After we are born again, we still sin. However, the difference is, we feel it acutely. Before, we sinned and our hard hearts of stone didn't feel the least bit bad. Or only a little and not for long. But post salvation, our sins weigh on us terribly, now that we know God and have been reconciled to Him.
Do you feel condemnation when you repent? I know we all feel the burden of our sins. It is so easy to slide into self-condemnation when we look at the wretchedness of our own selves compared to the majesty of His grace. But don't allow the slide! Here's why.
The sanctification process
When we repent and are forgiven of our sins, we become justified. Jesus as Judge removes the penalty of our crimes (sins) from us and brings the gavel down and we are declared 'not guilty.' That's justification. We are declared just before the Judge.
Then He sends the Spirit to us to sanctify us. Becoming sanctified means the Holy Spirit Who dwells within us is working to mold us into a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:7; Romans 6:4). This is the ministry of reconciliation and the Spirit's work in creating us as new creatures in His likeness. (2 Corinthians 3:18).
See, before the fall, Adam was made in the image of God, in His likeness. (Genesis 1:26). When Adam and Eve sinned, we were no longer creatures who looked like Him because sin was found in them, and now, us. When the Holy Spirit comes into us, He works to reverse that devolving sinning process as long as we are on earth. When we die and our souls go to heaven, and we eventually get our new bodies, the sanctification process will be completed at the glorification. Our new flesh will be completely free of sin.
When I pray to Jesus in my private time and I repent of the day's sins, I could easily slide into self-condemnation if I allow it. My sins are so many and His perfection and glory is so great! O, how utterly I understand Paul's lament, "For I do not understand my own actions. "For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate." (Romans 7:15).
Condemnation vs. Self-Condemnation
So why don’t I allow condemnation? Why is it important not to allow that slide? When I look at my
sin and ask for forgiveness, it is because of His glory. I believe as Thomas Watson the Puritan wrote, “Man's Chief End is to Glorify God”. He chose us, justified us, sanctifies us and will glorify us through His Son for this purpose- to bring glory to Himself.
His condemnation rests on the unjustified. (Romans 1:18). All His condemnation is stored up to be poured out forever on those who refuse to believe.
So I have to remember, what glory does it bring Him to condemn the justified? The most glory that can be brought is His ever-working Spirit sanctifying believers into Christ-likeness. His grace expressed on the wretched believer is something that is so glorious that even angels long to look into it. As Jamiesson Fausset Brown Commentary so eloquently puts it,
As the cherubim stood bending over the mercy seat, the emblem of redemption, in the holiest place, so the angels intently gaze upon and desire to fathom the depths of "the great mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels" (1Ti 3:16). Their "ministry to the heirs of salvation" naturally disposes them to wish to penetrate this mystery as reflecting such glory on the love, justice, wisdom, and power of their and our God and Lord. They can know it only through its manifestation in the Church, as they personally have not the direct share in it that we have.
The more sin I bring Him and repent of, the more glory He gets.
Ultimately I have to tell myself that there is a difference between dwelling on the fact that I am condemnation-worthy, and knowing I am worthy of condemnation but I escape it through His grace.
It is the great mystery of Godliness! The former glorifies me, and the latter glorifies Him.
So bring Him your sins in a ministry of prayer and repentance, and bring Him glory by submitting to the Spirit in sanctification. Do not wallow in self-condemnation but glory in His grace.
I hope you find this encouraging. His grace is unplumbable, and the mystery of His love to us is unfathomable. Yet He promises rest.
Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. (Hebrews 4:1)
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