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Greetings, and welcome again to Meditation Moments. We have been talking to you about the ladder of faith by which if you’ll earnestly climb, you can reach the great and mighty things God’s Word tells us about in Jeremiah 33:3.
Last week we dealt with the firm foundation upon which the ladder of faith must rest, and that’s the Word of God. For God’s Word says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my word shall never pass away” (Matthew 24:35). And so the ladder of faith must rest on such a firm foundation. It’s useless to start up the ladder unless you are going to take God at His Word and have your ladder that you climb up to the great and mighty things when firmly planted on that Word.
It really takes effort and wisdom to climb the ladder of faith and get real answers to prayer. Many people are satisfied with a very mediocre, common existence, although the Lord has said, “I have come that ye might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). They’re not satisfied to climb up to that, because it does take such an effort sometimes and takes a clean heart and it takes perseverance.
The first rung in our ladder is a definite cleansing of the heart. If you come to God for the fulfillment of His promises, you must have a clean heart. He can’t pour His blessing into an unclean vessel. For His Word says, “If our hearts condemn us not, then we have boldness to come to the throne of mercy and receive help in the time of need” (1 John 3:21; Hebrews 4:16). It’s impossible to have boldness if there’s condemnation upon the heart. Hidden sin robs the heart of that confidence. God sees the things that are hidden behind the door of the heart. He can’t bless as long as there’s unrepented sin in the heart.
So quick, so anxious is God to forgive the repentant heart that He says, “The broken and contrite heart He’ll not despise” (Psalm 51:17). But there’s one thing God can’t do—that is, He cannot forgive sins which are not repented of.
The story is told of two men who were attending a communion service, and the one saw his companion on his knees at the altar partaking of the sacrament. And he whispered to him, “Sam, what for y'all down on your knees and taking the sacrament when I saw you last night stealin’ a pig?” To his surprise his friend replied, “You all don’t think I’s going to let a little thing like a pig keep me out of the kingdom, does ya?”
He went right on praying and taking the sacrament. And that’s about the attitude of many a heart, that God will overlook a few things here and there and just hide them, if they’re hidden out of sight, I mean. Leave them buried in the past and God will forget them like a debt which is forever forgiven because of lapse of time But sin’s only forgiven when confessed and repented of.
All that God asks is obedience to 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Sin has to be brought out into the light in sweet humility. Confess to the Lord and oh, how quickly He forgives and cleanses the moment He sees genuine repentance.
Oh, that’s the way to start climbing your ladder of faith, because prayer is hindered when there’s condemnation upon your heart—that awful pressure that’s in your soul when you go to pray and you feel, “God doesn’t hear me and God doesn’t answer my prayers like other people. I’m not as good as other people. I’m so unworthy.” And those condemnations will definitely hinder your faith and take away your boldness in prayer.
Therefore, by a definite act of confession and repentance, you clear away all such hindrances and rid yourself once and for all of such condemnation. To the one who has by a definite act of faith put his past with every sin beneath the blood of Calvary, there is no condemnation. True, the enemy of God will try to put condemnation in your heart, but if you obey this Scripture, one we just read, 1 John 1:9, he can’t do so.
God’s Word says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). That’s the reason a clean heart is so necessary, so that you can come boldly to the throne of mercy. A heart that’s truly right with God cannot easily be accused by the Devil.
Martha Snell Nicholson writes,
I sinned. And straightway, post-haste, Satan flew
Before the presence of the most high God,
And made a railing accusation there.
He said, “This soul, this thing of clay and sod,
Has sinned. ‘Tis true that he has named Thy name,
But I demand his death, for Thou hast said,
‘The soul that sinneth, it shall die.’
Shall not Thy sentence be fulfilled?
Is justice dead?
Send now this wretched sinner to his doom.
What other thing can righteous ruler do?”
And thus he did accuse me day and night
And every word he spoke, O God, was true!
Then quickly one rose up from God’s right hand,
Before whose glory angels veiled their eyes.
He spoke, “Each jot and tittle of the law
Must be fulfilled; the guilty sinner dies!
But wait—suppose his guilt were all transferred
To Me, and that I paid his penalty!
Behold, My hands, My side, My feet! One day
I was made sin for him, and died that he
Might be presented faultless, at Thy throne!”
And Satan flew away. Full well he knew
That he could not prevail against such love,
For every word my dear Lord spoke was true!
Oh my friend, there’s room at the cross for you. God’s Word makes it so plain.
He’ll turn from sin they that have sinned,
The Savior still waits to open the gates,
And welcome a sinner before it’s too late.
There’s room at the cross for you,
Though millions have come, there’s still room for one,
Yes, there’s room at the cross for you.
Ira Stanphill, 1946
God will answer prayer for you. He’s still on the throne; prayer changes things.