Suppose you understand that temptation is dangerous, that the evil one is crafty, and that you cannot beat sin in your own strength. You know that Jesus died–putting him beyond Satan’s reach and jurisdiction–and that he arose from death with powerful life in a new dimension. You know that in God’s eyes you also died and arose because Jesus represented you and because God views you as “in Christ.” Finally, you recall from Romans 6 that in any moment of temptation, when God and Satan give you opposite instructions, you can say “No” to Satan and walk away unscathed–if you only will reckon all this to be the truth, then present or yield your body to God but not to Satan.
Knowing all that, a temptation moment comes and you decide not to “reckon” or not to “yield”–but sin instead. You are embarrassed, sorry, disgusted with yourself. You wonder how God can possibly forgive you for, what is it now, the five hundredth time? At this point, it is time to remember these words from John. “This then is how . . . we set our hearts at rest . . . whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts and he knows everything” (1 John 3:19-20, NIV).
What does God know in this situation? True, he knows our weaknesses, our temptations, our mitigating circumstances. But that is all beside the point. What matters is that he knows this: that Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for our sins; that God has forgiven our sins on account of his name; and that we live in him and he lives in us (1 John 2:2, 12; 4:13-16). We might forget those things momentarily, or forget their importance, but God does not forget. And when we do remember what God never forgot, our hearts are set at rest.
Martin Luther once said he was glad the Bible does not say that Jesus died for Martin Luther, for then he would spend his whole life wondering if there was another man named “Martin Luther.” Instead the Bible says that Christ died for sinners (Rom. 5:8). That is far better to read, said Luther. There can be no doubt that he is a sinner, and on that basis he knows that Christ died for him.
By: Edward Fudge