We've had this discussion about transparency and self-disclosure before, and I suppose I tend a little toward the more transparent side.
(which makes some people a little uncomfortable. maybe i should develop a rating system for my personal blogs--G for won't make anyone uncomfortable, ST for starts to reveal a little about me, but mostly only good stuff, and VT for I'm going to be extremely open, including things about me as a sinner you won't like so don't read it unless that won't bother you. anyway...)
While some of you may read the extended entry and say, "Of course, David, that's obvious," I am posting it because it's also possible some of you are just like me and need another reminder, regardless of how well or poorly it's done, that we live by grace.
(in fact, it touches on issues I have thought a lot about lately, particularly this question: Does God judge repentant believers for post-salvation sin?
Along that same vein, does He only chasten or punish in order to bring us to repentance? Does He allow the consequences of sin to be our sole punishment, or does He bring some kind of direct judgment? If the punishment for all my sins was taken by Christ, what is that saying about the threat of ongoing punishment? Am I failing to apply basic principles about grace or, on the other hand, am I ignoring valid principles of warning about sin and its repercussions?
I mean, I remember when God suddenly dawned it on me that I can't make Him love me any more than He does, nor can I make myself righteous. Seriously. That may sound a bit absurd, but I honestly thought that in the work of sanctification, mine was the lion's share. I also thought God was waiting to club me for my sin; however, I don't want to lose a valid fear and respect of Him and recognition of the gravity of sin in favor of a mamby-pamby lightness in the face of evil. I don't want to repeat some of those same mistakes in regard to this specifically.
Some of the answers seem clear, while others allude me. And I'm not sure where some of the answers will lead logically, and how that applies to the preaching and teaching I get normally. So basically, I'm saying I'm confused about something theologically (not a position I like to be in) and am in the midst of working through it. In light of that, on to the extended entry of some current musings that I wrote the other day.)
I have been impressed again by both my need and failure to properly understand grace and my relation to God. A long struggle late in my teen years brought me to the proper biblical understanding that I needed grace for sanctification just as much as I did for salvation (Gal. 3:3), yet I continue to struggle with strongholds of a works mentality.
Most recently, this applied to my view of sin after salvation. I have been more and more impressed by Godís Word that I am free from Godís condemnation, for my sins before and after my conversion. I am accepted in Jesus Christ. I have grace and forgiveness in Him. My peace, even after I have failed the God of Heaven, comes from the grace found in Jesus Christ.
I do not have to wonder if God will forgive me, or if I have irreparably destroyed my relationship with Him, or if anything I have rebelliously done is evil enough to separate me from His love. Sin is not a trivial thing, nor is God complacent about evil, but neither is Godís forgiveness to be bought with my effort.
For so long I have attempted as a Christian to merit my forgiveness. I have refused to see myself as forgiven until something bad happened after my sin that I could view as Godís punishment, or at least until sufficient time had past for me to feel like I could finally be restored.
A proper sense of remorse and hatred of sin is eclipsed by feelings of guilt, shame, and hopelessness that I not only entertain but also feed on, even in the face of the repeated promises of righteousness in Christ. While I would clearly decry works in relation to salvation, somehow I fail to apply those same truths to my post-regeneration sins.
I have not had a properly high estimation of the wonderful sufficiency of Christís sacrifice.
While these thoughts may strike some as juvenile, they have recently come home to my heart as liberating. I think they probably are juvenile. It is basic Christianity to know what Godís grace is. It is the Gospel applied to the ongoing Christian life. But I am thankful for Godís prompting to teach me to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our wonderful, forgiving, liberating Savior.