Leaving the Past Behind — Martyn Lloyd-Jones
“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.” – 1 Timothy 1:12-13
“You and I—and to me this is one of the great discoveries of the Christian life; I shall never forget the release which realizing this for the first time brought to me—you and I must never look at our past lives; we must never look at any sin in our past life in any way except that which leads us to praise God and to magnify His grace in Christ Jesus. I challenge you to do that. If you look at your past and are depressed by it, if as a result you are feeling miserable as a Christian, you must do what Paul did. ‘I was a blasphemer,’ he said, but he did not stop at that. Does he then say: ‘I am unworthy to be a preacher of the gospel’? In fact he says the exact opposite: ‘I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who hath enabled me, for that He counted me faithful putting me into the ministry, etc.’. When Paul looks at the past and sees his sin he does not stay in a corner and say: ‘I am not fit to be a Christian, I have done such terrible things.’ Not at all. What it does to him, its effect upon him, is to make him praise God. He glories in grace and says: ‘And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.’
That is the way to look at your past. So, if you look at your past and are depressed, it means that you are listening to the devil. But if you look at your past and say: ‘Unfortunately it is true I was blinded by the God of this world, but thank God His grace was more abundant, He was more than sufficient and His love and mercy came upon me in such a way that it is all forgiven, I am a new man’, then all is well. That is the way to look at the past, and if we do not do that, I am almost tempted to say that we deserve to be miserable. Why believe the devil instead of believing God? Rise up and realize the truth about yourself, that all the past has gone, and you are one with Christ, and all your sins have been blotted out once and for ever. O let us remember that it is sin to doubt God’s Word, it is sin to allow the past, which God has dealt with, to rob us of our joy and our usefulness in the present and in the future…Rejoice in this wondrous grace and mercy that has blotted out your sins and made you a child of God. ‘Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.’”
- Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981)
taken from: Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1965), pp. 75,76. [Reprinted by permission of publisher]
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