Accusations (K. Payne)

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Author's bias | Interpretation: conservative | Inclination: dispensational | Seminary: Western (Portland)

Welcome to disciple making:

This series on disciple making is Booklet 1 – Essentials, which is part of the program Transferable Cross Training (TCT) developed by Dr. Karl Payne. The purpose of TCT is to help equip men and women to be effective disciple makers. The materials are field tested with various proof verses that can be memorized, and each lesson is focused on transferability. It is our desire is for those who accept the challenge of discipleship that, with or without a Bible and notes in hand, each individual who has taken the time to master the concepts and principles in this series will have confidence to comfortably and biblically respond to common questions and comments from friends or enemies of Christ. By God’s grace we can make a difference in eternity by being actively involved in the most important job assignment entrusted to mankind. For more information about TCT or obtaining the booklet series, see

Please remember that the uniqueness of this discipleship series is its simple transferability. It is the expressed desire of the author that students actually use these materials after completing each booklet, by sharing them with others in a manner consistent with 2 Timothy 2:2.

Accusation by Satan and his followers often follows the vain regret of a forgiven sin, because the enemy wants the Christian to think that God's forgiveness of their sin was incomplete or that there was something they failed to do. Demonic forces do not want a Christian to resolve their vain regrets for several reasons:

If the enemy can't have you, they will attempt to prevent you from serving God.

The enemy will attempt to remind you of your past problems and failures.

The enemy will attempt to get you to focus on yourself - not others.

The enemy will attempt to always remind you that something was left undone.

"I understand the foolishness of allowing vain regrets to dominate my life. But what do I do when I still feel guilty about my past, even after I have asked forgiveness and put the situation behind me?"

Accusation is a problem with which many sincere Believers struggle. Let's do some evaluating.

If the Holy Spirit has convicted you of sin, and you have confessed it, you are forgiven and cleansed. Would the Holy Spirit reconvict you of that same sin? No, of course not. That particular sin is no longer there; it's been forgiven and cleansed! So who would be trying to throw forgiven sin back in your face and make you feel guilty and unproductive for God and His work?

Ephesians 6:16 clearly states that Satan, or one of his demonic archers; shoot arrows, tipped with fire, at Christians. Flaming arrows, which are not immediately extinguished, can burn even a born again, blood bought, pew throwing, praise singing, Scripture quoting Christian.

"Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." (Ephesians 6:13-17)

Revelation 12:10 says that one of Satan's key attacks against the brethren is accusation. He is even called "The Accuser".

(I believe that the accusation of Revelation 12:10 and the flaming arrows of Ephesians 6:16 are often one and the same thing.)

"And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night." (Revelation 12:9-10)

How does demonic accusation typically play out in the theater of your mind?


ACCUSER: You sinned - you are feeling so bad today, you must have done something wrong.

BELIEVER: Oh no. God, forgive me. I'm sorry. I'm not sure what I did, but it must have been something bad or why would I be under such conviction?

ACCUSER: You really think God will hear an insincere prayer like that? Confess your sin and pray again. You forgot to begin, "Our Father" and did not end "in Jesus' name."

BELIEVER: God, please forgive me. I really am sorry for my sin and for praying so insincerely.

ACCUSER: Didn't God hear you the first time? Confess your unbelief as sin.

BELIEVER: Father, forgive me for my unbelief. I'm so sorry I doubted your promises.

ACCUSER: Aren't you supposed to redeem the time? You wasted it. People are going to hell while you waste time.

BELIEVER: God, forgive me for wasting your time and sending people to hell.

ACCUSER: You're a loser and a terrible Christian. Do God a favor and quit. You are such a miserable example of being a Christian. Why don't you give up and die?

BELIEVER: God, I feel like a loser. Everything I do goes wrong. Sometimes I think it might be easier if I could just die.

ACCUSER: Isn't God in control of all things? Why do you go through such mental anguish when most of your friends seem to enjoy their Christian life? If God really loved you wouldn't He put a stop to this? Either God does not love you, or you are not really a Christian.

BELIEVER: God why don't You stop this if You are all-powerful? Don't You love me? You are not fair.

ACCUSER: Do you think a true Christian would attack the only one who loved them enough to die for them? You are not a Christian. Either you never were or you have fallen from grace.

On and on it goes. The longer it goes the worse you feel. Conviction of unconfessed sin needs to be confessed, but endless accusations and reminders of previously confessed sin need to be rejected, resisted and finally ignored (James 4:7, 1 Peter 5:8-9)

True guilt confessed brings cleansing and freedom because of God's total and complete forgiveness. False guilt (demonic accusations) always brings escalating feelings of frustration, depression and hopelessness, because the Christian has been led to believe that God's forgiveness is not total and complete.

How do you tell the difference between conviction from God and accusation from demons?

The intent of the Holy Spirit, when it convicts you of a sin, is to change behavior and make you better for God's service.

The intent of demonic accusation is to produce false guilt and remind you why you are unfit for God's service.

The following four suggestions can be a great help as you learn to become more discerning at distinguishing the difference between God's conviction and demonic accusation.

Know Scripture - Voices, thoughts, impressions and ideas that contradict Scripture are not from God.

Specific or General - The Holy Spirit convicts Christians of specific sin, seeking to restore our fellowship with God. Demonic archers accuse in generalities and dredge up forgiven failures from our past, hoping to destroy our active fellowship with God.

Listen for pronouns - Demons typically accuse Christians using second person singular (you) or first person plural (we - when there are more), pronouns.

Pray offensively - Most Christians have learned to pray defensively (Psalm 27). The Bible is replete with examples of offensive prayer as well (Psalm 35:1-8). Defensive prayers assume we must just hang on and endure the firestorm. Offensive prayers ask God to attack the attackers.


Four suggestions to help distinguish between God's conviction and demonic accusation:

  • Know Scripture
  • Specific sin or generalities
  • Listen for pronouns
  • Pray offensively

Karl Payne's personal note: I grew up in a home that would have been considered moral and ethical, but not religious. Both of my parents were teachers. Dad was a Mathematics / Science specialist for the Sacramento City School District and my mom taught grade school. My Dad would occasionally pray for our food, but we did not read the Bible or discuss religious topics. I decided my first Sunday of seventh grade that I had no real interest in church or Sunday school and informed my parents that I would no longer attend either. I assumed I was a Christian because I had been baptized as a child at my mom's request, but my primary interests were baseball, football and music.

On June 17th, 1970 I became a Christian while attending a youth retreat sponsored by Young Life, a Christian ministry focused upon reaching high school students. The two biggest hurdles I faced in that decision both related to honest assumptions. My first assumption related to what I had understood it meant to be a Christian. I assumed that I was a Christian because I had been baptized. Christians get baptized, I had been baptized, therefore, I was a Christian. I also thought that heaven, if it was real, was attained by being a nice person. I reasoned that since on a moral and ethical scale which had the Pope on one end and Hitler on the other, that my live style was closer to the Pope's than Hitler's, thus making me a shoe in for heaven if God was fair.

The second assumption I had made related to education. In eighth grade my science teacher told our class that "religious people were mental cripples who needed a crutch to get through life." I was very impressed by this teacher and took to heart what he said. In the eleventh grade, my physiology teacher told our class that "educated people believed in evolution." As I grew older my education had become more important to me. As a result of several teacher's comments I assumed that it was not possible to think deeply and still be a Christian. Religion in my mind was therefore something for nice people who were not too concerned about an academic education. My first assumption was to confuse churchianity with Christianity. Churchianity represents men and women making their best efforts to reach up to God and receive His approval, based upon their individual efforts to be found worthy in His eyes. Biblical Christianity is a message explaining how God has chosen to reach down to mankind through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, providing salvation by His grace as a free gift to all who believe, in spite of our unworthiness. Religion is essentially a message of man reaching up to God. Christianity is a message detailing how God has reached down to man. Religion exalts man. Christianity exalts God. I had received just enough religious training to confuse religion with Christianity and had rejected an honest consideration of Christianity in the process. My second assumption was to confuse naturalism, dialectical materialism and the suppositional baggage assumed to be true by both philosophical world views, with actual empirical data and good science, which provides conclusions based upon testing, observation and repetition rather than wishful thinking and naturalist / atheistic suppositional indoctrination.

On the 17th of June, 1970 at 8:00 P.M., I listened to a gentleman clearly explain that God's plan is that I have eternal life (John 3:16, John 10:10, Romans 5:1), but that my problem with sin (to miss the mark in word, thought or deed) had separated me from Him (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23). This sounded more like bad news to me than good news. He went on to say that God had provided a remedy for my sin by sending His only son Jesus Christ to die on a cross as a payment for my penalty (2 Corinthians 5:21, Philippians 2:4-10, 1 Timothy 2:5, Romans 5:8, John 14:6, Ephesians 2:8-9), but that it was absolutely necessary for me to respond to His remedy for the remedy to be effective (John 1:12, Romans 10:9-10, Revelation 3:20). I bowed my head in that room and quietly asked Jesus Christ to become my Savior and Lord. Jesus came into my life and has made me a new person, from the inside out (2 Corinthians 5:17). That was nearly thirty-one years ago. Knowing Jesus is more than religious activism or academic curiosity. It is a real relationship. Spiritual maturity is a process (1 John 2:12-14) that should continue to develop and grow as long as we are alive.

God used a Campus Crusade for Christ high school ministry to teach me that aggressive, reproductive Christianity (2 Timothy 2:2) should be considered normal Christianity. Sincerity is necessary for Christian living, but it is not sufficient for impacting our world for Christ (Matthew 28:18-20, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, 2 Timothy 2:15, 1 Peter 3:15). He has used several godly men, seminary and nearly twenty-five years of serving in church ministry to teach me that making disciples means far more than leading people to Christ and asking them to pray and read their Bibles. It is impossible to give what you do not have or share what you do not know. When people tell me that their Christian faith is boring, what they are really telling me is that they do not pray, they do not study and they do not give away what they have been given. The Christian life is an adventure that is exciting to live and share. To judge Christianity by people who sit on their hands, criticize others and turn a living faith into dead religion is to misrepresent Biblical Christianity. Christianity was never meant to be lived as a passive spectator sport.

Dr. Karl Payne, at heart, is an apologist who loves to train and equip Christians for spiritual service and warfare (Eph.4:11-16). He enjoys preaching, writing and retreat / conference / seminar speaking. He derives his greatest pleasure tackling the challenge of teaching Christian workers, interns and budding preachers / teachers at both the Bible College and Seminary levels. In addition, he has co-authored two books: A just Defense and Cross Training through Multnomah Press.

Series: Skill Builder
Vain Regrets

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Author Index: Payne, K

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