How to Put on Christ When You are Accused by the Enemy
UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.
Galatians 5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
All Christians and in some ways in particular, those who have been victims of crafty abusers who parade as most eminent and holy Christians, have been the target of false accusations and condemnation, all designed to lead us to despair of having forgiveness of sins in Christ. This is a common tactic of the enemy and we must be wise to it. Listen to these words by Martin Luther as he comments on Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians:
Let us bear this in mind when the devil accuses and frightens our conscience, attempting to drive us to despair. He is the father of lying and the enemy of Christian freedom; he torments us every moment with false fears, so that when our conscience has lost this Christian freedom, it will feel remorse for sin and condemnation and always remain in anguish and terror. When that great dragon– that old snake, the devil– comes and tells you that not only have you done no good, but you have also transgressed God’s law, say to him, ‘You are troubling me with the memory of my past sins; you are also reminding me that I have done no good. But this is nothing to me, for if I either trusted in my own good deeds or feared because I have done no such deeds, Christ would in either case be of no value to me at all. I rest only in the freedom Christ has given me. I know he is of value to me, and so I will not make him of no value, which I would be doing if I either presumed to purchase favor and everlasting life for myself by my good deeds or despaired of my salvation because of my sins.’
Let us learn, then, carefully to separate Christ from all that we do, both good and evil, from all laws, both human and divine, and from all troubled consciences. Christ has nothing to do with any of these. He does have something to do with afflicted consciences but not to afflict them further, but to raise them up and in their affliction comfort them. If Christ seems like an angry judge or a lawgiver who requires a strict account of our past life, then let us assure ourselves that is not Christ, but a raging fiend. The Scripture depicts Christ as our reconciliation, our advocate, and our comforter. He is and always will be such; he cannot be unlike himself.
The devil will disguise himself in the likeness of Christ and argue with us as follows: ‘You were admonished by my Word and ought to have done this, but you have not done it; you ought not to have done that, and you have done it; be sure that I will take vengeance on you.’ When he does this, we should not let it move us at all but should immediately think, ‘Christ does not speak like this to poor, afflicted, and despairing consciences. He does not add affliction to the afflicted; he does not break the ‘bruised reed’ or snuff out the ‘smoldering wick’ (Isaiah 42:3). It is true that he speaks sharply to the hard-hearted, but if people are afraid and afflicted, he entices them most lovingly and comfortingly (Matt 9:2, 13; 11:28; Luke 19:10; John 16:33).’ We must take good care, therefore, that we are not deceived by Satan’s tricks and receive an accuser and condemner instead of a comforter and Savior.
[Martin Luther, Galatians; The Crossway Classic Commentaries]
Pretty good stuff, right? Christian, Christ is your Friend, not your accuser!