by Founding Pastor Rick Duncan
This past weekend, Josh Stone delivered an excellent message to young adults. I heard a lot of older adults saying that they thought the message was good for them, too. In the message, Josh pointed out the dangers of sexual sin. He said, “Establish your boundaries and flee from temptation.”
But what do we do if we have already sinned? How do we deal with failure so that we don’t end up giving up?
It’s so sad and so unnecessary when we sin and then say, “I guess I’m just a second-rate believer and I’ll never be much for God.” And Satan uses the guilt of our sin to neutralize us.
At CVC, we seek to help our people learn to fight against sin. As John Owen said, “Be killing sin or sin will be killing you.”
But many of us have fallen. And Satan has been accusing us: “See, you’re a loser. Just drop out of sight. The people around you know you’re a hypocrite. So, quit playing games with God. You don’t follow Him well. Just give up.”
I’ve certainly been there. And so have you. What do we do with such thoughts?
I once heard a message John Piper preached at a Passion gathering for young adults. Piper is a pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minnesota. Piper was seeking to help young adults learn how to hang onto their dreams of serving Christ even when they had fallen into sexual sin.
In the message, Piper taught through two verses from Micah. His words were deeply moving to me. These truths can help us deal with the guilt of not only sexual failure, but any sinful failure.
Micah 7:8-9 gives us words to say to our enemy when he accuses us of sin.
Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me. He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon his vindication. Micah 7:8-9 (ESV)
When the devil or anyone else accuses you, or even when you accuse yourself saying, “Christ can’t use you because you’ve sinned too much. You’re a loser,” here’s what you say. As Piper did, let’s look at the verses phrase-by-phrase.
“Rejoice not over me, O my enemy.”
You’re laughing at me because I sinned… again? You think I’m going to stop living for Jesus because you’re making fun of me? You think to cause me pain by mocking me? That’s not stopping me.
“When I fall, I shall rise.”
Yes, I fell. And I hate what I did. I’m sorry that I fell and dishonored Jesus. I regret that I fell and hurt the people I love. But listen…I will rise.
“When I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.”
Yes, because of my sin, I am sitting in darkness. I feel miserable. I feel guilty… because I am guilty. But even in the darkness of my guilt, the Lord has promised to be a light to me. He has not forsaken me.
“I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against him.”
Yes. I’ve sinned. And the Lord is indignant because of my sin. But that’s not all.
“He pleads my cause and executes judgment for me.”
The very One who is indignant with me pleads my cause. You say He is against me and that I have no future with Him because of my sin? That’s a lie. Jesus was judged in my place for me. The Father executed judgment on the Son for me. Even though I have sinned, He’s not against me. He’s for me.
“He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon his vindication.”
I’ll sit in this darkness as long as He wants. But I know this for sure, because Jesus took my sin and gave me His righteousness, He will bring me to the light. I don’t have to vindicate myself. Vindication is His. Jesus will vindicate me. Jesus will acquit me. Jesus will clear my name.
And I love this quote…
“O my brothers and sisters, when you learn to deal with the guilt of…failure with this kind of brokenhearted boldness… this kind of gutsy guilt, this kind of unshakable position that you have in the crucified, risen, invincible king Jesus Christ—when you learn to deal with the guilt of… failure this way, you will fall less often. Because Christ will become increasingly precious to you.” John Piper
Wow! What a stunning application of truth! I want to live and think and fight the guilt of my sin this way. May CVC be filled with a people who refute the accusations of the enemy with this kind of unshakable confidence in the grace of God in Christ. Truly, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Thank You, Lord Jesus, for the cross. Your cross and resurrection changes everything!
Question: After you have fallen to sin, how do you fight against an immobilizing self-condemnation and self-loathing?