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The truth shall make you you free

 

 

Understanding the truth is a key factor in a relationship with God. When a person understands the truth about his position in Christ, it brings freedom into his life

 

 

- (John 8:31,32) Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed;

32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

 

When we turn to God and receive salvation, it is not given that we instantly become free of all bondages and daily wrongful thoughts. On the contrary, many still carry guilt, uncertainty about their salvation, fear, depression, and a poor image of self and God. These things might still weigh on a person, even if they have surrendered to salvation and turned to God. Sometimes it can take years to become free of everything.

When it comes to ways of liberating oneself from harmful things, the Bible teaches us three important factors. Those include reform, which is changing the mind, resisting the enemy, and also understanding the truth, which will be the main topic of this text.

 

Repentance

 

- (Matt 4:17) From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

 

- (Acts 3:19) Repent you therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.

 

Repentance is the first step in deliverance. It means acquiring an attitude where a person gives their whole life to God, confesses every sin they can think of, and lets go of wrongful thoughts and attitudes. For instance, bitterness towards others, self-hate and self-pity are the kinds of sins that many like to hold on to. Those and other sins must be confessed to God, and then He will purify us through the blood of Jesus:

 

- (1 John 1:7-9) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleans us from all sin.

8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

Resisting the enemy

 

- (1 Peter 5:8,9) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour:

9 Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brothers that are in the world.

 

- (James 4:7) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

 

Another factor is to resist the forces of the devil that hold people in bondage. If the case is, e.g., a spirit of bitterness, self-pity, self-hate, or suicide (or any other aspect of life where a person has committed sin and thus opened a doorway for the devil. Paul wrote, Eph 4:27: ”Neither give place to the devil.” Sin gives the devil an opportunity to affect people’s lives), one must resist these forces in the name of Jesus Christ to make them go away. Before this, one must confess all their sins that might give the devil an opportunity to enter their life. Darkness, i.e., unconfessed sins, gives the devil a right to impact our lives, but if we confess our sins and have genuine regret, the devil no longer has that right. That is when they are easy to banish, and they might vanish on their own. For instance, many revivalisms did not focus on evil spirits, as people have been delivered through acquiring godly worry about sin. When we meet God’s terms, deliverance becomes easy, and it might even happen automatically.

 

Oh Lord, Father, forgive me for my bitterness, my accusations towards others, my self-hatred, my suicidal thoughts, my self-pity, for taking part in spiritualism, spirit healing…! Thank You that You forgive me and cleanse me of all unrighteousness through the blood of Your Son Jesus.

 

Satan and you demons, I have confessed to God my bitterness, my accusations towards others, my self-hatred, my suicidal thoughts, my self-pity, for taking part in spiritualism, spirit healing…. Now you no longer have a legal right in this regard, because through the blood of Jesus I have received forgiveness from God. Therefore, I command you now in the name of Jesus Christ to leave me and my surroundings, and never to return!

 

Understanding the truth. Repentance and letting go of the devil’s grip were the first conditions to moving forward. Once we let go of our acceptance of evil and confess our wrongful attitudes, change can finally be set in motion. If we wish to not let go, e.g., of our bitterness and accusatory thoughts, it prevents God’s power of change to enter our mind.

The truth is also an important factor in the process of change. Without it we cannot receive salvation, nor progress in our faith. Jesus emphasized the significance of truth a lot. He said He is the way, truth and life and also that He is speaking the truth. He promised to send us the Spirit of truth which would guide us to all truth. He said that the word of God is the truth, and He also said that when we come to know the truth, it will set us free. Therefore, we cannot overlook the importance of truth in Christian life. If we do not know the truth, we cannot move forward:

 

- (John 14:6) Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.

 

- (John 8:32) And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

 

- (John 16:13) However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.

 

- (John 17:17) Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth.

 

- (John 8:44,45) You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stayed not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

45 and because I tell you the truth, you believe me not.

 

- (Rom 1:25) Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

 

- (Eph 6:14) Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

 

- (Phil 4:8) Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

 

One reason why people do not experience deliverance is because they have not understood the truth or believed in it. Many bondages and accusatory thoughts of the devil (“you are not saved; God does not love you…”) will simply go away if we understand the truth and believe it. Understanding the love of God and that salvation is based on grace, and not on ourselves, is something that will especially help people be delivered. Once they understand and believe the truth, they will progress in their spiritual life.  Neil T. Anderson has written about the subject:

 

Believe in the truth of God’s words, preach it and act accordingly, and then you will defeat Satan’s strategy.

This piece of advice has greatly impacted my spiritual support work. Before, when a demonic influence was detected during a spiritual support session, the situation changed into confronting the spirits. During this process, the attended became catatonic (a form of schizophrenia), ran out of the room and suddenly became incoherent, and I tried to get the demon under my control. I approached the demon first by attempting to have it reveal itself and then telling it to leave. This conversation often left my attended with many injuries. Although there was some progress, usually the same process had to be repeated.

But I have learnt from the Bible that the truth is a liberating factor, which has proven out to be the case in every successful spiritual support feat. Jesus is the truth, and He releases the captive. Believer receives strength by knowing and choosing the truth. We must strive towards the truth, because we already have all the strength we need in Christ (see Eph. 1:18,19). People chained in slavery are not liberated by what I do as a pastor/spiritual support giver, but by what they decide to believe, confess, what they decide to let go of, and by what they decide to forgive. (1)

 

Next, we are going to look at different areas where understanding the truth, and believing it, are important. We will begin with the view of God.

 

view of god. Many people have an understanding of God that is not based on truth and which prevents them from progressing in faith. Usually, it originates from difficult interpersonal experiences. A difficult relationship, especially, with a father or with parents might have caused one to see God the same way. People do not see Him as Jesus has announced Him to be, as they reflect everything through their own experiences.

 

A pastor’s wife who came to me for pastoral care told me about her home of strict morals, controlled by a demanding mother. The father was a wimp who did not defend his daughter when the mother verbally abused her.

   "You really love Jesus,” I said to the lady.

   "Naturally,” she answered.

   "And you also love the Holy Spirit.”

   "Yes.”

   "But you don’t even like God as a Father.”

   She was unable to do anything else than cry. Her comprehension of a heavenly Father had become distorted because of her earthly father. She saw Jesus and the Holy Spirit being actively present in her life but in her mind, God the Father – just like her earthly father – was passive and did not care whether the daughter had great difficulties in her life. (2)

 

To understand how one can shed this false image of God, the following facts should be considered. Rely more on the truth than on your own experiences and feelings. If you have welcomed Jesus Christ into your life and turned to Him, you can have faith that all these good things are true and apply to you.

 

God is like Jesus. The Gospel of John holds the words of Jesus where He said that the one who has seen Him, has also seen the Father. In other words, Jesus is the perfect image of Father God. That is why when we think of God, we must see Him through Jesus. It is the most truthful image of what the Heavenly Father is like. Do not rely on your feelings, but instead, rely on the following words from the Bible:

 

- (John 14:7-10) If you had known me, you should have known my Father also: and from now on you know him, and have seen him.

8 Philip said to him, Lord, show us the Father, and it suffises us.

9 Jesus said to him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known me, Philip? he that has seen me has seen the Father; and how say you then, Show us the Father?

10 Believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?  the words that I speak to you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwells in me, he does the works.

 

- (Matt 11:28-30) Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

29 Take my yoke on you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest to your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

 

- (John 15:9) As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you: continue you in my love.

 

- (John 10:10,11) The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.

 

- (Mark 10:13,16) And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them…

16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands on them, and blessed them.

 

God is love. Many say that they do not feel like God loves them.           They do not feel anything special and decide that God is not interested in them and does not care about them.

This is something that must be approached through faith, not through feeling. For example, John wrote (1 John 4:16): ”… And we have known and believed the love that God has to us..”  He did not talk about feelings here but faith, which are two different things. Feelings might come later, but one must have faith first.

Therefore, as the following verses mention the love of God, do believe them! Do not reflect them through your past experiences, instead, have faith in the announcement of the Bible! It is a greater truth than your feelings.

 

- (1 John 4:9,10,16) In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

16 And we have known and believed the love that God has to us. God is love; and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him.

 

- (John 3:16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

 

- (Rom 5:8) But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

 

- (John 16:27) For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.

 

- (Rom 8:38,39) For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

- (2 Cor 13:11) Finally, brothers, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

 

- (Eph 2:4) But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us,

 

- (1 Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who has called us to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that you have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you.

 

- (2 Cor 1:3,4) Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;

4 Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted of God.

 

Heavenly Father. When some might have had a resentful, angry, critical, absent, or neglectful father growing up, or they might have had some other negative experiences with people they are close to, they easily think the same way about God.

Our Heavenly Father is different, however. He is a Father who shows love, He is a faithful Father, He takes care of our needs, and He welcomes anyone who turns to Him with open arms. We are going to look at a few related passages:

 

He is an embracing Father

 

- (Luke 15:20-24) And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

21 And the son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight, and am no more worthy to be called your son.

22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

23 And bring here the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

 

He is also the Father of Jesus

 

- (Matt 10:32,33) Whoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

33 But whoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

 

- (Matt 18:10) Take heed that you despise not one of these little ones; for I say to you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

 

- (Matt 18:19) Again I say to you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

 

- (Matt 26:29) But I say to you, I will not drink from now on of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.

 

- (Matt 26:39) And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as you will.

 

- (Matt 26:53) Think you that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?

 

- (Luke 2:49) And he said to them, How is it that you sought me? knew you not that I must be about my Father's business?

 

- (Luke 23:46) And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into your hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

 

- (Luke 24:49) And, behold, I send the promise of my Father on you: but tarry you in the city of Jerusalem, until you be endued with power from on high.

 

- (John 1:14) And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

- (John 6:27) Labor not for the meat which perishes, but for that meat which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give to you: for him has God the Father sealed.

 

- (John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which sees the Son, and believes on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

 

- (John 10:17,18) Therefore does my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

18 No man takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

 

- (John 10:28,29) And I give to them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.

 

- (John 11:41,42) Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank you that you have heard me.

42 And I knew that you hear me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that you have sent me.

 

- (John 14:1-3) Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me.

2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

 

- (John 14:28,29,31) You have heard how I said to you, I go away, and come again to you. If you loved me, you would rejoice, because I said, I go to the Father: for my Father is greater than I.

29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, you might believe.

31 But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.

 

- (John 16:28,32) I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.

32 Behold, the hour comes, yes, is now come, that you shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.

 

- (Rev 3:5,21) He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

21 To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

 

He is the Father

 

- (Matt 5:16,45,48) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

45 That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

48 Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

 

- (Matt 6:1,9) Take heed that you do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise you have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

9 After this manner therefore pray you: Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name.

 

- (Matt 23:9) And call no man your father on the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

 

- (Luke 6:35,36) But love you your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and you shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind to the unthankful and to the evil.

36 Be you therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

 

- (Luke 12:32) Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

 

- (Acts 1:4,7) And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, said he, you have heard of me.

7 And he said to them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in his own power.

 

- (Rom 1:7) To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

- (Rom 8:15) For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

 

- (1 Cor 8:6) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

 

- (1 Cor 15:24) Then comes the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

 

- (2 Cor 1:3,4) Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;

4 Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted of God.

 

- (Gal 1:3,4) Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,

4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father

 

- (Eph 1:16,17) Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

 

- (Eph 2:17,18) And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were near.

18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

 

- (Eph 3:14,15) For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

 

- (Eph 4:6) One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

 

- (Eph 5:20) Giving thanks always for all things to God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

 

- (1 Thess 1:3) Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;

 

- (2 Thess 2:16) Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which has loved us, and has given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,

 

- (1 John 3:1) Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not.

 

- (Ps 68:5) A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.

 

He is a caring Father

 

- (Matt 7:9-11) Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?

10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?

11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

 

- (Matt 6:8,26,30-32) Be not you therefore like to them: for your Father knows what things you have need of, before you ask him.

26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much better than they?

30 Why, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

32 For after all these things do the Gentiles seek: for your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things.

 

- (Matt 10:29-31) Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.

30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

31 Fear you not therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows.

 

- (Rom 10:12) For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich to all that call on him.

 

- (Phil 4:19,20) But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

20 Now to God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 

- (James 1:17) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no ficklenss, neither shadow of turning.

 

Understanding grace and righteousness is another important factor beside having the right understanding of God. If one does not understand that they are righteous, saved, and pardoned through Christ, they will have a hard time progressing in their faith. They might live in a constant cloud of defeat and judgement, feeling of inadequacy, guilt and self-blame, because they do not understand what happened to them when they accepted Christ. They try to earn acceptance, which God has already given to them. Similarly, these kinds of people might go straight to practical advice in the Bible, before they have fully understood these things and the fundamentals of their faith.

Fruitful Christian behavior is, however, a consequence of having a correct belief system, and not the other way around. Faith in the right things, which is knowing your position in Christ, must come before behavior, otherwise we are putting the carriage in front of the horse, which is not how it works.

We are going to look at a few quotations that discuss this topic. They illustrate what happens when a person understands it correctly that they are righteous and good to God through Jesus Christ. Our examples will shed light on how faith in the truth of the Bible will bring about change. Faith comes before behavior:

 

Erik Ewalds: I have noticed in numerous cases that the only thing that helps a depressed person is the knowledge of God being a God of grace, and that the person can give up all his own efforts and give himself entirely to the hands of God. The depressed person will get an experience of God loving him – not for the sake of his actions and efforts, but despite and regardless of them. (3)

 

C.O. Rosenius: This is what the conscience’s freedom of the law means. We are so free from the law that not a single sin can be put on us. Because we do not believe in what we would want to believe, the conscience has not gotten rid of the law as completely as it has the right to. We must in all ways preserve this freedom. Freedom and trust are the basis of a new person in Christ, and the life and power of all sanctification. Besides, there is no better way to honor God as by believing in Him and trusting in His promises. (4)

 

Pam Woodson: Reading about righteousness in itself means very little if you do not start to believe in being righteous and imagine yourself as righteous. Only when you do this will the word righteousness climb to the top of your vocabulary. When you study this concept with an open heart, it will have a large effect in your life.

   I have seen this effect in the lives of many people. I can say without exaggerating that tens of students who have attended my husband’s righteousness course in the Victory Bible Institute have eagerly come to talk to me and Woody year after year saying, "This course has changed my life.”  – "Understanding that I’m righteous has set me free." – "I have come to understand the biggest truth of the Bible.” (5)

 

Veikko Pekki: When one preaches evangelically, that is, preaches about Christ and His work by which the sinners are accepted, a two-sided phenomenon takes place. Firstly, many people experience freedom from their burdens, legalism, and strictness. I have seen this phenomenon take place tens of times: Showing Jesus as a perfect and sufficient offering on our behalf in front of God brings about miraculous results. One must not think that preaching about grace is easy. Because the law for us is "in the flesh and blood", our own nature and reasoning would require more on people. The results are, however, continuously encouraging. A Christ-centered sermon of grace always has the anointment of the Holy Spirit, bringing freedom to its listeners.

   Again and again have people called or written or come to tell about how their lives have changed. These people have been in need of freedom. The thing that shocks me most is that they have not heard clear and correct teaching about the grace of God in their own congregations. (6)

 

Common lies. Although one might have welcomed Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, they might still live under the accusations and lies of Satan, because they have not understood what happened to them when they converted to Jesus and God. That is why we are going to look at a few of the most common lies and misconceptions that these kinds of people might have. Once they understand the truth, they will be delivered from all lies.

 

I do not feel like I am saved. Many say that they do not feel like they are saved. Salvation is not a matter of feeling but faith, however. We must believe and have faith in the word of the Bible, and not believe our own feelings.

Therefore, I advise you to carefully read the following verses. They show us that if you have welcomed Jesus Christ, you have become a child of God. You might be happy or sad, but if you welcome Jesus into your life, you are a child of God and have an eternal life. Do not look to your feelings but to the words of the Bible!

 

- (John 1:12) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name

 

- (1 John 5:11-13) And this is the record, that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

12 He that has the Son has life; and he that has not the Son of God has not life.

13 These things have I written to you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.

 

If I try my best, then maybe God will forgive me. Many put their faith in their actions. However, the Bible tells us that salvation is a gift and an act of mercy, and that after having received salvation, we live under constant grace. We do not need to pay for the gift that we have already been given. Otherwise it would not be a gift or an act of mercy.

 

- (Eph 2:8-9) For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

 

- (Rom 3:24) Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus

 

- (Rev 21:6) And he said to me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to him that is thirsty of the fountain of the water of life freely.

 

- (Rev 22:17) And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that is thirsty come. And whoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

 

- (Eph 2:4-5) But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us,

5 Even when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together with Christ, by grace you are saved;

 

- (Acts 15:11) But we believe that through the grace of the LORD Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

 

- (Rom 5:1,2) Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

 

- (Rom 6:14,15) For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace.

15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

 

- (Phil 1:7) Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of my grace.

 

- (1 Peter 2:10) Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

 

- (1 Peter 5:12) By Silvanus, a faithful brother to you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein you stand.

 

I am too sinful. Some consider themselves to be so sinful that there is no way God could ever forgive them. They must look to Christ, however, onto whom God put all the sins of the history of the world. There is not a single sin that He has not beared. It also includes your sins, although you might have a hard time believing it:

 

- (Isaiah 53:6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

 

God is dissatisfied with me, because I do not pray enough, read His word, and preach about Jesus to others. This is one of the most common thoughts in the minds of believers. Many live in constant guilt, because they feel like they are not doing enough of these things.

The truth is, however, that no one has to do these things, because we can do them. God loves every Christian as much when they do or don’t do these things. His love does not change based on what we do.

Here one should pay attention to the fact that the requirements of the law have already been fulfilled in Christ. God does not demand anything from us anymore, because the requirements of the law came to an end at the cross. God is satisfied with us through the atonement of Christ. That is why we should also adopt this way of thinking and not accuse and judge ourselves if we have not succeeded in the former things.

 

- (Col 2 13-14) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, has he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross

 

- (Gal 3:13) Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree

 

- (Rom 6:14-15) For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace.

15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

 

- (Rom 7:6) But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

 

- (Rom 8:1) There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

 

I am not righteous enough. Some say that they are not righteous enough, and it is also true in the light of the Bible, as shown in the following verses. No one is righteous in themselves in front of God, and we cannot inherit His kingdom with our own goodness:

 

- (Isaih 64:6) But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

 

- (Rom 3:10,12) As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that does good, no, not one.

 

The solution to the former is found in the fact that Jesus Christ is our righteousness. When we rely on Him, we receive His righteousness and in the eyes of God we will be as acceptable and as pure as He is. We should not look to ourselves but to Jesus Christ. He perfectly executed the will of God and gave us righteousness.

 

- (1 Cor 1:30) But of him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made to us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption

 

- (Rom 4:25) Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification.

 

- (Rom 5:19) For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

 

- (Acts 13:38-39) Be it known to you therefore, men and brothers, that through this man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins:

39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.

 

- (Rom 3:21-24) But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ to all and on all them that believe: for there is no difference:

23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

 

- (Rom 10:4) For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes.

 

Moreover, the Bible shows that God will declare righteous the unholy, who are people that have no merits of their own. Every person is like this on their own, but when we put our faith in Jesus, we will become righteous:

 

- (Rom 4:5) But to him that works not, but believes on him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

 

- (Rom 3:24) Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus

 

I am not good enough and I have not changed. Many keep looking to themselves and think whether they have changed.

When it comes to salvation, one should never look to themselves but to Jesus Christ, who has already carried our sins. Trying to have assurance through oneself is futile. It would be the same as throwing an anchor on the deck and not onto the sea. It does not make any sense. That is why we must “throw our anchors” outside to Jesus Christ, i.e., look to Him when it comes to salvation. Only that will bring peace and assurance to our hearts:

 

- (Gal 3:1) O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ has been evidently set forth, crucified among you?

 

- (Hebr 12:2) Looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

- (John 1:29) The next day John sees Jesus coming to him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.

 

The following example will illustrate why one should look to Christ and not to themselves. He has already fulfilled all the requirements of the law for us, and lived a perfect life, which is why we can receive everything as a gift.

 

Let me give you a fantastic depiction of this! Pastor Ray McCauley works in Johannesburg, South Africa, and he has an ever-growing congregation with over 30 000 members.

During an occasion he was sat across a possessed person who wanted to get help and become free of the things that a shaman had done to him. When Ray told the demon to leave it screamed “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting”.

A demon might cite the Bible, as it did to Jesus when He was in the desert.

Many people would have stepped aside after hearing such a statement, and maybe gone to fast, in order to try a new intercession and banishing the demon.

But here we need the light of the gospel and understanding of what Jesus did for us!

In a blink of an eye a light tunneled to Ray’s heart. He said: “Yes, I have fasted. Because Jesus who lives in me has fasted for 40 days, so you will come out in the name of Jesus!”

The demon was banished in that instant.

Here is our lesson: All that Jesus did He did for us. All that Jesus did, He brought the end result with Him when He came to us.

All that He has, is ours.

We have fasted because He fasted.

We have kept the law because He kept the law

This is the gospel; “if one died for all, then were all dead” (2 Cor 5:14)

If we reach identification with the truth, we have solved the secret of the gospel. Jesus became one with us, and we became one with Him. His death is our death, His life is our life. (7)

 

I have not been forgiven for my sins. Some say they have not been forgiven for their sins. Because of that they might confess the same sins again and again to God.

These people should understand, however, that we do not deserve salvation by confessing our sins, since we deserve it through Jesus Christ. He alone is the only way to salvation, not confessing of the sins. Having faith in Him is enough:

 

- (Acts 16:30,31) And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, and your house.

 

Similarly, it is pointless to confess the same sins all over again. Instead, have faith in the Bible’s promise that they have already been forgiven:

 

- (1 John 2:12) I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.

 

- (Col 2:13) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, has he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

 

Since I keep falling, can I be a child of God? Some might fall often, and as a result think that it prevents God from accepting them.

God’s acceptance and love has not changed, however; it stays constant, because God shows His love through Christ. It is good to understand that a person is as accepted whether they have fallen or not. Falling does not change their status as a child of God. They are still as righteous and accepted through Jesus.

 

- (Prov 24:16) For a just man falls seven times, and rises up again…

 

Who is the accuser? It is common for law-minded people that they feel accusations in their mind, such as: “You will not be forgiven, how could you have done such a thing, you are not a child of God, why can’t you ever do better…” Many still think that these accusations come from God and that He has not forgiven them. They might experience constant suffering because of these accusations.

However, it is good for us to study what the Bible says about this. According to it, there is another party at play, Satan, who accuses and lies. He is the one who accuses and torments people, not God. God’s Holy Spirit might shed light on sin to make people repent, but He never accuses people. It is good to understand this to not let Satan or our own accusations bring ourselves down:

 

- (Rev 12:10) And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brothers is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

 

- (Zec 3:1) And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.

 

- (Rom 8:33-34) Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifies.

34 Who is he that comdemns? It is Christ that died, yes rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

 

- (1 John 2:1) My little children, these things write I to you, that you sin not.  And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous

 

It is good to know who the accuser is. When we understand this, we will come to a new understanding of our relationship with God. One example is provided by Sven Reichmann, a pastor who noticed the importance of this subject, and that people become better when they more clearly understand it: 

 

Whenever we have committed a sin, our heart accuses us. How could you do like that? You knew that it was a sin. How can you behave like this? How can you gossip like that? How can you slander? Most Christians suppose that these accusations come from God. They call those accusations conscience. However, usually it is a question of Satan and not conscience or the Holy Spirit. How can we know that? I have indeed clearly committed a sin, there is no doubt about that. That is why I feel accusations in my heart. Why could it not be the voice of God? The answer is very easy: a tree is recognized by its fruit. If the accusations are leading to you losing your courage, and feeling like you are under judgment and little by little, you lose your faith in salvation, then accusations cannot come from God. The Lord can, of course, light up the sins in our hearts – He can do it also with very serious words – but it always leads to freedom. Freedom is always the fruit from the activity of God.

   However, the fruit from the work of Satan is judgment. Faith is lost. Often people under this kind of pressure of accusations confess their sins to God and receive freedom from their sins, and this is just what takes place when a sin has been confessed. However, this does not prevent Satan from continuing his accusations. Why would he stop, when he sees that your courage is reducing all the time when you think that you have not been forgiven? It is therefore clear that Satan will continue. And many Christians say, "This is my conscience, God speaks to me about my sins. He has not forgiven me.” God has forgiven a long time ago. Over the years, I have helped many Christians to freedom only by understanding this minor fact. When they see the light and the personality of the accuser is exposed, silence is born in their hearts. (8)

 

I have committed an unforgivable sin. Psychiatric wards are full of patients who think they have committed mockery of the Holy Spirit, which is an unforgivable sin. They have believed the lies and accusations of Satan (see the previous chapter) and they have failed to have faith in the Bible’s promises.

However, it is not possible that a person who wants to follow Jesus Christ, and who puts their faith in Him, would commit such a sin. The following points should be kept in mind:

 

- When a person turns to Jesus and expresses contrition, they have done a complete opposite to an unforgivable sin. Jesus showed that it is the work of the Holy Spirit when a person sees their sins. Thus, contrition and turning to Jesus Christ are the best testimony to a person’s faith, their salvation and that the Holy Spirit has made them certain of their state:

 

- (John 16:7,8) Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send him to you.

8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

 

- Unforgivable sin can be committed by a person who completely turns their back on salvation and Christ. They keep rejecting the call of the Holy Spirit asking them turn to Christ and harden their heart. They do not care about salvation and are not worried about it in the slightest.

A believer might make the Holy Spirit sad with their actions (Eph 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed to the day of redemption.) and he or she can quench the Spirit (1 Thess 5:19 Quench not the Spirit.), but neither of those are unforgivable acts.

Furthermore, a believer might make a mistake in their analysis of how the Holy Spirit works. They might question a spiritual gift or a supernatural action, but that is not making a mockery of the Holy Spirit. Instead, it might be necessary deliberation, since we are urged to study and test everything:

 

- (1 Thess 5:19-21) Quench not the Spirit.

20 Despise not prophesyings.

21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

 

- (1 John 4:1-3) Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

2 Hereby know you the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

3 And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof you have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

 

When a person with their mouth accepts Jesus as their Lord and believes from their heart that Jesus has risen back to life, they will receive salvation. This was written by Paul:

 

- (Rom 10:9,10) That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.

10 For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.

 

Additionally, Paul showed that when one accepts Jesus as their Lord, it is an act of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, a person who does this, cannot taunt the Holy Spirit:

 

- (1 Cor 12:3) Why I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

 

We are going to look at a quotation about how the truth can set a man free. A well-known preacher from the 19th century, Charles G. Finney, tells how a woman had been driven to mental illness and despair in her relationship with God. She believed the lies of Satan that she did not have forgiveness. However, when Finney brought up the truth in his preach, the woman became liberated.

 

There were quite a few interesting conversions, and a few in which a mental illness got better in just a blink of an eye. Once attending a Sunday afternoon gathering, I saw a few ladies sitting in the pew next to a woman dressed in black who seemed very uneasy. The others held her down and prevented her from leaving. After stepping in, one of the ladies came to me and told me that the woman was mentally ill. She thought she had been casted away from grace; it had led to despair and eventually to a mental illness.

…For some time, I heard her trying to leave, but before I stopped, she became calm and the whole audience was silent. The Lord gave me the spirit of prayer and the text, as I had not chosen it beforehand. My text was from the Hebrews: “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

My aim was to strengthen our faith, ours as well as hers, and our faith for her. When I began to pray, she tried to leave at first. But the ladies gently held her down, and eventually she sat silently, but held her head down and seemed to have decided not to heed my words. But as I continued, her head began slowly raising up and she glanced at me under her black hat. Her gaze was more directed towards me, until she was sitting straight and looking into my eyes devoutly serious. I urged people to stay strong in their faith, rely on God, and to give themselves completely to Him through our Highest Priest’s atonement. Then she all of a sudden frightened the whole congregation by letting out a loud scream. She almost threw herself out of the pew, lowered her head down, and I saw her shivering. The women who were with her in the pew practically held her and they seemed to follow her with compassion and prayer. As I continued my speech, she began to raise her gaze again. Soon, she was sitting straight again, her face miraculously changed with a triumphant joy and peace on her face. I have rarely seen such glow in someone’s face. Her joy was so immense that she could barely control herself until the gathering was over. Then she announced her liberation to everyone. She praised God and rejoiced with miraculous glee. About two years later I met her, and her heart was still filled with that same joy and peace. (9)

 

False doctrines. Above, we have addressed some misconceptions that people have about salvation. These people do not understand the position we have received through Christ. That is why they try to achieve that acceptance we have already been given. They are unable to only look to Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross, and that is why they have such doubts.

False doctrines, where grace and what Jesus did for us are not properly brought up, have found their way to modern congregation and homes. False teachings put a lot of emphasis on acts and requirements, but not on the position that we can get through Jesus Christ. That is the reason why people end up in spiritual bondages and are unable to progress in their faith. People do not understand that it is precisely the lack of grace that leads to a life of chains and sin, but understanding it, on the other hand, leads to growth and reformation, as we have seen happen in practice several times. We need to have the correct order for change to take place. If we mess with the order, we will get out of the frying pan, into the fire.

Next, we are going to look at a few examples of what some law-minded parents might do. They do not understand that they are making mistakes in raising their child and that they are giving a false image of God. We can be free of these misconceptions if we understand that God’s acceptance has already been gifted to us through Jesus Christ:

 

• The home is surrounded by a judgmental atmosphere, which sets up an unpleasant tone for one’s whole life. It includes feeling guilt and fearing the punishment of God. He is not seen as a merciful Father through Christ but as watcher who sees and knows everything.

• The home is governed by rules and prohibitions. Faultfinding, nagging and criticism are typical. Self-control is also highly emphasized.

• The atmosphere is sin centered. The focus is on sin and mistakes, and not on salvation and redemption. You mainly hear: “You must” rather than “You are loved by God”. Gospel has turned into something oppressive.

• Biblical examples are not lived as an example to others, as children are also obliged to live by them. People do not realize that the parents should set a good example and be a role model to the children, and that children are individuals who make their own choices. If the parents set a respectful example, it might raise the children’s interest in spiritual matters. A good attitude speaks more than a thousand words.

• Feelings are oppressed and seen as unimportant.

• Teaching about sexuality is distorted. It is not seen as a gift from God that is a way for a husband and a wife to show love to each other and have children. Instead, it is seen as something dirty and bad. It is not understood that in marriage it is acceptable.

• Children are required to possess exemplar and perfect behavior to please the congregation and other surrounding people.

• If a parent is law-minded and comes off as perfect at the expense of everyone else always being wrong, this could lead to rebellion. This is common in law-minded families, but the situation would get better if the parent was able to admit their mistakes and wrongful attitudes.

• Minor things are exaggerated. This means that there is an excessive amount of attention to hair -and clothing choices, which are not inherently good or bad.

 

What about law-mindedness in congregation? It involves a lot of similar features and qualities as mentioned in the above list. This means that grace and the atonement of Christ get little to no attention, whereas Christian acts, duties, and rules are heavily focused on, much like the Galatians were solely focused on circumcision and fulfilling the law. That is why Paul had to severely reprimand those Galatians who were more concerned about acts than Christ who had already atoned their sins:

 

- (Gal 3:1-3) O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ has been evidently set forth, crucified among you?

2 This only would I learn of you, Received you the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

3 Are you so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh?

 

- (Gal 5:4) Christ is become of no effect to you, whoever of you are justified by the law; you are fallen from grace.

 

Law-mindedness is not the only burdening factor in congregations. A kind of success-doctrine can be similar. It can lead to a similar state as law-mindedness, because there is a tendency to bring guilt over people if they have problems in their life. Gospel is only good news to those who are successful, but that is a wrong teaching. We can, of course, expect good things from God, like health and material blessings, but such things can also be experienced by non-Christians. They do not act as testimony to spiritual quality of life:

 

One must be happy. Happiness is a positive thing to have, but it is not the main objective of Christian life, nor does it attest to one’s success in it. Paul was also depressed from time to time, as he wrote (2 Cor 7:6): Nevertheless God, that comforts those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus.

All problems will be solved. It has been taught that when a person starts believing, all their problems will be solved, but that is not true. Some problems might dissolve right away, but it is wrong to promise it would happen with all problems. We should not give extreme promises.

One must be healthy and successful. Success and health are good things and in the light of the Bible we can expect them as God’s blessings. However, everyone can sometimes fall ill and go through secular losses.

We do not commit sin. It has been taught that if you are holy enough, you will not do sinful things anymore. This kind of perfection is not possible here on earth, however. We do not need to live in constant sin, of course – if we do, it only shows that we have not received salvation – but perfect sinlessness is only possible in heaven. It says in the Epistle of John (1 John 1:8): If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

 

The world’s sins have been atoned. When people spread gospel, they do not often bring up the atonement of Christ and how it is enough. Their proclamation might be a mix of law and grace. It emphasizes our duties, or it might be a good message only to those who are already successful. The good gospel has turned into an achievement religion.

The former is distortion of the gospel, however. Because the real gospel tells about the atonement that was done by Christ, not only for the people in congregation, but for all the people in the world. It is good news to everyone – big and small – and anyone can receive salvation as a gift. Their sins have already been atoned and nothing can prevent them from receiving salvation as a gift if they so wish:

 

- (2 Cor 5:19-21) To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses to them; and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be you reconciled to God.

21 For he has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

 

- (1 John 2:1,2) My little children, these things write I to you, that you sin not.  And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our's only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

 

The only sin preventing people from being saved at the moment is not believing in Jesus and not being willing to turn to Him. People’s sins and wrongful acts are not an obstacle, as the obstacle is them rejecting Jesus and not having faith in Him. It is the sin that separates them from God and leads them to hell. If people do not realize this, they have an incomplete understanding about biblical proclamation and teaching.

 

- (John 16:9) Of sin, because they believe not on me

 

- (Acts 16:30,31) And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, and your house.

 

- (John 8:23,24) And he said to them, You are from beneath; I am from above: you are of this world; I am not of this world.

24 I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins: for if you believe not that I am he, you shall die in your sins.

 

- (John 5:39,40) Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

40 And you will not come to me, that you might have life.

 

Self-image, i.e. our undrstanding of ourselves. Many Christians often have, despite being saved, a negative view of themselves. They see themselves as failures, invalid, worthless, they possess feelings of inadequacy, and they blame and despise themselves. Similarly, their perception of God is that He is not interested in them, is mad at them or ready to abandon them. One’s self-image and image of God can be extremely negative.

How can we get rid of this negative self-image and self-accusations?

The answer is found in the truth. Once we receive that positive image that God has of us through Christ, we will automatically start to lose those aspects of self-accusation and contempt. Negative thoughts we have about ourselves are lies of the devil, but once we understand our new position through Christ, it will bring about positive change. In a book by Neil T. Anderson, a person tells how it helped them, when they realized their position through Christ:

 

Dear Dr. Anderson:

 

Studying the material of the course now later on, I have realized that I have become more liberated in many ways and received new information. I believe that the most significant thing for me was the fact that in Christ I am important, accepted, and safe. When I thought about this material, I noticed that I could overcome many issues that I had struggled with for years: fear of failure, feelings of unworthiness, and an overall feeling of not being enough.

I started to study with prayer “Who am I?” -statements that we got during the lecture. I noticed during the semester that I kept returning to this list, especially when I felt like being attacked by the fear of feeling inadequate. I have also spoken about this material in my congregation group, and many of my group members have also experienced new liberation in their life. I don’t know how to speak excitedly enough about how people should be helped to understand who they are through Christ. In my future work I will make this area a prominent part of my teaching and spiritual support. (10)

 

Now we are going to look at some of the most common lies and thoughts many Christians have about themselves. You can be liberated from these lies if you replace them with the truth, i.e. you understand your new position through Christ. Then, your perception of yourself will become realistic and the same as God has of you.

 

▪ I am worthless

▪ I am worthy, because Christ has redeemed me, because I am a child of God, and I will inherit His kingdom.

 

- (Gal 4:4-7) But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

7 Why you are no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

 

- (1 John 3:1,2) Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not.

2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

 

▪ I am not bringing happiness to anyone

▪ God and His angels are happy that I have turned to God

 

- (Luke 15:3-10) And he spoke this parable to them, saying,

4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, does not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.

7 I say to you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repents, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, does not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?

9 And when she has found it, she calls her friends and her neighbors together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.

10 Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents.

 

▪ I do not think I am smart

▪ God has chosen me, even if I don’t think of myself as smart and successful

 

- (1 Cor 1:28) And base things of the world, and things which are despised, has God chosen, yes, and things which are not, to bring to nothing things that are:

 

- (Eph 1:4) According as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

 

- (John 15:16) You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

 

▪ No one loves me

▪ God has loved me even before I turned to Christ, and He still loves me

 

- (Rom 5:8) But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

 

- (Rom 8:38,39) For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

▪ I am not beautiful

▪ What you are on the inside is more important than what you are on the outside, and outer beauty will fade

 

- (2 Cor 4:16) For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

 

- (1 Peter 3:3,4) Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;

4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

 

- (1 Peter 1:24,25) For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass wither, and the flower thereof falls away:

25 But the word of the Lord endures for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached to you.

 

- (2 Cor 5:1) For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

 

▪ I am not successful

▪ Secular success is worthless in terms of eternity

 

- (Matt 16:26) For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

 

- (Luke 12:18-21) And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.

19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have much goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry.

20 But God said to him, You fool, this night your soul shall be required of you: then whose shall those things be, which you have provided?

21 So is he that lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

 

- (Phil 3:7,8) But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

8 Yes doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

 

▪ I was not wanted

▪ God wanted me to be born

 

- (Rev 4:11) You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for you have created all things, and for your pleasure they are and were created.

 

▪ My parents abandoned me

▪ God cares about me

 

- (Ps 27:10) When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.

 

▪ My future is hopeless

▪ God gives me a future and hope

 

- (Jer 29:11-13) For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, said the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

12 Then shall you call on me, and you shall go and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

13 And you shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart.

 

- (1 Cor 10:13) There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.

 

▪ I have no friends

▪ God and Jesus are with me and they are my friends. I am God’s partner

 

- (Matt 28:20) Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, see, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen.

 

- (Luke 12:4-7) And I say to you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.

5 But I will forewarn you whom you shall fear: Fear him, which after he has killed has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, Fear him.

6 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?

7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: you are of more value than many sparrows.

 

- (John 15:15) From now on I call you not servants; for the servant knows not what his lord does: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known to you.

 

- (2 Cor 6:1) We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that you receive not the grace of God in vain.

 

- (1 Cor 3:9) For we are laborers together with God: you are God's husbandry, you are God's building.

 

▪ I am materially poor

▪ God has given me a heavenly inheritance

 

- (Luke 12:32) Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

 

- (Col 1:12) Giving thanks to the Father, which has made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

 

- (Eph 1:11,18) In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel of his own will:

18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

 

▪ I am afraid of people

▪ God is more important than people and He is on my side

 

- (Luke 12:4-7) And I say to you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.

5 But I will forewarn you whom you shall fear: Fear him, which after he has killed has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, Fear him.

6 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?

7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: you are of more value than many sparrows.

 

- (Hebr 13:5,6) Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for he has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you.

6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do to me.

 

- (Rom 8:31) What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

 

▪ I feel like I cannot approach God

▪ I have access to Heavenly Father through the blood of Jesus

 

- (Eph 2:13,18) But now in Christ Jesus you who sometimes were far off are made near by the blood of Christ.

18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

 

- (Eph 3:11,12) According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:

12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.

 

- (Hebr 10:19-22) Having therefore, brothers, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,

20 By a new and living way, which he has consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

21 And having an high priest over the house of God;

22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

 

▪ I do not feel blessed

▪ Christ has redeemed me from the law’s curse, and I get to be blessed

 

- (Gal 3:13,14) Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree:

14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

 

- (Gal 3:8,9) And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel to Abraham, saying, In you shall all nations be blessed.

9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

 

▪ I do not have my own family

▪ I belong in the family of God

 

- (Eph 2:17-20) And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were near.

18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

19 Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

20 And are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

 

- (Eph 1:5) Having predestinated us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

 

- (John 3:1,2) Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not.

2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

 

▪ I have changed only a little

▪ I change all the time, since God is doing His good work in me

 

- (Phil 1:6) Being confident of this very thing, that he which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

 

▪ I am afraid of the dark forces

▪ God has taken me away from the darkness into His loved Son’s kingdom. He lives in me now

 

- (Col 1:12,13) Giving thanks to the Father, which has made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

13 Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

 

- (Col 3:3) For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

 

- (Col 1:27) To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

 

- (1 John 4:4) You are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

 

▪ I have great sorrow

▪ I can give my sorrows to God

 

- (1 Peter 5:7) Casting all your care on him; for he cares for you.

 

▪ I do not feel a connection to God

▪ I am in Christ and I am a part of His body, even when I don’t feel like it. I am also a temple of God

 

- (1 Cor 1:30) But of him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made to us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

 

- (John 15: 5) I am the vine, you are the branches: He that stays in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing.

 

- (1 Cor 12:27) Now you are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

 

- (1 Cor 3:16) Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

 

▪ I feel so imperfect and like I have failed to overcome sin

▪ Even though I am imperfect in myself, I am perfect before God and righteous through Christ

 

- (Hebr 10:14) For by one offering he has perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

Sillä hän on yhdellä ainoalla uhrilla ainiaaksi tehnyt täydellisiksi ne, jotka pyhitetään.

 

- (Rom 5:1,19) Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

 

- (Rom 3:22-24) Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ to all and on all them that believe: for there is no difference:

23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

 

What we convince ourselves about our circumstances? As we might have some misconceptions about God, salvation, and our position in Christ, we can also possess a misguided approach to our circumstances. We might think that if our circumstances are ideal and positive, it will make us happy and content, but that in an opposite situation would make us unhappy. We think that our happiness is dependent on our surroundings.

The truth is, however, that intrinsically our surroundings do not cause depression, fear, despair, anger, nor other negative feelings, but how we interpret those surroundings. Our own thoughts and how we talk to ourselves is what bring about different feelings, not external events. No matter how hard we try to find fault in our surroundings or in other people, the fault is in our own thoughts that control us.

How can we break away from negative feelings and negative ways of thinking? The answer lies in detecting and recognizing wrongful paradigms and replacing them with the truth. If we find ourselves having negative thoughts, we must immediately disclaim them and turn our thoughts into positive. If we start to listen to our negative thoughts, or perhaps even Satan’s accusations, we can instead talk to ourselves in a positive way and say the truth of God. A well-known preacher, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, has taught:

 

We have now gone through some causes of depression. What about the treatment? At this stage I will briefly mention that we must first learn what the psalm’s author also learnt – to take a hold of their situation. He is not content with just lying down and having pity on himself. He does something about it: he “gets a grip on himself”. But he does something even more important: he talks to himself and says: “Why are you cast down, O my soul? and why are you disquieted in me?” (Ps 42:5) He speaks to himself; he addresses himself. This is what we should do also. Our greatest problem is that we spend too much time with ourselves.

…We must talk to ourselves, instead of letting our “self” talk to us! The problem in spiritual depression is that we allow our self to talk to us, rather than us talking to our self. Is this a self-caused paradox? Not exactly. In fact, here lies great wisdom. The majority of sorrows in our lives are caused by listening to our self. Why don’t you write down thoughts that you have immediately after waking up? You are not the one initiating those thoughts, and yet they start to talk to you; They bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Someone is talking to you. Who? Your self is talking to you. The treatment for the man in our psalm was as follows: instead of letting his self talk to him, he began talking to himself. “Why are you cast down, O my soul?” he asks. He had been discouraged and beat down. Now he strikes back and says: Self, listen here, what I say to you.” Might you understand what I mean? If you don’t, you have not experienced much yet. (11)

 

The kind of Christian therapies (and secular therapies) that pay attention to recognizing false thoughts and replacing them with the truth, have been significantly more helpful to people than other treatments. If we help people to change their thinking habits, it will reduce depression and other negative feelings that we so easily find ourselves having. Percentages in getting better are far superior with those who have learnt to recognize their false thoughts and replacing them with the truth. There are a few quotations that prove this correct. The first one comes from the book Telling yourself the truth, which addresses the most common false thoughts:

 

We have decided to call our treatment “the therapy of false beliefs”. It is based on bringing the truth into our values, morals, and into our beliefs about our emotional life, as well as into the words that we say to ourselves… We recently concluded a research project that involves a six-month ex-post monitoring of each patient who attended the Christian Psychiatric institution – via phone calls and conversations. The goal was to obtain reliable information about how well the treatment on false beliefs had worked for the patients. The results were gratifying. 5 % of the treated patients in our clinic had been cured. These people were also able to name specific behavioral patterns that had changed for the better. They were happy about the treatment they had received and the results they gained. (12)

 

… Doctor Henn and his colleagues have come to a conclusion that in the same way that chemical changes in the nervous system affect our behavior, behavioral changes also affect the chemicals in our nervous system.

Similar results have been obtained in treatments of depressed patients. A short psychotherapeutic treatment called cognitive therapy is focused on the thinking patterns of the depressed, especially on thoughts highlighting hopelessness and helplessness. By changing these thinking patterns, they have received as effective results in treating depression, as the antidepressant imipramine. (13)

 

We are now going to look at some of the most common unhealthy thinking patterns, where we might talk to ourselves in a harmful manner, which is something we all might find ourselves doing at times. Change begins by recognizing faulty habits and by starting to talk to ourselves in a new manner. Lies are replaced with the truth:

 

▪ I want people to value me and talk good about me

▪ Other people valuing me and talking good about me might be nice. However, I must think more about the acceptance of God than people’s acceptance

 

- (Luke 6:26) Woe to you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

 

- (Gal 1:10) For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

 

- (1 Cor 4:3) But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yes, I judge not my own self.

 

- (1 Thess 2:4-6) But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which tries our hearts.

5 For neither at any time used we flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak of covetousness; God is witness:

6 Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.

 

- (John 5:44) How can you believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that comes from God only?

 

▪ People do not accept me, and they reject me. It makes me unhappy.

▪ Despite people rejecting me, I can still be happy and content and have a happy life. It is not my problem that other people think negatively of me, because it is their problem. It is a lie telling me I cannot be happy if I am being rejected.

 

▪ I am afraid that other people will see how tense I am, or that they will laugh at me if I fail

▪ It might feel uncomfortable if other people see my failures and inner feelings, but I can still survive from it. It is not the end of the world

 

▪ It is horrible to be uncomfortable and embarrassed in front of other people

▪ I can enjoy myself in the company of other people, despite their opinions, and feeling uncomfortable is not that dangerous. It might be unpleasant but nonetheless tolerable

 

▪ My spouse has left me. I can never be happy again

▪ Even when I am alone, I can still be happy. It is delusional to think that happiness is dependent on another person. The most important thing is our relationship with God.

 

▪ My feelings will never change for the better, and I will always be depressed

▪ Even when my circumstances stay difficult, I can still find joy. It is my own thinking that is making me depressed, not my circumstances. It is futile to worry about something that I cannot change. I might as well be happy. In addition, I can trust that Jesus is the Lord in my life. My life is in His hands.

 

- (Phil 3:1) Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.

 

- (Phil 4:4) Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.

 

- (1 Cor 10:13) There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.

 

▪ The actions of my husband / wife are making me angry. Why won’t he / she change their behavior?

▪ The fact is that the behavior of another is not what is making me unhappy or mad, it is my own demanding attitude. I can still be happy and satisfied even if my spouse did not change their behavior

 

▪ I am angry and irritated, because other people act differently than I would want them to act

▪ If other people have not changed their behavior, despite my wishes, it is pointless to worry about it. They are unlikely to change their behavior in the future either if they have not done so thus far. I can just as easily thank God for these people and be happy

 

- (Eph 5:20) Giving thanks always for all things to God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

 

- (1 Thess 5:18) In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

 

- (2 Tim 3:2) For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

 

▪ I am afraid of change and new situations in my life

▪ Even if changes feel scary, I can accept them as interesting challenges

 

ABOUT SOUL CARE. If one has traumatic experiences in their past that have been inflicted by other people, it might often lead to two things in their life. Those two things are bitterness and self-judgement. Sven Reichmann writes about the roots of these two sins that might be caused by abandonment (A third implication of abandonment can be a distorted image of God, despite a person having turned to God and having received salvation.):

 

Above, we spoke about how sin can have deep roots in the life of a man. Bitterness and judging oneself are two typical roots of sin that we can both see in the prodigal son's brother. As a matter of fact, these roots appear quite often together. Bitterness produces rebellion and anger towards the environment, judging oneself bears the same emotions towards oneself.

   …The same can happen inside a person's mind after all kinds of disappointments. It is common for a person who has not been loved as a child to feel bitterness towards his or her parents. Often the person also judges and rejects himself, like others have rejected him or her earlier. Bitterness and judging oneself live simultaneously in the mind of that person, and form a vicious circle there from which it is difficult to be freed. (14)

 

What happens when a person in this situation is driven to spiritual support and wishes to be delivered from these binding forces?

Many people work accordingly to worldly therapies in this regard. In their attempt to help another person, they inspect and address the person’s past. That is why they will talk about those difficult experiences and unpleasant memories to make that person accept their past. This kind of process is often long and has uncertain results.

Biblical support is different from the above. Although it also often brings up the past to understand the background of a person, it also includes aspects absent from worldly therapies. Three important steps towards deliverance in biblical support include the following factors:

                                                           

Repenting and confessing sins. When Jesus, John the Baptist, and the disciples preached, the core of their preaches was repenting and reforming. It meant turning to God, abandoning one’s sins, and confessing them to God, which is also the most important part of spiritual support. When people genuinely repent their sins and feel godly sorrow (2 Cor 7:10), it paves a path for deliverance. Darkness is a fort for the devil and deceitful forces, but if one brings their sins to light by confessing them to God, those deceitful forces lose their right to affect that person’s life.

When it comes to vulnerable people and people who have experienced abandonment, they must confess their bitterness and unforgiveness, but also their self-hate, self-pity, and suicidal thoughts. If one is not ready to do all this, they cannot experience the help of God. We have a good example of this in a book called Supernatural Ways of Royalty by Kris Vallotton & Bill Johnson. A woman was under the influence of demons and people were unable to liberate her. However, when a preacher was made aware that the woman hated her father and had not forgiven him, the woman admitted it and eventually forgave her father. She had been sexually abused. When the demons were told to leave after this, the woman was instantly liberated. This example illustrates that if we do not meet God’s demands, it is impossible to experience deliverance.

 

Resisting the devil. A person is often instantly liberated when they feel godly sorrow and repent their sins. In that case one might not have to address the evil spirits at all.

However, a command (in the name of Jesus Christ) and unbounding from evil forces is often necessary. This should not be neglected. However, one should confess all their sins that they can remember before that, sins that have been gateways allowing deceitful forces to enter one’s life. That will make banishing them easier. Subordinance to God comes before resisting the devil, as taught in the Epistle of James:

 

- (James 4:7) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

 

Understanding the truth (the topic of this text), i.e. faith in the gospel is also related to experiencing liberation. When you understand the truth – especially, that you get to be the object of God’s love and are pardoned through Christ – you can be liberated from many addictions.

Before that, however, it is good to consider where thoughts come from. Many think that all thoughts in their mind are their own, but that is not true. Some thoughts may be Satan’s, who the Bible calls the accuser, tempter, and a liar. He can put thoughts into our heads, accuse us (Many hear voices, such as: “God does not love you, you have committed an unforgivable sin, end your life, do not attend that spiritual gathering…), or lie to us. These voices and thoughts can lead a person to be hopeless in their relationship with God, they might become prideful, or act wrongfully towards themselves, or do something foolish that desecrates themselves or God. An extreme example of such lies is the eating disorder Anorexia nervosa, where a person thinks they are too fat, despite often being extremely thin.

Satan’s deceitful actions become apparent in the following verses. He was even able to influence the thoughts of David and Peter:

 

- (John 8:44) You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stayed not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

 

- (Matt 4:3) And when the tempter came to him, he said, If you be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

 

- (1 Thess 3:5) For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labor be in vain.

 

- (Rev 12:10) And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brothers is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

 

- (2 Cor 4:3,4) But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

4 In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine to them.

 

- (Eph 2:1,2) And you has he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

2 Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience:

 

- (John 13:2) And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him;

 

- (1 Chron 21:1) And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.

 

- (Matt 16:21-23) From that time forth began Jesus to show to his disciples, how that he must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from you, Lord: this shall not be to you.

23 But he turned, and said to Peter, Get you behind me, Satan: you are an offense to me: for you mind not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

 

Paul also talked about this. He does not directly talk about the lies of Satan, but uses the words: strong hold, imaginations and high things that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. Those are thoughts that are pleasing to the evil and which are also based on lies. Understanding the truth and succumbing to it will break these strong holds:

 

- (2 Cor 10:3-5) For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:

4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;

5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

 

What about soul care? It is often those people with traumatic experiences and abandonment that also have a misconceived image of God and themselves. Their difficult experiences are not the thing binding them but the lies of Satan about those experiences. Neil T. Anderson talks about this on the basis of his extensive spiritual support work:

 

It took me years to realize that people are not bound because of their past experiences – they are bound because they have believed lies as a result of their traumatic experiences. (15)

 

How can one become liberated from the lies? There is a simple answer: replacing the lies with the truth. Since many people possess a misconceived perception of God, themselves, and salvation, we must teach them about the truth instead. When people first confess all their conscious sins and receive the right understanding through the truth, they will experience liberation.

We find a good example in the book Supernatural Ways of Royalty by Kris Vallotton & Bill Johnson. It talks about a woman who had been bound by demons and she was not able to become free of them. When she was little, she was told that she is going to hell, because she had taunted the Holy Spirit.

Luckily, the Lord intervened, and the preacher was made aware of her past. He whispered to the woman: “The devil told you, when you were little that you had taunted the Holy Spirit, but that is a lie”. The woman calmed down immediately and started laughing. She had changed in seconds, as she became entirely free of all deceitful forces, because the truth had set her free.

We are going to look at a quotation that addresses the same topic. Colin Urquhart tells how he has seen the truth setting people free. Once people understand that they are not victims of their past, but instead, have received a new position in Christ, they will start to change:

 

Does God want us to reform? I have no doubt He does! Does He want to liberate us from the sorrows of our past and our current feelings of inadequacy? Absolutely!

You cannot achieve those goals by looking to yourself and to your past, however. You can only achieve it by holding on to the truth and making it your own. This book encourages you to do so.

I have held many conferences by the title “Direct spiritual support”. The events are directed to those who work as pastors and help people. Without exaggeration I can say that the said conferences have made a big change in the lives of those people who have been involved with those events. At the end of each conference it feels like I am talking to a whole new group of people than in the beginning.

 I do not ask for glory for myself, because I have only used my time to tell them about the truth, which has had the liberating effect promised by Jesus.

Many have written to me afterwards, how their ministerial work has changed immensely. People who have received spiritual support for years are finally free!

I will give you an example. A certain preacher attended one of my conferences and the truth affected his life and his ministerial work in a way that he sent his wife to the next conference. Later, he wrote to me and thanked me for his “new” wife and told how astonishingly quickly people become liberated through his wife.

That is the kind of effect truth has on people’s lives. It is not the truth about themselves or about their past, but the truth about what Jesus has done for them.

In another conference a woman who had received two years of spiritual support therapy, told me that what spiritual support could not do to her in two years, the truth had done in two days. Now she was free. Looking at her was a testimony to what she had said. Gone was the frowning forehead, concerned expression, and distorted, tormented face. She was now beaming and calm.

It must not be hard for Christians to find joy, because Jesus has done everything needed to deliver them. It does not matter how wounded they may be or how horrendous experiences they might have endured. (16)

 

What is hindering deliverance? Above, we have discussed the importance of truth in deliverance. Once you understand the truth, especially about salvation, and how you are righteous, forgiven, pardoned and loved by God through Christ, you will become free of all bondages and Satan’s lies. The devil cannot accuse you, e.g., of unforgiven sin, if you understand your position you have through Christ.

However, there are situations where a person is not delivered instantly, which is when one should try to find out why that is. It might be caused by occultic object in the home – e.g., heirlooms or souvenirs -, curses brought upon by other people, or a visit to a faith healer or a fortuneteller. These things might bind people without them even knowing. One can expect a quick deliverance, once these things are fixed, any related sins are confessed, and finally deceitful forces are told leave.

We are going to look at a few quotations related to this. The first one addresses one of the most common portals for the devil: unforgiveness. Nicky Cruz tells how ineffective it is to pray for the salvation of others, and for any other kind of help, if the people do not want to forgive. We must first meet the demands of God for Him to help us.

 

Wherever I go, people continually ask me to pray that they would be healed, would get over an economic crisis or would be freed from continuous attacks of the devil. Instead of immediately praying, I now first ask whether they have forgiven.

   It is amazing how ugly issues come up to the surface when I test them a little.

   Is it useless to pray on their behalf if there is an unforgiving mind in the background. An unforgivable mind lets the devil in our life and will threaten everything we love – our family relationships, career, work, physical and mental health. (17)

 

Another quotation illustrates how an inheritance can affect one’s life – this can happen, especially in occultic circles, where the influence of demons and their gifts can be inherited. Denis Clark tells about a person who was not able to experience deliverance, because he had not let go of his family’s sins and wrongful acts. Once they were brought to light, i.e., confessed to God, the person was instantly delivered:

 

I will tell another case. When I was speaking in an Easter meeting, the preacher of the church asked whether I had ever driven out evil spirits. When I said that I occasionally had had a right to do so, he asked to bring inside a girl belonging to his church who was troubled by evil spirits. I demanded that everybody except the preachers must first leave the room. The girl was brought into the room, but three men were needed to restrain her. We stood around her, but as soon as the men loosened their grip, she turned and started coming towards me her hands directed at my eyes. Her fingers resembled the claws of a hawk. The fight was soon in progress, but it was not won quickly. In fact, the fight continued for years after the events of that day. The pastor called preacher after preacher ‘to try their luck’ so that the girl would be freed from the evil spirit, but nothing helped. Every time the demon was controlled for a while but never completely overcome. One well-known preacher tried his fists 'against the demon’, and the poor girl was left with bruises after his treatment.

 

When I was visiting the church years from this, I asked to see the girl with another preacher. She was brought inside, but she looked like a frightened animal. It was no wonder, since she had experienced so much bad treatment. We assured her that we would not harm her in any way and that we only wanted to ask some questions. The most important question concerned her parents. As we listened to her, we understood that her background included several reasons for why she had this kind of trouble. We acted according to Lev 26:39-42, and we brought the sins of her parents and grandparents before the Lord. Without anything being driven out, the girl completely calmed down and went to the kitchen to help the women taking care of the food of the conference.

 

Can demons penetrate the life of people without the acceptance of God? If they can, they are easy to drive away. But if the demons appear with the permission of God, as the Apostle Paul observed, who can then drive them away? It is impossible without the acceptance of God. In the case described above, the girl had to repent for her parents. Remember what happened to Job! That great man was not freed before he repented in dust and ash. Trial and error will get you nowhere. Are we not obliged to ask God why we cannot drive out demons? By no means is it enough to say loudly or quietly, "The one who is in us is greater than the one who is in the world.” Has God not said that He will punish the sins of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Him? What servant of God could break such a curse in any other way than relying on the atoning work of Christ when He was cursed for us? In order to not regard God as unjust, let us remember that He is merciful to thousands of generations for those who love Him! What a merciful God! (18)

 

 

 

REFERENCES:

 

 

1. Neil T. Anderson: Enemmän kuin voittaja (The Bondage Breaker), p. 26,27

2. Neil T. Anderson: Enemmän kuin voittaja (The Bondage Breaker)

3. Erik Ewalds: Sielunhoito ja terapia, p.123

4. C.O. Rosenius: Vanhurskaana Jeesuksessa, p. 69,70

5. Pam Woodson: Vanhurskaus on ilmestynyt, p.13

6. Veikko Pekki: Päästäkää hänet siteistä, p. 21

7. Åge M. Åleskjaer: Täydellinen vapaus (Fullstendig Frihet), p. 134

8. Sven Reichmann: Vapauteen kutsutut (Kallad till frihet), p. 62,63

9. Charles G. Finney: Ihmeelisiä herätyksiä, p. 89-91

10. Neil T. Anderson: Vapauttava totuus (Victory over the Darkness), p. 49

11. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: Terve usko, Raamatun apu masennukseen (Spiritual Depression. Its Causes and Cure), p. 20

12. William Backus / Marie Chapian: Sinä voit muuttua (Telling yourself the truth), p. 10,11

13. Papolos Demitri & Janice: Overcoming Depression. Harper Perennial 1992.

14. Sven Reichmann: Vapauteen kutsutut, p. 113,115

15. Neil T. Anderson: Enemmän kuin voittaja (The Bondage Breaker), p. 280

16. Colin Urquhart: Totuus vapauttaa sinut (The Truth That Sets You Free), p. 15,16

17. Nicky Cruz: Juoksu jatkuu, p.88

18. Denis Clark: "Herkkäuskoisten harharetket", p. 35,36

 

 

More on this topic:

Find the assurance of salvation! Assurance of salvation; why is it missing and how to get it? If someone stares at himself and his own deeds, and not at Jesus, he never gets assurance

Mental health and belief. Christian faith, when one understands God’s love and grace for oneself, has a positive effect on mental health

Sin, temptation, and sanctification. What is their relationship to each other? Everyone can fall, but the great danger is hardness and acceptance of sin

Be freed from your past! Heavy experiences and memories of the past guide people’s lives and self-image. Read how you can get rid of the burdens of the past

Deliverance from bondage. When a person is saved, he is not always released from all bonds. Satan may still disturb him, and he may lack the peace promised by Jesus

Will there be any change? There is or there should be a constant change in a Christian after his salvation. This writing addresses this topic

Healing. Healings were common during the time of Jesus and the apostles. However, God was the same then as now, so we can expect the same in modern times

Food and health; that is, how diet affects health

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus is the way, the truth and the life

 

 

  

 

Grap to eternal life!

 

More on this topic:

Find the assurance of salvation! Assurance of salvation; why is it missing and how to get it? If someone stares at himself and his own deeds, and not at Jesus, he never gets assurance

Mental health and belief. Christian faith, when one understands God’s love and grace for oneself, has a positive effect on mental health

Sin, temptation, and sanctification. What is their relationship to each other? Everyone can fall, but the great danger is hardness and acceptance of sin

Be freed from your past! Heavy experiences and memories of the past guide people’s lives and self-image. Read how you can get rid of the burdens of the past

Deliverance from bondage. When a person is saved, he is not always released from all bonds. Satan may still disturb him, and he may lack the peace promised by Jesus

Will there be any change? There is or there should be a constant change in a Christian after his salvation. This writing addresses this topic

Healing. Healings were common during the time of Jesus and the apostles. However, God was the same then as now, so we can expect the same in modern times

Food and health; that is, how diet affects health