The power of sin to hold us captive is like the story of little Johnny visiting his grandparents on their farm.
Johnny was given a slingshot to play with out in the woods. He practiced shooting rocks, but he could never hit the target. Discouraged, he headed back inside for lunch.
As he returned to his grandma’s backyard, he spied her pet duck. Impulsively he took aim and hit the duck square in the head and killed it. Johnny panicked and hid the duck in the woodpile, only to look up and see his sister, Sally, watching.
After lunch that day Grandma said, “Sally, let’s wash the dishes.” But Sally responded, “Grandma. Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen today, didn’t you Johnny?” And then she whispered to him. “Remember the duck!”
So Johnny did the dishes. What choice did he have?
Later Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing, and Grandma said, “I’m sorry, but I need Sally to help me make supper.” But, Sally smiled and said, “Well, that’s all right because Johnny told me he wanted to help.”
And she whispered again, “Remember the duck!” So, Sally went fishing and Johnny stayed at the house!
After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and Sally’s, he finally could not stand it any longer. He came up to his grandmother and confessed that he killed the duck.
She knelt down, gave him a hug and said, “Sweetheart, I know. You see, I was standing at the window and I saw the whole thing. It does my heart good to see you admit your wrong and because I love you, I forgive you. But I was wondering how long you would let Sally make a slave of you.”
Too many Christians are like little Johnny. They are trying to hide their sins. Deny their faults. Or cover their tracks. But the fact is we all sin. Even Christians. We’re not perfect. But we’re pardoned.
The Apostle John reminds us that “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (I Jn 1:8).
The problem is we know we’ve sinned. And also our accuser, the Devil, knows it too. He’s whispering in our ear, “Remember the duck?”
“Remember that lie you told?”
“Remember that lustful look?”
“Remember that angry outburst?”
“Remember that deceptive business deal?”
“Remember that jealous tirade?”
“Remember that web site?”
Satan desires to enslave us. To keep us in bondage. To fill us with fear. And to burden us with guilt.
But the fact is God already knows about our sin. He’s seen it. And yet, in spite of our transgression, love us anyway. He seeks our genuine repentance. And is willing to offer us forgiveness.
John further instructs, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1Jn. 1:9)
He’s wondering how long we will allow Satan to make us his slave? When will we come clean? When will we say, “I have enough.” When will we quit listening to the accuser of the brethren?
When will we freely accept God’s offer of grace and forgiveness? “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Rom 8:1).
When we let go of Satan’s stronghold over us we can ask, like Paul, with rhetorical boldness “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
“Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect?”
“Who is he who condemns?”
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”
No one. And nothing. Not even Satan himself.
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:31-39).
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman