The other day, someone close to me asked me a very disturbing and heartbreaking question about her marriage. "Because of how we got together, is our marriage ultimately doomed?"
I must admit, I was taken aback. It's no secret to anyone that the husband and wife first came together through an adulterous relationship. However, that was years ago, and I knew the couple—both of whom love the Lord will all of their hearts—had repented and asked for and received forgiveness.
Therefore, according to Hebrews 8:12 (MEV), which says, "For I will be merciful toward their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more," the two are forgiven and should rejoice because of the fixedness of this pardon.
Matthew Henry's Commentary on Hebrews 8:12 says, "It is so final and so fixed that God will remember their sins no more; he will not recall his pardon; he will not only forgive their sins but forget them, treat them as if he had forgotten them."
From this, we know that God has forgotten the sin. It stands to reason that we, the beneficiaries of God's grace and mercy, should forget them as well.
Deep in her heart, I know this person knows that she and her husband are forgiven. And the husband knows this too, but he at times hearkens back to past sins. Both are undoubtedly allowing Satan to wreak havoc with their minds every time they have an argument. They begin believing the lies of the enemy, who wants to convince them that they once committed a sin that is "unpardonable" and that they are still committing an unpardonable sin because they remarried.
There is only one "unpardonable" sin in the eyes of God, as it says in Mark 3:28-29, "Truly I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they speak. But he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal condemnation" (MEV).
It is a condemnation that, because of the grace and mercy of the Cross, is very specialized. I believe you would actually have to be very intentional about committing that sin. But that's for another column.
Otherwise, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit" (Rom. 8:1, MEV).
Please do not think I am advocating divorce or adultery. It breaks my heart to see anyone who goes through the pain of divorce or who is sucked into the perilous and treacherous world of adultery. Both acts destroy families and both destroy lives. Everyone should pray daily against these two destructive spirits. (Pray Psalm 91.)
But if this has happened to you, or you have facilitated either, you should repent, ask for forgiveness and work hard to restore what has been shattered. If you have truly repented, God will honor your heart for restoration.
"Have mercy on me, O God, according to your lovingkindness; according to the abundance of Your compassion, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin" (Ps. 51:1-2, MEV).
With all that King David, and King Solomon, for that matter, were forgiven for, I refuse to believe that someone's marriage is condemned to failure because of past sins. When the above-mentioned couple asked for forgiveness and repented, they were washed clean:
- "Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; they are red like crimson, they shall become wool" (Is. 1:18).
- "If we confess our sins, he is faith and just to forgive us our sins and to cleans us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
- "Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out" (Acts 3:19)
- "He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins" (Col. 1:13-14).
I know some women who, years after having an abortion, are still beating themselves up over their past transgression. They can't forgive themselves for taking a human life.
Ladies, it's a lie from the devil. If you've repented and asked for forgiveness, you've been given grace through the Cross. It's done; it's over with. Allow Jesus' selfless act to wipe away your guilt.
As author Christine Hoover puts it, "There are two words to stop self-condemnation—'but God.'"
Son of Sam killer David Berkowitz, who murdered six people and shot 13 in the mid-1970s, accepted God's grace and forgiveness, as I wrote about here. Although society condemned him, and he will be in prison for the rest of his life, he is not condemned by Christ.
What about you? When you get discouraged and things look bleak, do you begin to believe that your relationship with Christ or your horizontal relationships on Earth are doomed because of past sin?
You can squash the spirit of condemnation immediately by speaking these scriptures:
- "God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor. 5:21, MEV).
- "But because of Him you are in Christ Jesus, whom God made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption" (1 Cor. 1:30, MEV).
- "This righteousness of God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all and upon all who believe, for there is no distinction" (Rom. 3:22, MEV).
Don't let the devil lie to you. Remember Romans 8:1. Remember, you are not condemned.
And as I always like to say, "there is that."
Step Out of the Boat is a ministry created by Charisma Media Online Manging Editor Shawn A. Akers and dedicated to helping Christ followers strengthen their faith to get beyond their comfort zone and come to a more intimate relationship with Jesus. With its articles, podcasts and other forms of media, Step Out of the Boat encourages Christ followers to daily reach to a higher level in their calling. Please visit shawnakersministries.com. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shawn A. Akers is the online managing editor at Charisma Media. He is a published poet and published a story about Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR Chicken Soup for the Soul. You can read his blog here. To sign up for his newsletter, "Step Out of the Boat," and other Charisma newsletters, click here. You can also listen to his podcasts, the Javelin Sports Show, on the Charisma Podcast Network.
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