Romans 8:1 - "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
Our captivity to guilt, shame, and condemnation limits us. It keeps us from experiencing everything God wants us to receive by faith. If we don't know we're clean, we will not have confidence before God to ask for anything in faith, to know that He is the one at work within us to accomplish His desires, or to actually believe that we can have the desires of our hearts. Our history of captivity says, "Don't you dare consider yourself righteous, holy, or pure. Don't you remember who you are? Only God is holy and good; you clearly are not. Your dreams, desires, and hopes are all sinful. Don't even think that God might fulfill them."
If we believe our own feelings rather than what Scripture says about us, we continue to live without freedom and without power. We live as if we are behind bars, even after the bars are gone.
THE CURSE OF RELIGION
Religion has told us that righteousness, our sanctification, is a long journey, a ladder to climb in order to attain a certain status that enables us to get answers to our prayers and walk in power. It puts before us an image of sainthood that we can hardly expect to achieve, or examples of a "man of God" or "woman of God" that only a few are worthy to be called.
Without walking in perfect holiness, our consciences are being continually bruised. Guilt and condemnation remain a constant battle. This battle consumes our energy and keeps us focused on something other than the faith and works God wants us to walk in, which is why the enemy would love to see us constantly preoccupied with it. He wants us to think we are still engaged in a battle that has already been won for us. This approach to righteousness, which we are always seeking but never quite attaining, is like bars of a cage that keep us longing for what's on the outside and regretting that we are still stuck on the inside. "Maybe one day," we think.
THE ANSWER: So what is the answer to a conscience weighed down by sin, guilt, and shame?
How can we be free from sin and the hangover of guilt?
This is where the enemy's great deception comes into play. If we are Believers in Jesus, born by His Spirit, we must believe what He says about us.
The New Testament always refers to Believers as saints and never as sinners? [The closest is Paul's reference to himself as the "chief" of sinners in 1 Timothy 1:15. But, Paul is referring to his old/past life as a persecutor of the Church.] Even Paul's letter to the Corinthians, a church with quite a few problems, addresses them as saints, holy ones, those who are sanctified in Christ (see 1 Corinthians 1:2).
WE ARE RIGHTEOUS IN CHRIST JESUS
2 Corinthians 5:21 - "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." The world may throw accusations of being "holier than thou," but the Bible doesn't. Holier than whom? God freely gives us His righteousness, and no one can get any holier than that. Nor do we have any right to declare ourselves less holy when He has given such a precious and priceless gift. He doesn't want us to be ashamed of ourselves and push the gift away. He wants us to know how absolutely clean and pure we are, to receive His righteousness, explore all of its implications, and enjoy it fully.
"I just have a weakness in that area. It's inevitable that I sin." These sorts of comments are dangerous for Christians because they reflect a wrong belief that will cause them to sin by faith! Don't let these lies cross your mind or come through your lips. They are keeping you captive.
It is imperative to respond to these thoughts, feelings, and voices through affirming and meditating on verses of scripture that attack these weaknesses. The Bible says we need to demolish arguments and everything that sets itself up against the knowledge of God (see 2 Corinthians 10:5).
DECLARE THE FOLLOWING AS YOU GO THROUGHOUT THE DAY:
"Yes, God alone is holy, but it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. I have been raised up with Him to new life. I am now as He is in this world. I have received His forgiveness and carry His righteousness. I am filled with His Spirit. He is my life now. He has declared me holy, and any accusation against me is a lie."