BY RJ GRUNEWALD
The accusations of the voices we hear on a daily basis are deafening. There is no shortage of voices that will remind us of our failures. If God can choose to speak even through the mouth of an ass to get his message across, it seems that Satan has an abundance to choose from for his message.
In Galatians 1, Paul writes about the gifts that Jesus gives. Gifts that aren't waiting for our performance or lack of failures, gifts that rely only on the work of the Giver:
"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen"
Grace and peace - grace that forgives even the worst of sins and peace that quiets even the loudest of voices. Unfortunately, this doesn't come without Satan fighting against peace with burdened consciences.
Satan is an expert in using the Law to crush the already burdened. He's a master at using thousands of voices to use the Law to drive us away from the cross instead of towards it. That's the difference between the voice of God and the voice of Satan - when God speaks it ultimately leads us to grace and peace by the way of repentance, when Satan speaks it's meant to make us believe that grace and peace isn't for us.
Any voice that pulls us away from the work of Jesus is a voice that needs to be shut up by the voice of God. The voices that leave us with no sense of worth, love, or acceptance need to be silenced with death and resurrection. From spiritual commitments to family relationships, job performance, and self-image, Satan will speak his lies to make us believe that we're not good enough.
He will bury us under the accusations. And in our moment of desperation, the devil will even disguise himself as the voice of God in order to make sure we don't hear the words of Jesus. If he can bury us under burdens, he can guilt and shame us away from the hope of the cross. But if we hear Jesus’ promise, "Your sins are forgiven," he knows his voice will be silenced.
When Satan tries to burden with guilt and shame, Jesus always speaks forgiveness to the broken-hearted. When Satan brings up our past sins, Jesus says, "I will remember them no more." In the moments when you need to hear it the most, the death of Jesus silences the accusers. And when you need a word of grace and peace, Jesus speaks to you what you nee to hear the most, "I forgive you. And I love the person you are, not the person you wish you were."
May those words deafen your ears to any voice that speaks otherwise.
RJ Grunewald is a Vicar at Faith Lutheran Church in Troy, Michigan, serving in the student ministry and as a part of the preaching team. He is also attending Concordia Seminary in St. Louis through their distance education program. RJ is a theology nerd who loves books and sermons by dead guys. But as a writer and a preacher, he passionately believes that theology isn’t just meant for the academics and dead guys but it is for everyday life. He has a free, grace-filled book on addiction that you can download today, Addiction: Leaving the Vomit Behind. RJ has been married to his wife Jessica since 2007 and they have 2 kids, Elijah and Emaline.