In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace (Ephesians 1:7 CSB).
The fifth cause of a believer’s struggles about “that one sin” can be summed up by this way: The cause of trouble is the failure to realize the believer’s union with Jesus Christ. The basic teaching about the believer is that he or she is “in Christ”. For example think of 2 Corinthians 5:17. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (NIV) The fullest teaching of this truth is found in Romans 5-6 and Ephesians 1-3. “Wear out” those pages of your Bible if you need to, but learn this truth. It is found throughout the New Testament letters, for example, Colossians 3:3. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God (CSB). We must know that we are in Christ in order to live correctly in God’s presence. The Holy God desires that his children enjoy the riches of his love, joy, and peace, and this way of life comes from the assurance that being in Christ provides.
You must lay hold of the truth that God looks at your and accepts you because you are in Christ. His righteousness has been credited to your account by grace through faith in him. You have the fullest liberty to approach him in faith in Christ—even when you have sinned. Nothing can shake your standing in Christ. You do not need “to work yourself up into good feelings” about your spiritual position. You simply need to trust the Lord’s promises in the word. We too easily slip into a “performance righteousness” and resultant feelings of acceptance after we have sinner. It is too easy to think that “God doesn’t really like me” until we have a “proven track record”. It is not that we would claim that our perfect obedience is the basis of our acceptance. “Oh, we would never do that! Horrors!” It is simply that we want to feel good about ourselves before we feel worthy to ask for forgiveness and then live boldly in God’s presence. And this is practical, functional, performance righteousness that denies the gospel in our walk with God.
This is the test that we really our trusting in Christ and his righteousness and not in our merits or ourselves. If you have been relying on your good works and what a sweet, lovable person you are to “get God to like you”, then what will you do when convinced of the guilt of your sin, when you no longer feel sweet and lovable, and can’t boast about what good things you have done? But if you confess that Jesus Christ came into the world to save the worst of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15) and that your only hope and ground of boasting is in him, then you can glory and rejoice in Him. You can say, “I know I have sinned, but I also know a trustworthy saying!” Then in faith you will be able to give glory to your King!
What is your confidence, what is your boast today? Run away from self-reliance and run to the Lord Jesus Christ. Bow before him, and rely upon his grace and mercy. O that God would give you joy in the Lord!
Grace and peace, David