You hear the accusations, the criticisms, the condemnations that echo inside your head. Although the accusations are heavily laced with lies, it is the elements of truth and the diabolical logic that oppresses your thoughts, pierces your heart, and rips at the very fibers of your soul.
The accuser reminds you of sins and bondages of the past. He will try to rub your face in the struggles of the present. Here are the elements of truth, for you and I both have certain sins we are guilty of, as well as struggle with. The bits of truth are then laced with lies. “This is unforgivable!” “A real Christian would not do that!” “Grace covers most sins, but you need to try to earn back God’s love after this!” He thus tries to shatter hope for the future.
All of this is bad enough, but it is the diabolical, absolutely ruthless and relentless, apparent logic that would kill—were it not for God’s faithfulness! The accuser would have us believe that our sins, failures, and vileness is our very being and identity. That is, he would strip us of the image of God, albeit marred. He would not have us simply believe our sins are vile and profane, but that we are the very essence of vileness and profanity (i.e., we are not simply dirty, but we are in our very being dirt itself). To some, I suppose this all seems silly, but there are many who know exactly what I am talking about. The accuser can spin his lies in a way that can convince a person that not only are they sinful, but they are the very essence of the evil of sin.
If left to ourselves, we would be utterly helpless. In spite of the ruthless lies the accuser spins, our sins certainly would be cause to condemn us. However, we have One who has redeemed us, and who justifies us. It is vitally important to understand our justification is entirely His work—not ours!
In Zechariah, we read of the high priest, Joshua, who was accused mercilessly by Satan.
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord was standing by. ~ 3:1-5, (ESV)
Notice, the accusations were not entirely false. Joshua’s garments were, indeed, filthy. However, although Satan is the accuser, he is not the judge or jury—and he certainly does not have the last word! Joshua was incapable of cleansing himself, but it is Lord who stripped him of his filthy garments and replaced them with clean ones.
Similarly, when the prophet Isaiah witnessed the glory and holiness of the Lord, he became very aware of his sinfulness.
And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” ~ Isaiah 6:5-7
In this passage, the very presence and holiness of God brought to Isaiah awareness of his sin. Notice again, however, it was the Lord’s doing (yes, by means of an angel and hot coal) that purged the prophet’s lips. Isaiah was helpless to do this himself—just as we all are!
All of this is crucial to understand, especially when the evil one is accusing us. Satan’s accusations are only to confuse, condemn, and destroy. The Holy Spirit brings conviction—not to condemn but to bring us to Christ who redeems is by His shed blood. This is a tremendous difference!
Romans chapter 7, as well as Galatians 5:16-26 deals honestly with the internal struggle of every Christian. While Satan, who tirelessly accuses us (see Revelation 12:10), we have a Redeemer who is our Justifier. Romans 8:1 tells us that for every person who is in Christ, there is NO CONDEMNATION. Why?
For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. ~ (Romans 8:3-4)
Jesus took our sins upon Himself! While this does not give us license to sin, but it does give us hope when we do sin. Because of Jesus and His work on the cross, and His work in us, we can get back up. Ah, but what about our accuser? Oh, he is still going to accuse you and I. But we are also told:
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. ~ Romans 8:29-34
Who shall bring a charge against us? Oh, our accuser will try, for sure, but it is God who justifies us! Who will condemn us? Again, Satan will try, but it is Christ who died—and was raised— and continues to intercede for us!
Those whom the Son sets free are free, indeed—even from all condemnation. Look to Christ, dear one. For all those who are in Christ, no one, or thing, or situation can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (see Romans 8:37-39).