You have probably seen the video of a church doing the “Cardboard Testimonies.” Someone somewhere had a great idea, and great ideas usually get copied. And this was a great idea... and a simple one. People share how God has changed their lives by writing what they were (alcoholic, materialistic, selfish, etc) on one side of the cardboard and then flipping the card to reveal what they have become by the grace of God (sober, spiritual, giving, etc.). It is a powerful testimony to power of God change us.
Satan desperately wants us to doubt that God can transform us like this. He tries to create that doubt in one of three ways.
- First, he wants us to doubt we ARE forgiven. If we begin to doubt that God’s has forgiven us, then we begin to doubt God and we refuse to live like forgiven people. After all, if we spend all our energy wondering if we are forgiving and suspecting that we are not, we don't have time to actually live how God wants us to live.
- Second, Satan wants you doubt that God can forgive you. Sure God can forgive regular people of regular sins. God can forgive the guy I heard one time confess that he was addicted to buying too many neckties. (Too me, that is a big sin). God can forgive that, but he can’t forgive me because of what I have done. Satan wants us to think that it is hopeless to believe we can ever do any better than you are doing right now. You might as well give up.
- Third, failing those two, Satan wants us to think that forgiveness is easy, simple and no big deal. If forgiveness is as easy as falling off log, then it really isn’t that important, is it?
Notice what Paul says in 1 Timothy 1:15-17 and how he helps us to avoid all three of these traps. Paul certainly understand how bad sin is and this how complicated is our forgiveness. He accepts God’s grace and His power to change, and thus he is focused
on the majesty and glory of God. We must see BOTH our continual neediness and God’s eternal power. We need to be forgiven and God has the power to forgive. And once we are forgiven, then we can live forgiven.