2 Corinthians 5:17 assures us that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come!” Chances are, that if you’re a pulpit-and-PowerPoint worthy case of God’s redeeming grace, you consider this verse to be a comfort. Chances are, you’d much rather focus on God’s amazing grace than on the sin that made you a debtor to that grace. And to a degree, that’s beautiful.
However, it would be a waste for you to forget your specific sins altogether. Because of them, you have a unique ability to help backsliding Christians. It can be easy to forget where you’ve been now that you’re resting in the palms of mercy. It can be easy to see a backsliding Christian and say “God, I thank you that I’m not like other men – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this [sinner]” (Luke 18:11). It can be easy to think, “I can’t help them. I don’t do that kind of stuff anymore.” That’s not true. Well, the part about you not doing that kind of stuff anymore may be (and praise God for that!), but you can help them. And it may start with something as simple as sharing your testimony.
Share your story. People who are repeatedly struggling with the same sin often feel trapped by their vice, as if there’s no way out. However, hearing your testimony can give them hope. As a Christian with a past, you have a unique ability to encourage struggling believers. You’ve been where they’re at and, by grace, you’re on the other side of it.
This is going to look different for everyone. Maybe you’ve watched porn; maybe you’ve read something you wish you hadn’t; maybe you’ve let anxiety get the best of you. Maybe you’ve neglected your duties; maybe you’ve dishonored your parents; maybe you’ve idolized something in your life and treated it like its God. Whatever the case, if your backsliding friend is struggling with something you have overcome, they will be encouraged to know that they are not trapped. So share your story, and remind them that God’s grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9). Tell them to take heart, for if they truly believe in Christ as their Savior, they have been clothed with His righteousness (Revelation 6:11a). Tell them that their backsliding is grievous and that their sin is real, but that God’s overcoming grace is too (1 Corinthians 6:11).
THANK GOD FOR HIS WORK IN YOUR LIFE
Rather than considering your former sins burdens from your past that you’d much rather forget, I urge you to leverage your testimony to help the hurting.
God has been gracious to you. Thank Him for His forgiveness, and extend grace to others.
When you flourish in the faith, come alongside the struggling (Romans 14:13). Even when you walk through a season marked by overcoming unrighteousness and increasing in holiness, may you never cease to sing, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.”