THE DECEITFULNESS OF SIN


                                 Phil Scovell

                           Copyright (C) 2003/2007

                             All rights Reserved

                               CHAPTER 1  GUILT

          Have  you ever committed a sin, which  you confessed to the Lord,
     but then  found, over  the years,  the guilt  of that  sin perpetually
     returned? How did you react the first time the guilt surfaced in  your
     emotions?  Perhaps you felt remorse at first but then, after  reliving
     the pain of  that committed sin, you decided that you  really must not
     have been  sincere enough the  first time, apparently, when  you asked
     for  God's  forgiveness.    After  all,  you  know  theologically  and
     intellectually  that  God  forgave you  upon  confession  of  that sin
     because   His Word  says He did  and you most  certainly believe God's
     Word.  The pain of the guilt, however, was, and is still, so real, you
     are compelled to believe that  perhaps you just didn't really  mean it
     the first time  you prayed and confessed your  sin.  So you  decide to
     confess it  as sin to the   Lord again and this time  you are going to
     really mean it.   You bow  your  head and pray silently  and make your
     confession of sin once again to the Lord.

          At  the very moment you  prayed a second time for forgiveness  of
     the sin  which the Lord  had forgiven  the first time,  you innocently
     gave place to the  devil.  The  bible says, "Neither give place to the
     devil," (Ephesians  4:27).  The  word for "place" in  this verse means
     giving the devil a   designated area in which to legally operate.  No,
     you haven't  given over   to the devil  your entire life nor  have you
     become  demon possessed nor have you lost  your salvation but you have
     simply given a place, a room, or a legal right,  for the devil and his
     demons to operate in your life.  Why did this happen and how?  Because
     the first time you  confessed your sin to the Lord, you were forgiven.
     Now,  upon  feeling  the guilt of  your act, you think  that means you
     must have  failed to really mean it the first time.  So logically, you
     think,  "I better ask forgiveness again  just to be on the safe side."
     Praying about it  again the second  time is an  act of doubt and  that
     opens the door a crack.  Doubt  is  the deception that the devil  uses
     to keep you in spiritual bondage  even as a Christian.  Now the  devil
     can use your doubt  to torment you with the  feelings of guilt over  a
     sin for which you have been forgiven and which possibly occurred years
     ago.  Let's see exactly how the devil can use this against  you and to
     his advantage.

          One day you are  sitting at work, minding your  own business, and
     working away when all  of the sudden, you  feel the guilt of that  sin
     once again.   Maybe even mental  images of the  event flash into  your
     mind and a  cold fear washes over your thoughts and the emotional pain
     of that event surfaces.  You think, "Why?   Why isn't it gone?  Why is
     it back?   I prayed.  I  asked God's forgiveness.  He  forgave me.  So
     why is  it back?   Why now, and  why here of  all places?"   All these
     questions rush  into your thinking  and you are  instantly spiritually
     overloaded.   So you do the only thing  you know to do and that is you
     attempt  to use logical reasoning  to sort it all  out.  "It must have
     come back because I just really didn't mean it the  first two times so
     I'll confess it  to the Lord again and this time, since it is so clear
     in my mind,  I'll really,  really mean it and God will forgive  me and
     cleanse me from  all unrighteousness."  So you pray again and  let out
     a sigh of  relief; knowing that, this time, it's gone.

          A few  weeks later, you are drifting off  to sleep one night when
     suddenly the memory of  your sin flares in your drowsy  state of mind.
     It was so clear and so distinct,  it sounded like a real voice in your
     thoughts reminding you of your sin.  You are suddenly wide awake.

          Getting out of bed, you, for some unknown reason, switch on every
     light in the house.  Finding your Bible, you sit down in your favorite
     recliner  in  the living  room and  you  thumb to  the   back  for the
     concordance.  You begin to look up verses  on forgiveness.  "Yes, they
     are all  there and right where  they should be.   What is wrong?   Why
     aren't these verses working for  me?   Didn't I mean it when I  prayed
     and asked forgiveness?  I've asked  God to forgive me dozens of  times
     so why isn't it going  away?  I'm born again so why isn't it working?"
     You don't realize it at  the time but guilt,  doubt and  fear now have
     all begun to creep into your  emotions.  Other lies take root  in your
     thoughts.   "If I were  really born  again, this wouldn't be happening
     to me.  Right?  That's  silly; I am born again.  So it has to work but
     it isn't.   Maybe I  am  not good enough?   How could that be?"   Then
     your mind  begins picking  out many other  things you  have done  as a
     Christian, and even before you became a  Christian, and soon your mind
     is flooded with those horrible  painful memories.  You are overwhelmed
     by grief from your past sinfulness and inability to trust God's Word.

          After spending  the majority  of your  night wrestling  with your
     pain  and guilt and doubt and fear, you finally  fall to sleep in your
     recliner; the open Bible  on your lap.  Two hours  later, however, you
     are  getting up  for work.   Now physical  exhaustion is added  to the
     spiritual dilemma you  face.

          A few miserable  weeks pass and you hear a sermon by your pastor,
     or perhaps a  teaching from a  Christian radio  broadcast, on what  is
     sometimes called "Faith and Confession."  It is exactly what you need,
     so you  order a  taped copy and listen to it again.  The message makes
     a great  deal of   sense and you  determine you are  simply having the
     reoccurrence of  the  guilt of this sin because you  don't have enough
     faith.  The  teaching you heard is based upon Romans 10:17 which says,
     "Faith comes by hearing  and hearing by  the Word of  God."  You  know
     this to be  true so you  begin confessing Bible verses  and Scriptural
     based affirmations  several times a  day.  It  begins working and  you
     feel  as if your faith is building and strengthening.  Time passes.

          Several months later,  you are talking on  the phone to a  friend
     who is  facing some extremely difficult times in  their life.  You are
     sharing the Word of god with your friend and trying  to be supportive.
     Suddenly, something triggers your emotions  and it pops to the surface
     of  your mind and you break out  into a cold fear.  It literally feels
     like icy cold  air has  just blown into  the room.   You show  nothing
     outwardly but  inwardly you are ill.  You  feel a wave of anxiety wash
     over you  and you think you hear laughter  in your thoughts.  Quickly,
     you pray with your friend on the phone and then you make  up an excuse
     in order to discontinue the conversation.  Hanging up, you drop into a
     chair and  begin to  cry.   The guilt is  back; the  sin is  back; the
     doubts and fears  are back.   Through your tears,  you ask, "Where  is
     God.  I  am doing everything  right, aren't I?"   You cry  out to  the
     Lord, confessing your sin again  and again and again.   You faithfully
     continue your  confessions and   become even more involved  at church.
     You  tell no one of the  nightmares and restless sleep you are facing.
     You can't  share your feelings  and experiences with anyone  at church
     because of the fear of  judgmental attitudes.  More time passes.

          Occasionally  you  now hear  voices.    Before   they  were  just
     thoughts  of inferiority,  rejection, inadequacy,    fear, doubt,  and
     accusation.  Now they are clearly voices and you  can't tell anybody.

          "Maybe I should go  to the doctor,"  you think.   So you make  an
     appointment.  The prescriptions help a little but  the voices don't go
     away.     Fear  continues  to  grow.     Anxiety,  that    feeling  of
     helplessness, hopelessness,  and fear  that something  is  wrong  with
     you, seeps into every area of your thinking.  Your  emotions feel like
     jello wiggling in a bowl, sensitive, raw, tender, and   vulnerable, as
     if you are feeling the aftereffects of an electrical shock.


          Guilt could  be called the  Christian's best friend.   You cannot
     talk about  it because that makes you feel  even more guilty.  Pastors
     love preaching about it for that very reason.  It works extremely well
     as a control mechanism.  By that  I mean, if your altar calls are low,
     just preach  on guilt and  see what happens.   Such sermons stir  up a
     boat load of tender emotions and many people are suddenly slammed back
     into areas of  their lives which  they were convinced  were long  gone
     years ago.

          Most Christians already  know they are guilty.   What they really
     mean is that they "feel" guilty.  Feeling guilty and being guilty are,
     of course, two different things.

          If you listen to  the lies of the devil, he likes to say, "If God
     had really forgiven  you for what  you did, you  would not be  feeling
     guilty.  Maybe God didn't hear you the first time you prayed and asked
     for  His forgiveness.   Perhaps you should  do it again."   then, when
     that doesn't  work after several  hundred times, he says,  "Well, this
     must  have been one  of those sins  He can't forgive.   After all, you
     aren't much  of a Christian in  the first place.   Too bad.   God just
     doesn't love you as much or He would have  surely forgiven you by now.
     Maybe you aren't really born again.  Sure, that is likely the problem;
     you  just aren't save."  You  are unaware of the, Enemy's accusations,
     however,  and just conclude it is your own  thoughts you hear.  Why is
     the feeling of guilt always stronger than the knowledge of forgiveness
     recorded in God's eternal Word?

          Guilt,  by the way,  is also  something the  Holy Spirit  uses to
     convict us of sin.  Once the sin  is forgiven, the guilt is gone.  You
     are saying, "No it isn't because I am still feeling it."  This is also
     why we keep asking for God's forgiveness.

          As already  pointed out, this  alone creates a rich  fertile soil
     upon  which Satan  can plant  even  deeper evil  seeds of  destructive
     thinking.  We literally, in other words, have given place to the devil
     by confusing false guilt with  true guilt.  So  we live day after  day
     confessing  our sin  when God  has  already said,  "You are  forgiven.
     Remember?"   No we  don't remember.   All  we know  is that  we "feel"
     guilty and so, since we feel guilty, we assume it is real.  Never  one
     time do we consider the fact we are being lied to by the devil.

          In this  atmosphere of  unholy guilt, the  devil has  a wonderful
     opportunity  to add doubt,  fear, shame, condemnation,  rejection, and
     just about anything else he can think of to the stinking  rotting pile
     of festering garbage he  is dumping upon our "feelings."   Now we find
     it  impossible  to  accept  verses   in  the  Bible  relating  to  our
     forgiveness, (1 John 1:9), and He has cast our sins as far as the east
     is  from the west, (Psalm 103:12), and  that he has buried our sins in
     the depths of the sea, (Mica 7:19). "He must  be talking about the sin
     of unbelief.  Right?  He couldn't possibly be referring to my guilt!"

          Eventually, we begin  to hear good Bible preaching  and the guilt
     is buried  beneath loads  of sermons  on other  topics, under  tons of
     Christian activities,  and sometimes  other  good Christian  thoughts.
     This is also a time in which many  people feel a call to the ministry.
     "After all," we think.  "Surely if I'm in ministry, these  things will
     go away  because I will  be serving  God full time.   Right?"   Wrong.
     This is  when, and where, the guilt gets buried; so deep, it no longer
     hurts.  Right?  Wrong.

          Unfortunately, a wife or husband  or teenager or a good Christian
     friend one day taps into that feeling which you haven't felt  for, you
     can't  remember when,  and  out it comes.  Real  tears are shed, after
     the big fight  you have, losing your  best friend in the  process, and
     now we are  back to square one.   "Why did I do it?   Why did I commit
     that wretched horrible sin?  It is killing me.  I'd do anything to get
     rid of it."  Now we  are exactly where the Lord and Satan  wants us to
     be; raw,  exposed, quivering  with rage, sadness,  and the  feeling of
     total helplessness.   Satan temps us  with shiny glittering  sparkling
     thrills  of sin.    Some use  drugs to  numb  the pain.    Some become
     alcoholics and  they drown  the pain.   Some become  work-a-holics and
     physically work themselves to death.  Others become the most faithful,
     most active, most useful Christian in the church while others drop out
     of church all  together.  Some people  think they find  sexual affairs
     useful in  blocking the pain and  some turn to pornography  to fulfill
     something  that  is a  bottomless  pit.   Others  commonly  experience
     depression, anxiety episodes,  panic attacks, nightmares, and  so many
     physical problems, they have to spend more time in the doctor's office
     than at home or church.

          The pain of false guilt is as real and debilitating as anything I
     have ever seen.   In fact, I have never prayed with a person during an
     intercessory  prayer session  where guilt  didn't play  a big  role in
     hiding the pain of  the demonic lies  the person was  living on.   The
     wonderful news is,  however, the Lord can easily expose this guilt for
     what it is; a lie, a deceitful lie, of Satan.  When the guilt is gone,
     there is freedom  and there is life.   Furthermore, you know  when you
     are healed  because you can  return, in your  memory, to that  event a
     million  times and  feel absolutely no  guilt.  The  devil loses again
     because  the darkness flees when the Holiness  of God Light shines the
     truth of His Word upon what hurts the most.

                               End Of Chapter 1

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