Have you ever fallen into sin so badly that you began to wonder if Jesus could ever look at you, much less welcome you again? You’ve made so many promises in the past. Promises to forsake your sin. But by breakfast you find that you’ve fallen again.
Many Christians struggle with a variety of ongoing and persistent sins. They see their weakness and their pride and they cry out to God for help. And then they tumble—again.
What should they do, and how should they think about these constant battles with sin?
First, Jesus is well aware of your sin and has dealt with the guilty verdict under which you once stood.
This might seem like an obvious thing, and given your current mental state, it may seem like small comfort. That’s because sin stings. Never-the-less, it is the truth from which all the other truths about forgiveness flow.
Thankfully, salvation is not contingent on how tightly we hold onto Him, but how tightly he holds onto us. Jesus saves, restores and holds onto people just like you and me. And He doesn’t let go (John 10:28)
Secondly, it is right to make war on your sin until the day you die; this is evidence of your faith. The unregenerate are not typically interested in this fight, but you are.
You may lose many battles but, with Jesus as the Captain of your Salvation (Hebrews 2:10), you will win the war.
If doing battle is where you are at, and you want some ammo, Sinclair Ferguson has a helpful article on Ligonier about how to wage that war.
Thirdly, if you have fallen today don’t compound the sin by lying about it.
You may be flat on your face, barely able to crawl toward Jesus, but if you are facing the right direction and willing to confess, you are going to be okay.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
Dealing with the Shame
For some, the problem is not so much present sin, but the debilitating memory of past sin.
In our battle against sin, it is important not to conflate or confuse guilt and shame. Guilt is a judicial category, shame is a complicated emotion.
Because of what Jesus has done for you there is no more condemnation. The guilty verdict has been overturned. You are free.
But while Jesus promises complete and total forgiveness, while He has removed the condemnation for sin, the shame remains.
And why wouldn’t it? Why would we ever feel anything other than shame for our sin? Our sin should make us blush with shame (Romans 6:21).
Shame serves a valuable purpose. Shame in remembrance of our sin is an instrument that God employs so that we will lean more and more on Him for Grace.
So I will establish My covenant with you, and you will know that I am the Lord, so that when I make atonement for all you have done, you will remember and be ashamed… (Ezekiel 16:62-63)
Notice what God says here. He says that the shame will kick in after atonement for sin has been made.
Let shame do its work in you. Let it humble you.
If you want to feel less shame, then commit less sin. Start saying no again – to one sin at a time – and ask God to provide a way of escape.
Finally, remember that on the last day no one will enter into the kingdom of God because they had a clean run. We will be welcomed because Jesus has promised that,
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. (John 6:37)
Jesus knows that you have sinned. He knows the depths of the ugliness within each of our hearts. And yet He does not cross to the other side of the street when He sees you coming. If you come, He will not cast you out. He will welcome you with joy.
It’s astonishing but true. You may be ashamed of your sin but he is not ashamed of you (Hebrews 2:11).
He will welcome you because He loves you. You are loved more than you understand. God has always loved you. He loves you today and there is nothing you could ever do to make Him love you less.
Encourage one another with these words.