The Prison of the Past
Luke 4:16-21 Imagine a man named Dan who, after serving his full sentence of 20 years, has just received his prison release papers. Now, after two decades behind bars, he's going to taste freedom again! Before leaving, he makes a strange request: "Please take this cell door off its hinges and strap it to my back." The jailers comply, and the freed man spends the rest of his life in this condition.
Dan's story sounds ridiculous. Yet many of us carry around guilt like a prison door strapped to our back. Jesus Christ liberated us, but we have trouble leaving the old jail completely behind. The problem is that we don't believe God has really forgiven. I've often counseled Christians who say, "I pray every day for the Lord to forgive me!" When I point out that God has already covered their sin, I hear, "Yes, but . . . "
There is no "but." Either God forgives or He doesn't. If you've trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, then you are free of sin (Col. 1:14). The Lord promises that He will not hold our wrongs against us or even remember them (Heb. 10:17). No good can come of dredging up the old failures and sinful habits that He has put behind His back (Isa. 38:17). The Liberator has torn down the walls of your prison. So lay down your guilt and live free.
When God looks upon a believer, He sees a spirit washed clean of all sin. Don't allow guilt over past wrongdoing to hold you captive a second longer. Take God at His word, and believe that He has removed it from you as far as the east is from the west (Ps. 103:12).
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Some days it seems as if a spirit of anger is permeating the entire world. News stories of violence, road rage, and international discord fill the airwaves. If that were not enough, our families are also being torn apart by unresolved conflicts. Where do we turn for peace in this angry world?
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