Q: Recently I sinned greatly and went against everything I know. I know I’m forgiven, but would God ever have enough of me and leave me?  —Linda

A: It’s obvious that you’re aware of your unworthiness before God, and deeply distressed by the sin that is still deeply rooted in your nature. True believers in Jesus realize that they’re deeply contaminated with evil. Even our best efforts (“works”) are short-sighted and built upon mixed motives.

Jesus’ strongest words of criticism were reserved for Pharisees, who were unwilling to acknowledge their own sinfulness (Luke 11:39-46). One of the worst sins is self-righteousness (spiritual pride). In 1 John 1:8 we read, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

This passage indicates that we all face a lifelong struggle with indwelling sin. In Romans 7:15, Paul also told of the terrific struggle he faced as he found himself doing the things he didn’t want to do. Paul obviously didn’t experience the end of his struggle with his sin nature. To the contrary, the more he yielded himself to the Holy Spirit’s control, the more he was aware of his own unworthiness.

Paradoxically, the more that we’re sanctified by the Spirit’s power, the more we’ll be aware of our sinfulness and our dependency upon God’s grace rather than our own good works.

It was specifically because of our fallen nature that the Son of God died on our behalf. Jesus Christ lived a perfect life, died for sinners, destroyed the power of death in His resurrection, lives in heaven as our advocate, and is coming back as Savior for the church and King of the earth. Thus Jesus provided a testimony to the goodness and loving nature of God. As God, He experienced the suffering of His creation. As a human being and our representative, He was raised from the dead to give us hope. We need only repent, trust, and continue striving towards the goal (1 John 1:9).  —Dan Vander Lugt

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