Just as God annihilated the sin-filled cities of Sodom and Gomorrah he has also annihilated the ‘sinful city’ of our former life. The world in which we lived before our rebirth into the body of Christ is no more. And with its destruction went our sins. “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12 NIV)
We have been justified, washed and called for a purpose. However, Satan, the Adversary, accuse the saints of God daily. He accuses us to our face and he accuses us before God. Yet God has given us the authority to withstand Satan’s accusations and the strength to resist his attempts to make us resurrect the sins of our past. It is imperative that we accept and embrace God’s full forgiveness; looking back keeps us from going forward and hinders our efforts in seeking after the heart of the Father.
When God sent his angels to Sodom and Gomorrah he sent them for the sake of one man and his family. The offensive smell of sin had reached heaven and God had determined to remove the source of the offense, but first he had to move his chosen out of harm’s way.
Thus Lot and his family received angelic instruction to flee to the safety of the mountain with a strict warning to not turn back again lest they be destroyed.
Genesis 19:24-26 Amplified
24 Then the Lord rained on Sodom and on Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of the heavens.
25 He overthrew, destroyed, and ended those cities, and all the valley and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.
What an image! God completely wiped out the city, its inhabitants and even the vegetation! Not one dust particle remained to give testament to the cities of sin. When God cleans house, he doesn’t leave a trace of residue behind. What a victory, what a testament to God’s redeeming power. If the story had ended there it would certainly make for a perfect ending, unfortunately it continues with…
26 But [Lot’s] wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.
No one but God will ever know why Lot’s wife looked back.
However, the act of looking back is one known to many in the Body of Christ and the world at large. We make mistakes, have regrets and wish that we’d made better choices. The refrain of, ‘if only I’d known then what I know now,’ has been sung many times over.
God told Cain, “…sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” (Gen 4:6-7 NIV) We can’t control where we’ve been, we can only continue from where we are now and commit to standing firm against the accusations of the past and the pressure to return. To linger in regret opens the door to Satan and gives him an opportunity to come in and to accuse and to tempt us back unto destruction. God gave us the ability to ‘rule over it’ with the power of the Holy Spirit. Sin may look for an entry point but it’s up to us to bar its entry. Receiving God’s forgiveness and his Holy Spirit gives us the means to do just that.
The angel asked Mary, “Is there anything too hard for God?” Do you believe His love for you? Do you believe that He’s capable of doing anything? There is no sin so vile He can’t forgive. No sin for which his blood is not strong enough to cleanse.
The Almighty God set aside his royal crown, clothed himself in sinful flesh and came to live and walk among men as a man for thirty three years. Although Jesus was without sin, he sentenced himself to bare the sins of all who had ever lived in the world and all those who would live until the end of time. Take a moment to consider that. Every rapist, murderer, pedophile, liar, thief, fornicator, witch-worker, back-biter, brawler and on and on – God took every instance of every sin for every living and dead human being who existed through the ages.
Beloved, when Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane it was not the idea of the physical pain that drove him to his knees to entreat the Father to remove the bitter cup from him: it was the weight of the world’s sin that he would have to bare.
When he took on the sins of the world he did so with me and you in mind. He bared the agony, the shame and the filth of sin – he bared the taunts and ridicule, he bared the separation from the Father – all for me, all for you.
What great love! What great purpose! God Almighty has purpose in mind – for me, for you.
God first conceived us in his mind. He knew our name eons before we were born. He knew our weaknesses, our failings, he foresaw all the times we would question him, all the times we would rail against him and all the times we would fall away, yet he formed our bodies in the secret places of the earth, he shaped our destiny and called us forth.
That my sister, my brother is who God is! God’s love for us transcends the iniquity of our sins. His great love staggers the limitations of the human mind.
After Jesus had died on the cross and rose the third day he arose with all power and…he gave it to us! Along with power he gave us forgiveness and a chance to receive the transforming power of the Holy Spirit – the Comforter!
He did not ask for our first born child to receive this great gift – he only asked that we believe and receive.
This is proof that we were all born with purpose; no one was born to simply take up space. We were born to be united with God, to be transformed into the image of his son Jesus Christ. If we believe in Him and accept his love God will come in like a cool, refreshing tide and just as he did with Sodom and Gomorrah, he will completely annihilate the sin in our lives, the shame, the regret and the strongholds – right down to the finest particle of guilt!
Romans 8:28-30 (NIV)
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
God did not endure the agony of the cross and the separation from the Father only to see me shrink back in shame and regret. He did not yield up his life for us to yield up our liberty to Satan! Oh no, he endured so that we would walk in victory and in the surety of his great love for us.
Scripture says Satan accuses the saints day and night; he’s always trying to drag our past before the altar of grace but it’s all in vain!
Zechariah 3:1-2 Amplified
Then [the guiding angel] showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at Joshua’s right hand to be his adversary and to accuse him.
2 And the Lord said to Satan, The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! Even the Lord, Who [now and habitually] chooses Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this [returned captive Joshua] a brand plucked out of the fire?
Glory to God! Beloved before Satan can even open his mouth the Lord rebukes him! Our God has declared that he not only chose us, but he habitually [or continually] chooses us! Over and over and over again God chooses us!
Think about that! Every time we’ve pulled out into traffic and should have been hit but wasn’t – he chose us. Every time we’ve lied and God forgave us – he chose us. Every time we should have died and didn’t – he chose us! Every time the enemy would have destroyed us – God chose us!
The Lord declared, “Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?” Beloved of God, he saved us, just as he did Lot and his family, in the nick of time. When we should have been destroyed, he reached into the fire, down into the pit we’d dug for ourselves and plucked us out! Hallelujah! God saved us in the nick of time and on time. Why? Because we have purpose! Because we’ve been forgiven and the Spirit of the Most High God lives on the inside! What great love and what a great God!
Would you suffer through trial after trial, railings and accusations, pain and separation for someone you did not love? If not then why would God?! Jesus loves me this I know for the bible (the Word of God) tells me so. Beloved he didn’t just pluck us out of the fire, he cleaned us up and gave us knew garments to wear, robes free from sin and shame.
Zechariah 3:3-10 Amplified
3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and was standing before the Angel [of the Lord].
4 And He spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And He said to [Joshua], Behold, I have caused your iniquity to pass from you, and I will clothe you with rich apparel.
5 And I [Zechariah] said, Let them put a clean turban on his head. So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with [rich] garments. And the Angel of the Lord stood by.
6 And the Angel of the Lord [solemnly and earnestly] protested and affirmed to Joshua, saying,
7 Thus says the Lord of hosts: If you will walk in My ways and keep My charge, then also you shall rule My house and have charge of My courts, and I will give you access [to My presence] and places to walk among these who stand here.
God has promised that we would have free access to his presence; he would attend unto our every plea and that we would walk in heavenly places – all we need do is to receive his promise and abide in him.
I don’t know about you brothers and sisters but I was plucked from the fire and I won’t turn back! No, never again will I look back. Not in regret and not in desire. I am marching onward and upward, ever seeking after the heart of the Father.
Won’t you join me? We don’t have to walk alone and we don’t have to walk in the dark. The word of God is a lamp unto our path; it will show us the way and brighten the dark places in our lives as we share the Gospel, the truth that sets men free.
Satan can’t stand the light of God’s Word. Why? Because it reveals him to be what he is – the Father of lies. He may crouch at the door, but he can’t get in unless we allow him entry. We do not have to listen when he accuses us. He wants us to believe we have no purpose, no hope and no future with God. He wants us to believe that God didn’t choose us. But Jesus said, “You didn’t choose me, I chose you.”
So you see, when Satan says, “You’re guilty.” We can respond with confidence and declare, “I am Free!” For whom the Son sets free is free indeed!
When Satan says, “You’re filthy and no one wants you.” We can proclaim, “I was washed in the blood of the Lamb. Jesus chose me and he chooses me habitually!”
Romans 8:31-32 (NIV)
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
The Lord told Satan when you lie you speak your native language. Thus we must say what Paul said, “…I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” (2 Timothy 1:12 (NKJV)
Satan can spit and fight but we have to decide once and for all who we’re going to believe. I choose to believe the one who saved me, the one who chooses me again and again. Finally beloved, let us put our past firmly behind us, place our hands to the plow and press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus! God is able and will keep what we have committed to Him until that Day.
A Scripture for Reflection: