Revive Our Hearts Podcast

You Can Be Free From Sin

Leslie Basham: You can’t commit a sin too big for God to forgive. Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss with an example.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: God cannot restore your virginity, if you’ve given that away, but God can and He will restore virtue, if you’re willing to come to Him in repentance and humility, crying out to Him for mercy. It’s the blood of Christ that will restore that to you.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts, with Nancy Leigh DeMoss, for Friday, April 5.

Nancy’s in a series called, "Lies Women Believe about Sin."

Nancy: In the break just before this session, one of the women came to me and, with tears in her eyes, said, “I believe that God has forgiven me, but every day I still have to live with the painful reminders of my sin.” There are issues in her life, as in many of our lives, that have not only affected us, but have affected our family members and those that we love and others as well.

Let me comment on that sense of being overwhelmed with the weight of those daily, painful reminders of our sin. First of all, we looked yesterday at the apostle Paul and the past that he had as a persecutor and a blasphemer. Don’t you think Paul lived with those constant reminders of his past, his sin, and what he had done to the families of godly men who’d been martyred for their faith?

We need to remember that God is a God who is able to redeem even the failures caused by our sin. The blood of Jesus Christ is sufficient, not only to cover our sin, but to redeem the lives of those who are affected by our sin. Now, this is not ever to get us to diminish the seriousness of our sin.

By the way, it’s not wrong to grieve and to mourn over how your sin has affected others. If we don’t mourn in that way, at times, then perhaps we’ve never seen the seriousness of our sin. But some of us have seen that seriousness and are having a hard time getting up from the weight of that sin because of how others have been impacted.

Remember that the same God who is in the process of redeeming your life from destruction is also at work in the lives of your children, your grandchildren, your mate, and others who have been affected. They have opportunity to find the grace and the mercy and the covering of Christ’s blood as you have had, for sins that were perhaps not of their own doing—maybe sins with consequences that you caused for them.

Of course, I’m assuming that you’ve gone back to those who have been affected, confessed your sin to them, and sought their forgiveness. But there are some of those marks that are left that become ongoing reminders of how my sin has left marks in the lives of others.

Let me remind you that the Scripture promises that the grace of God is able to restore. You haven’t seen the final chapter yet. If you could redeem your children or your mate or your family members or others from those circumstances that you brought into their life, you would—but you can’t.

The fact is, God can redeem. He can overcome and overrule the losses that have been occasioned and caused by our sins in the lives of others. It all goes back to the power of Calvary—the power of the love and the grace and the blood of Christ.

I read to you earlier this week, a letter from a woman who said she'd struggled since failing morally as a teenager, to experience the forgiveness of God. For decades she lived with this burden of confessing but never feeling forgiven. As God began to show my friend His forgiveness and the power of the blood of Christ. Here’s what she said.

God has let me see that His virtue is what will allow me to be virtuous; that purity can be anyone’s when we let His purity take root in our hearts.

Her failure . . . His virtue . . . makes her virtuous. Let me say to those who have failed morally, God cannot restore your virginity if you’ve given that away, but God can and He will restore virtue, if you are willing to come to Him in repentance and humility, crying out to Him for mercy. It’s the blood of Christ that will restore that to you.

I shared with you also in an earlier session about the woman who’d had an abortion and said, “How could I forgive myself? All these twenty-seven years I have felt I couldn’t pay the debt that I owed.” She came to a conference where God met her and showed her His power to forgive, the power of Calvary. She said,

I have released my life to God now, and I am receiving His forgiveness. Instead of shame, I now have godly sorrow. All those years ago, I put a tight seal on my heart. I swore that I would never allow myself to love again. Now God is prying off that seal.

[Listen to what happens next.] Now I’m free to love again and let others love me.

You see, when you become a recipient of God’s grace, when you receive His love and forgiveness, then you can become a channel of God’s grace and forgiveness into the lives of others.

She closed by saying, “The stronghold is gone. You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” God has granted through Christ a pardon—a full and complete pardon for our sins. But we need to remember that in order to be experienced, that pardon has to be not only granted, it has to be accepted.

Years ago, during the presidency of Andrew Jackson, there was a postal clerk named George Wilson who robbed a Federal payroll from a train and in the process killed a guard. The court convicted him and sentenced him to die. However, at that time there was a lot of public feeling against capital punishment, and so a movement began to get the President to pardon George Wilson.

Eventually, President Jackson did intervene, and he pardoned this postal clerk. But amazingly, George Wilson refused to accept the pardon. Since this had never happened before, the case went to the Supreme Court. They were asked to decide if it possible for someone to refuse a presidential pardon.

The court’s decision was handed down, and here’s what it read: “A pardon is a parchment whose only value must be determined by the receiver of the pardon. It has no value apart from that which the receiver gives to it. George Wilson has refused to accept the pardon. We cannot conceive why he would do so, but he has. Therefore, George Wilson must die.”

The Supreme Court had declared that a pardon must not only be granted, it must also be accepted. I wonder how many of us are refusing to accept the pardon the God of the universe has issued to us through Jesus Christ? The penalty’s been paid, the sacrifice has been made. “It is finished!” Jesus said, as He died on Calvary.

The price for sin has been paid, yet we are languishing, overwhelmed, burdened, pressed down with a sense of our guilt and our unworthiness. We are refusing to receive the pardon that God has extended to us. If we refuse to accept that pardon, we will not experience the freedom and the release of that pardon.

Several years ago I was privileged to be a participant in a meeting of several thousand full-time Christian workers where God met with us in a great way in personal and corporate revival. It was interesting during the period of several days how God moved in that place in deep conviction of sin.

There was a lot of public confession of sin but also a lot of one-on-one confession. There was a spirit and a sense of heaviness as the Holy Spirit weighed down on our hearts in conviction and confession of sin. But it’s interesting to me, as I reflect back on those days, that one of the songs that was sung most frequently during that period of time, and was sung with such great release and freedom as people broke through into God’s forgiveness, was a song called "White as Snow."

Maybe you’re familiar with that little chorus:

Though my sins be as scarlet,
Lord I know that I’m clean and forgiven by the power of Your love. 
Through the cleansing of Your blood,
By faith in Christ I know I can be white as snow.

We’ve heard for years, many of us, that old gospel song,

Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me;
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee;
O Lamb of God I come, I come.

My invitation to those in this room today who may be weighed down by a sense of burden and guilt over past sin, past failure, is to come, receive His pardon. The pardon’s been granted.

You say, “I don’t feel like I deserve to be forgiven.” You’re right, you don’t. I don’t deserve to be forgiven. The wonder of Calvary is that the pardon has been granted for undeserving, fallen, hell-bent sinners, who had no right to any of the mercy or grace of God. In Christ, the Lamb of God, He has poured out that cleansing.

Just as I am and waiting not,
To rid my soul of one dark blot.
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot;
O Lamb of God I come, I come.

Just as I am Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God I come, I come.

Leslie: That’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss. She’s been showing us the power of the gospel over our sin. That message is part of a series called, "Lies Women Believe About Sin." Today’s lie? “God can’t forgive what I’ve done.”

Nancy writes about lies that tempt us about sin . . . and about many other lies we hear all the time. The book is called is called, Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free. All week we’ve been offering to send you a copy when you support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size.

Get the details at ReviveOurHearts.com, or call 1-800-569-5959.

We’ve been looking at lies women believe about sin. We’ve been exploring the power of the truth to set you free from lies that ensnare you. But why do we fall for lies in the first place? As we close this series, we’re going to explore that question. Nancy’s going to show you how to avoid bondage before you get tangled up in lies.

Nancy: When we end up in bondage, it’s usually because we’ve been following a progression. It didn’t start out as bondage. You may have a food addiction or a moral issue that you struggle with or a temper problem—as one woman shared with me recently. She’s really battling anger issues.

It may be a matter of worry or fear or anxiety or overspending. Any of these areas of bondage didn’t happen overnight. We didn’t start out in bondage. It happened as a result of a progression. We’re considering how the truth can set us free and how Satan uses deception to put us in bondage. I want us to consider the progression—the steps—that lead us into bondage.

It starts so simply. I want to suggest that the beginning place that ends up putting us in bondage, is when we start by listening to a lie. Eve’s first mistake was not eating the fruit. Her first mistake was listening to the serpent . . . listening to someone who was giving her advice contrary to the Word of God. And that’s where we make our first mistake, isn’t it?

We listen to, we receive input and counsel into our lives that is not true. It’s deceptive. And the problem is that Satan doesn’t usually come to us in the form of a serpent, as he did to Eve. By the way, that makes me think this is why most of us, as women, don’t like snakes. I do think it probably goes back to that first experience that a woman had with a snake.

But when Satan comes to us, he comes in much more subtle forms. If Satan would come as they have him pictured in some historic paintings, we would be alert, and we would know to stay away from him. The problem is, Satan comes disguised as a New York Times bestseller, or as a popular magazine article, as a movie, in a TV show, as a Top Ten hit song.

He comes disguised through the counsel you’ll hear on a lot of popular talk shows and through some talk show hosts. Sometimes he can come even in the form of an evening news anchor. We’re hearing things that seem so right, seem rational, seem to make sense, but it’s Satan’s counsel disguised in ways that we are more prone to swallow.

In fact, he could come in other ways. Sometimes he comes through the counsel of a relative or a friend. I was talking this week with a woman who’s contemplating divorcing her husband, and she said her parents are the ones who are encouraging her in this direction. They want to take care of her financially, but they would feel better about doing that if she weren’t married to this man.

She said, “I don’t really think this is what I should do,” [divorcing her husband], but she’s getting counsel from well-meaning friends and relatives. I said, “I can understand how your parents might feel that way naturally—they’ve got a protective instinct—but they’re giving you counsel that is contrary to the Word of God.” That’s how we get deceived.

That deception of Satan may come in the form of sincere counsel that comes from a friend; it may come through a therapist or a counselor, or even a Christian author or preacher or counselor. You say, “Not a Christian author! Certainly I wouldn’t be deceived. Can’t I know if I walk in a Christian bookstore that what I pick up there is going to be the truth?” Oh, that it were true!

Much of what you will find in a Christian bookstore is truth, but everything we read, everything we hear, needs to be filtered through the Word of God. Everything you hear in these sessions you need to take back to the Scripture.

I was speaking recently at a conference. A woman came up to me at the end of the first session and she said, “You made this point, but you didn’t give us a reference for it, and I’m committed to searching out everything I hear from the Word of God. Can you tell me where that is in the Bible?”

At that moment, I wasn’t sure of the exact reference. I said, “I’ll have to go find it. We’ll give it to you by tomorrow.” But I’m thankful for women like that who say, “I’m not just going to buy into what any Christian speaker says to me.” You can go to women’s conferences and hear counsel that is not according to truth.

Everything you hear you need to weigh according to the Word of God. When you hear these lies, you need to remember, there is no such thing as a harmless lie. There is no insignificant type of deception.

Not too long ago I saw the end of a Hallmark movie. So many of those are so beautiful, but I was really distressed to see the way that this particular story concluded. A woman who was in a difficult life situation with a difficult marriage ended up dumping her husband and marrying, instead, someone who’d been a kind, compassionate part of her life through this whole ordeal.

When I tell it to you that way, it sounds terrible that she would do this, but I bet some of you saw the same movie. Did you find yourself feeling compassion toward this woman and the choices she was making? It seemed so sad that she should have to stay married to this man who had been so unfair and unjust to her.

You find your heart going out to a woman in distress and thinking how nice that she can have a man who will really take care of her. But I said to the person who was watching the end of this TV movie with me, “That is deception. A whole nation of women and men were just deceived into thinking that you’re better off leaving your husband, breaking your vows, and finding a second mate.” By the way, second marriages have a higher divorce rate than even first marriages.

Nobody talked about the likely problems with stepparents, step in-laws, stepchildren. They didn’t talk about the long-term likely consequences of this choice she was making. It was framed in such a positive way. There is danger when we listen to these lies, when we take in this kind of input.

Remember, the source of every lie is Satan. He’s behind this deception. When we dwell on the lies we have listened to, ultimately, we’re going to end up believing those lies. When we believe those lies, it’s as if that seed that’s been watered and fertilized now takes root and begins to grow up.

We’re going to develop this seed, to grow it up. We do that as we listen to the lie, we dwell on it, and then we believe it. And everything that you and I believe, sooner or later, we’re going to act on. Proverbs says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”

What we think, what we believe, is ultimately what we’re going to be. Our behavior is based on what we believe. So many people have been misled by believing things that aren’t true.

I remember believing, as a child—fortunately it was before I was old enough to get my driver’s license—that when you came to a red light, it meant that you couldn’t go, that the car wouldn’t move. They said you can’t go at a red light, so I thought that meant the car won’t move.

Fortunately, I learned the truth about that little matter before I was old enough to drive. But what we believe is ultimately what we’re going to act on. If we believe lies, ultimately we’re going to disobey the Word of God. We’re going to act based on that lie.

Some of us have come to believe we can make it without consistent time in God’s Word and prayer. We wouldn’t say we believe that, but that’s what we really believe in our minds, and as a result, that’s the way we live. We go through day after day without getting our hearts tuned in the Word of God and in prayer.

Ultimately, when we act on a lie, we’re going to act on it again and again and again, and do you know what happens? We wear a groove in our hearts, a stronghold. A pattern develops in our lives that ultimately leads us into bondage. We end up in bondage.

Every area of bondage in my life, every area of sinful behavior, every addictive habit, every stronghold in my life, can be traced back to listening to a lie, dwelling on it, believing it, and then acting on it. So, bondage begins very subtly by listening to those lies and ultimately coming to act on them.

The seed we have planted in the soil of our hearts is watered, is fertilized, it begins to take root, it grows up, and ultimately produces fruit. It produces consequences . . . the fruit of destruction, fear, anger, death, and spiritual bondage.

In the second chapter of Jonah, as Jonah is within the belly of that great fish, having run from God, he makes a very interesting comment. It’s part of his prayer from the belly of that fish. He says, “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.”

What happens? He says when we listen to, we observe, things that aren’t true, we end up forsaking—forfeiting—the mercy that God wants to give to us to deal with the real life circumstances that we face as part of this fallen world. The truth will set us free.

When we believe a lie and we act on it, ultimately we will end up in bondage, and only the truth of God’s Word can set us free.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been showing you how to run from lies and avoid bondage. All of us hear inaccurate information all the time. We all need to be ready to recognize lies and say “no.”

We remind you that Nancy’s book, Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, will help you recognize lies that are prevalent in the lives of so many women around us, and will show you how to replace unbiblical thinking with the truth.

Next week we’ll hear from a woman who says you can memorize more Scripture than you think you can. She shows you how to add Scripture memory to the tasks you’re already doing. Please be back Monday for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.