You know that feeling that overcomes you when you have sinned against a holy, perfect and just God? You don’t want to sin, in fact you are sure you won’t but then all of a sudden you end up getting angry at your wife, or you get impatient with your kids. You then beat yourself up because you just did exactly the opposite of what you wanted to do!
I think the devil has tactics of attacking us even in our pursuit of holiness. The enemy attacks us in those feelings we get after we have sinned. Don’t get me wrong, the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin, but the enemy attacks us in it. How do we know the difference?
Simply put, Satan accuses (Rev 12:10), condemns (Rom 8:1) and lies (Jn 8:44) which drives us toward defending for ourselves. The Holy Spirit convicts which drives us to Christ and His righteousness He gave to us (2 Cor 5:21).
We end up feeling guilty and condemned after we sin because we are making an idol, a false God, of our sanctification. Instead of our sanctification being focused on Jesus’ performance for us we make it about our performance for Jesus.
Paul writes in Romans 8:28-30, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”
“So when the devil throws your sins in your face and declares that you deserve death and hell, tell him this: ‘I admit that I deserve death and hell, what of it? For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction on my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, Son of God, and where He is there I shall be also!” – Martin Luther