Question from a Site Viewer
I’m tired of living in fear!
Living in fear is no way to live. But that is my life.
I grew up knowing Jesus died for me. But over the years I slipped into sexual sin. I became a lukewarm Christian. I would occasionally go to church but it was only because a group of friends wanted to go or . . . I always knew what I was doing was wrong, but did not feel I needed a church; I just needed to get my life in order.
It came that I met and married a strong believer. She was clear that she wanted a Christian man. I told her I was a Christian and agreed to go to church with her so that our relationship would work. I convinced myself that this was what I wanted–to turn my life around by being a faithful husband, going to church, asking for forgiveness for my past sexual sins, etc. However, at our church I always felt like an outsider because everyone else seemed so spiritual and pure and here I was a fornicator.
I always felt like a fake or false convert. I always enjoyed worship but struggled confidence in my salvation. I continued to repent, read the Bible and pray with my wife and privately prayed. Things were going great. I repented for my past immorality and felt the Lord had forgiven me. I had the world to be happy about. But I still harbored guilt about misleading my wife.
About nine months ago, I started having weird physical attacks on my body. This led to panic attacks and thoughts of terrible disease and death. Suddenly I could not sleep. I stayed up for days. I was seeing shapes, shadows and demonic visions. I then heard a very clear demonic voice in my head tell me that I had committed blasphemy and that I was theirs. The demon then said I made a mockery of the Holy Spirit, that it was the unpardonable sin and that I should go shoot myself or I would die of disease.
I have confessed all sins that I know of and have cried out to the Lord and continue to go to church but I am at unrest in my soul. Maybe I did commit blasphemy by being a fake Christian to get what I wanted. But I now want nothing more than to forget about what has happened and know I am saved. Certain scriptures scare me such as Hebrews 6:6, Galatians 6:7 and Hebrews 10:26. I am afraid that I am suffering God’s wrath. I love Jesus and know he died on the cross and now lives in heaven. I repented to my wife for deceit as well. I am living in fear every day.
Thanks for your question. I am encouraged that you realize you were a sinner. That is the right place to begin, since Christ came for sinners. As Jesus told the Pharisees: “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matthew 9:13). The great news of the gospel is that Christ Jesus came to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). So the fact that you acknowledge your sin means that salvation is available to you.
I also am encouraged that you have confessed your sin to your wife and to God. You have done what you should do in this situation. The only thing left is to turn from your sin and seek to follow Christ. You may think you have done this, in that you are no longer doing the sins. Yet, to the extent that you let the sins continue to be in your mind tells me that you have not fully turned from them. You are not trusting in Christ to cleanse you as He promised in 1 John 1:9. This lack of faith leaves you vulnerable to the attack of the enemy. And make no mistake, he has and he will attack you. He is called the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10) for a reason. You have experienced that in a powerful way, as the presence of his accusations have brought terror to your heart.
But we cannot and should not listen to the accusations of the devil or of his evil spirits. Jesus will never cast out those who come to Him. He will always forgive those who confess. He welcomes the sinner. He accepted even wicked king Manasseh, who was the son of righteous Hezekiah, knew what was right, and turned and did more evil than the nations around him. But when he confessed God forgave his sin. And Paul says that he was the chief of sinners, and God forgave him (1 Timothy 1:15).
Having confessed your sins to God, you now need to trust Jesus to be true to His word. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. In our Bible study meeting we are memorizing Psalm 130, a great Psalm on forgiveness. If God was going to mark our iniquities against us, none of us could stand. But there is forgiveness with God and He is the One who will redeem Israel from “all his iniquities.”
You express concern about blaspheming the Holy Spirit. I continue to believe that whatever the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is (and I think it is rejecting the Spirit’s attestation of who Christ is throughout one’s life), one’s interpretation of the sin must be compatible with what Christ and Scripture states elsewhere. Christ has promised eternal life to all who believe on Him. He does not state that all who believe, except for extra-bad people, will have eternal life. He does not say that all who come to Him, except for long-term sinners, will not be cast out. I find it interesting that none of the epistles ever addresses the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, which would have been a big issue if it is a matter of speaking against the Holy Spirit. Which of us has never done that in our lives at some weak point or another? I think the accuser of the brethren has used this passage effectively to state what Christ and the apostles never taught. God is a merciful God who has more joy over one sinner who repents than over 99 who have no need of repentance. Accordingly, even if you have blasphemed, as Paul stated that he had done (1 Timothy 1:13), and Paul appears to have blasphemed in the same way as the Pharisees did (he was a Pharisee who strongly opposed Christ by denying the work of the Spirit in the life of Christ), there is forgiveness if we will turn to Christ in this life, as Paul experienced.
I note that if blasphemy of the Spirit is what you are believing it might be, speaking ill of the Spirit, then we are all in deep trouble. No one would be saved, because I would guess that we all have said wrong things about the Spirit at some point in our lives. This would be an easy way for Satan to ensure the condemnation of everyone, by simply getting them to say some words in a weak moment. God understands our weaknesses. He will not be frustrated in His plan to save those who believe by such a scheme. That you acknowledge your sin and turn to God tells me that you have not committed the unforgivable sin. I encourage you to cling to His promises and not let the accuser of the brethren have a voice in your mind.
As for the passages you cite (Galatians 6:7; Hebrews 6 and 10), the purpose of the passages is to encourage us to follow Christ. We will reap what we sow, but if we turn to righteousness and sow to righteousness, then all of the sin we have done will be forgotten (Ezekiel 18:21-22, 27-28). The law of sowing and reaping does not annul the forgiveness and mercy of God. Jesus told the parable of the prodigal son for this reason, to show that the harshness of the Pharisees in their view of sin was not the heart of the Father. When the prodigal, who was a son and went away and lived very badly, returned, the father did not sit in the chair and glare at him and require penance or worse, refuse to forgive. To the contrary, the father ran down the driveway to meet his son, embraced him, kissed him, and called for a big celebration. That is the picture of the Father and our return. If we come, He will not cast us out, but welcome us with open arms. This truth of the Father we need to believe and embrace. We cannot let Satan blur the image of the Father who longs for sinners to turn to Him. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities (Psalm 103:10). He forgives them all (Psalm 103:3). So Galatians 6:7 does not deal with forgiveness, but with a truth that if we sow to the flesh we reap corruption but if we sow to the Spirit we will reap eternal life. I see this passage as being a continuation of the teaching in Galatians 3-5 that we should walk in the Spirit and demonstrate the Spirit’s fruit, and not walk in the flesh and demonstrate the fruit of the flesh which is corruption.
We have elsewhere given our views on the Hebrews passages. Without delving into all of the analysis again here, it is enough to state that if we turn to serve the living and true God in holiness, these passages have no application to us. They should only bother those who are not seeking to follow Christ.
The call of a disciple is to follow his master. That is our calling. Faith is believing that God is and that He will reward those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). His throne of grace is available to us in our weakness, as Hebrews 4:14-16 tells us. He intercedes for our sins. That is what a high priest does.
I suspect you feel a little like what Peter did after his denials of Christ. Jesus poignantly placed the point of temptation on Satan, but then added, “I have prayed for you that your faith should not fail” (Luke 22:31-32). That is what Jesus does. When we are weak, He supports us.
I encourage you to recommit your life to Christ every day. Walk with Him always. Rejoice in Him. Be thankful. Adore Him in worship and praise. Trust Him to forgive your sins. And do the things commanded of us. Love your wife. Love your children. Love your friends and your enemies. I especially like Colossians 3 as a good reminder of how we are to live. If you do these things, you will have a rich entrance into heaven, as Peter tells us in 2 Peter 1:2-11.
And may the God of peace be with you.
a fellow sojourner,