Putting Down the Whip
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Have you ever heard the story of Martin Luther? As a young monk, Luther wanted nothing more than to please God. But, like the rest of us, he struggled with sin and fleshly lusts. His way of dealing with this problem was to severely discipline his body. He felt that if he mistreated his flesh, it would somehow make him more godly.
One day he took a trip to Rome to walk the 28 steps of Pilate’s Staircase, the Scala Santa (Holy Stairs). He climbed those stairs ON HIS KNEES. Surely this painful sacrifice would garner favor with God, right? As the pain grew and the blood flowed, he heard the voice of God say to him, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.” That revelation changed his life.
ARE YOU HURTING YOURSELF?
There are people today who still do hurtful things to their bodies thinking it will produce favor with God as they show Him they love Him. Some whip their backs until the blood flows to prove their love and atone for their sins. Others eat bland food, sleep on uncomfortable surfaces, and take a vow of silence. There are even some in The Philippines who endure an actual crucifixion every Good Friday to suffer for Jesus, show their commitment, and earn God’s favor. Can you image that?
Now I don’t suppose you are whipping your back over your sins, but are you beating yourself up nonetheless? Do you whip yourself emotionally, mentally and spiritually over the failures from the past? Lots of people say this to themselves, “I am such a bum and a scum and a loser. I committed this terrible, horrible sin. I am the worst! God must hate me. I hate me too.” Whip, whip, whip.
You know what? I have pulled out the emotional whip on MANY occasions and beat myself silly over past sins and past failures. Have you?
IT’S CALLED GRACE
Listen my friend, no matter what you have done, GOD DOES NOT HATE YOU. HE LOVES YOU! Jesus took all the scourging, all the spittle, all the humiliation, and all the nails. He died for you and me, and “by His stripes we are healed.” He paid for all your sins and mine when He died on the cross. No matter how terrible the sin, we do not need to live under the whip of guilt and shame and condemnation because “there is therefore NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” All the wrath of God fell on Jesus. The moment we receive Him, we receive a FULL PARDON. It is truly amazing grace!!
If you are inclined to beat yourself up over past sins, STOP IT! If you have committed terrible sexual sin, or had an abortion, or hurt your family with tremendous selfishness, or betrayed a friend, or whatever, confess it to God. Get that sin out of your life and under Christ’s blood. Make necessary amends with those you have hurt, and put down the whip! Receive His grace and know that He does not have any condemnation for you, just a heart of love.
Perhaps you need to pray a prayer like this one today:
Dear God, I have been beating myself over _____________________ (name the sin). Lord, I have confessed it to you, but I still keep whipping myself over it. Today, I choose to put down the whip and believe your Word. Jesus, you died for that sin and shed YOUR blood, so I don’t have to shed mine. Thank you for forgiving me for ________________. I choose to believe your Word over my feelings – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1:9). Praise You, Lord! I am forgiven, clean and loved by You. I believe it and receive it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Jeff Schreve is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Texarkana, Texas. He and his wife Debbie have been married for over 20 years and are blessed with three wonderful girls. Jeff began From His Heart Ministries, a radio and television ministry, in January of 2005. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no salary from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast.