PUTTING DOWN THE WHIP
"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
Have you heard the story of Martin Luther's conversion? 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 twenty-eight 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 Scripture changed his life.
ARE YOU HURTING YOURSELF?
There are people today who still do hurtful things to their bodies to show God they love Him, thinking it will somehow produce divine favor and acceptance. Some whip their backs until the blood flows to show forth their commitment and to 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 express their contrition. Can you imagine?
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 something like this to themselves, “I am such a bum, a scum, and a loser. Look at this terrible, horrible sin I committed. I am the absolute worst! God must hate me because I certainly do!” 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. In fact, 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, shame, and condemnation because “there is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” All the wrath of God the Father fell on Jesus the Son. The moment we receive Jesus, we receive a full and complete pardon. It is truly amazing grace!
If you are inclined to beat yourself up over past sins, let me give you two important words: 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. Agree with Him regarding the utter sinfulness and abomination of the act. 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 up 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 John 1:9). Praise You, Lord! I am forgiven, clean, and loved by You. I believe it and receive it. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Jeff Schreve,
From His Heart Ministries
Dr. Jeff Schreve believes that no matter how badly you may have messed up in life, God still loves you and has a wonderful plan just for you. From His Heart provides real truth, love and hope on over 700 radio stations each day, in 182 countries each week on TV, and is always available online. Pastor Jeff takes no income from this ministry. All donations go to furthering the broadcast outreach. As a listener/viewer supported ministry, we thank you for joining with us to help speak the truth in love to a lost and hurting world. Go to www.fromhisheart.org for more information.