One of the main reasons for the rising tide of guilt, shame, anxiety, and depression is the diminishing conviction of sin. Many professing Christians are among this particular group who are living in sin. The spirit of complacency has been the catalyst to drifting towards the love of sin. Where once upon a time they were walking in the city of God, they are now walking in the city of the world. Instead of walking in the fellowship of the body of Christ they are walking in friendship with the world. “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” There has been a wind of easy living in the company of sin. Sin has become irrelevant in their walk with Christ. Sin which was once at the forefront of their mind is now buried somewhere in the back of their mind.
Having shoved the seriousness of sin out of the conscious when confronted in the Scriptures with their sin, they will have one or more of several responses. 1. Their sin will have no effect on them and they will perceive no danger. There is no conviction to make a change. 2. They will be somewhat effected, acknowledging the sin pointed out, but there is no urgency in the soul to part with it. 3. With a perception of spirituality in their heart, they will pray about the sin. In the meantime, they willfully choose to remain in disobedience. The saying, “An ounce of obedience is worth a pound of prayer” is apropos. 4. Another common response to refusing to come to terms with sin is the love of God. “He understands my sin and is not offended with it.” The justification of the sin has blotted out the conviction of sin. Hence, the diminishing conviction of sin.
When admonishing a person of the need to receive counsel, at times it will fall on deaf ears. “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise.” They will conjure up imaginations to justify their disobedience.
The sad ending to this foolishness is, in many cases, drifting into an unsound mind. The first crisis or pressure that shows up devastates them. Having gone back to walking in the world, they have no spiritual resources to rely on. The temptation to rely on drugs or alcohol to relieve the anxiety or depression will likely be ignited at this point. Disobedience has been seated in their soul. Walking in the flesh has become the norm. “Fleshly lusts war against the soul.” I Peter 2:11. The devil jumps on this train and “takes him captive to do his will.” II Timothy 2:26. All they have left is their sinful heart and the devil.
Subsequently, the loss of assurance of their salvation will set in. The darkness lived in has given ground to the spirit of the antichrist. “—-even now many antichrists have come by which we know it is the last hour.” I John 1:18. This spirit of antichrist will obstruct the desire for communion with God. It will bring confusion in the soul. It will cloud the Scriptures for the backslidden and disobedient believer. Having lost the communion and presence of God, exasperation, despair, and fear will engulf the soul. Pressures will mount up like a mountain. Satan, the Tempter, will strike at this opportune time offering the panacea for a sure fix for this guilt, shame and suffering. The Dragon, the counterfeit savior, will serve up a platter of prescription drugs, street drugs, and bottles of alcohol for relief. Without hesitation, the weakened soul will grasp the forbidden fruit to escape reality and relieve the hopelessness that is being felt. The devil’s chains will then secure his subject to torment him. This is the gate of hell. An illustration of Dante’s Inferno is relevant for this futility. As Dante passes through the gates of hell, an inscription on the gate reveals a terrible fate. “Abandon all hope, all ye who enter here.” This is the snare that awaits those on the broad road of addiction.
But God, by His grace, is longing to rescue you. “When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.” Isaiah 59:19. Do not believe the lie that there is no hope. Come out of the world which has brought this terrible affliction of hopelessness. Repent of your complacency concerning sin. Repent of your season of sin that has darkened your soul. Return to the Lord Jesus Christ. “Return, you backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings.” Jeremiah 3:22. Many have a heavy burden of sin on their shoulders. Now is the time to call upon Jesus to forgive you for your sins. Now is the time to get back in fellowship with the Lord and His Church. Now is the time to return to the Word of God and prayer. He longs for you, for every believer is the Bride of Christ. He loves you. Call your pastor or a godly saint to come alongside you for encouragement and prayer.
Where the grace blows,