Because the problem of sin is so persistent in Christians’ lives—whether it be overt, or the more covert sin of attitudes and motivations of the heart—our most common response is to cover it up. We simply try to appear to be more respectable and holy than we actually are. Do you think pride has something to do with this? I think that’s a foregone conclusion! The really sad thing is that this cover-up unavoidably leads to an oppressive sense of shame.
Shame has a crippling effect in a person’s life. Psychologists tell us that it is often at the heart of emotional disturbance and dysfunction. So it’s not hard to see how Satan—who is called “the accuser of our brethren”(Revelation 12:10)—can use it so effectively as a wedge to bring about our alienation from God.
Our first instinct is to run and hide from God when we sin, isn’t it? The reason we do this is not only because we intuitively sense God’s displeasure, but that we think no one else has these problems. “How could I do something so despicable, so displeasing to God? What inner flaw would provoke me to even think of such a thing?”
In his endeavor to bring us down, Satan wields a two-edged sword: “It only makes sense that God would expect you to perform for your salvation,” he says. And on the flip side, “Give it up! You’re a failure! You’ll never be able to overcome that sin. You can’t please God unless you work at this thing a little harder.” His devices really shouldn’t surprise us, though. He is unambiguously described in Scripture both as the deceiver and the accuser of God’s people.(Revelation 12:9-10)
Satan’s tactic of accusation is always rooted in lies. Jesus said it well in John 8:44, “…Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” The devil is a master of manipulation, having perfected his methods of deceit and accusation through the combined experience of thousands of years of both observation and application.
But Paul knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that we cannot earn our way into good standing with God. Through Christ, God made provision for our righteousness in spite of our sin, and in so doing He also chose to override the necessity of performing good works in order to satisfy Him. So it’s not hard to see why the utmost desire of Paul’s heart, both for himself and for others, was to be found in Christ—having a righteousness anchored in God’s provision rather than our own efforts.(Philippians 3:9)
Excerpted from: Free from the Power of Sin: The Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself