and His identity as the Almighty, All-knowing, and Everywhere Present GOD must be reckoned with!

Is it not fascinating that the birth, life, and death of Jesus Christ became the center point between the Old world and the New? As ferociously as modern man would like to rewrite how the calendar is written, still today anything before the year “0” is called “B.C.”, or “Before Christ”, and anything after the year “0” has always been labeled, “In the year of our Lord…!” Why is that? Now, I fully realize that this is in the process of being changed, but, as far as I am concerned, I’d rather stick to what has been the norm for two millennia. Whether it was understood or not, God seems to have seen fit to divide history at the year -0-, and it all had to do with the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ!

It is obvious that there has been confusion about the true date of the birth of Jesus Christ. This naturally puts question on the date of His crucifixion, yet, it is quite obvious that the life of this “Son of Man / Son of GOD” affected history in nothing less than the greatest way. Both secular and religious historians of the time, 2,000 years ago, could do nothing less than acknowledge His uniqueness, if not His actual Divinity. Pilate certainly did! Secular Roman as well as Jewish historians could not explain the impact of this one life. An author named Ken Blanchard wrote a famous essay called “One Solitary Life” which I have chosen to include here.

 

One Solitary Life

Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher.

He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself.

While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. When He was dead, he was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

Nineteen centuries have come and gone, and today He is a centerpiece of the human race and leader of the column of progress.

I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built, all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life.

When the Word of God makes the claim that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of mankind, He stands above all others, no matter what claims they make. He stands there alone! Not only did He die for the sins of the entire population of the world, past, present, and future, but He alone also has the right to stipulate how sin is forgiven. Since He has laid out how sin is forgiven, He also has the power to follow through with the forgiveness He has provided. When He says sin is forgiven, it is forgiven! Forever! There is not a power on earth or in hell itself that can condemn the one that has bowed the knee before Messiah Jesus, asked His forgiveness, and accepted His Lordship in his life! Thank GOD! Colossians 1:19-23 puts it in these words:

For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight–if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.

Now that we have experienced forgiveness, it is our privilege to be involved in the restoration and forgiveness of others. I will end with 2 Corinthians 5:17-21:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their tresspasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us; we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Praise God for freedom from inbred sin, the curse, and the power to combat the forces of evil allied against us as Christ followers. And, it is all through the Blood of Jesus.

Jake Geier

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