Does this sound like you? I try to read my Bible every day, but I don’t read it as much as I should. Sometimes I see a person walk by, and I just know I am looking with lust. I hate my sin, but there are times when I sin anyway. I just keep noticing more and more how much sin is in my life. I fear I am going to hear Jesus say, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”
The more you grow in holiness, the more you will realize how sinful you are.
If that sounds familiar, welcome to one of the paradoxes of Christianity.
The more you grow in holiness, the more you will realize how sinful you are. That’s right, the more you abhor sin, the more you’ll recognize its hold on you (Romans 7:23).
You must understand this paradox, or else your Christian life will be riddled with doubt and fear. While it is the Holy Spirit who ultimately grants assurance (Romans 8:16), He has provided some guidelines so we can know where we are in our walk.
The Bear Grylls Analogy
Have you seen that madman on TV, Bear Grylls on the Discovery Channel, who gets dropped into dangerous locations to demonstrate survival tips? Imagine Bear is walking across a desert in a sandstorm. As the storm lifts, he realizes he has miles to go until he reaches the other side. His only comfort is looking back to see 10 miles of desert behind him. He is not where he wants to be, but he is farther than he used to be. That should describe your Christian walk!
Staying Out of Ditches
As we examine ourselves to see if we are in the Truth, we must hold two things in tension.
1. God is growing us in holiness.
Remember, our life is not perfection, but we should be moving in that direction.
2. We are not holy enough.
If you examine your fruit and recognize that you are growing in holiness but fail to see that you are not as holy as you should be, you will become self-sufficient and prideful, and worst of all, you will forget the grace of the gospel.
However, if you only recognize that you are not as holy as you should be but you fail to recognize that God is growing you in holiness, you then will always doubt your salvation.
As a Christian, you sin too much, but Jesus died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6). So there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).
As a Christian you will keep growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). You don’t do as much as you should, but Jesus did! His perfection has been credited to your account. So when you confess your sin, He is faithful to forgive you and cleanse you (1 John 1:9).
You must proclaim that good news to yourself daily, or you will certainly end up in the ditch of despair or in the pit of pride. God does not want you in either place but rather walking with confidence and assurance that you are His.