Help Lord, I am a sinner!
by | Posted December 7th at 1:34am
You may go to church regularly, yet deep down you may not feel that you are saved or living as you ought to live.
This is not a strange thought to have. Occasionally, a Christian can feel that we are not where we would like to be spiritually. Generally this is a sign that the Holy Spirit is guiding you to engage mindfully in the process of responsible sanctification.
This has been the lament of even prophets like Isaiah who were very close to the Lord: “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty” (Isaiah 6:5). He felt just like you feel. He confessed he was a man of unclean lips (and lived in a world, home, workplace, or religious affiliation etc. abounding in worldliness and self-will). When contrasted with the revealed glory of the Lord, he said “I am ruined” or “I am unworthy – I’m not sure Lord how I measure up”.
As we read further: “See . . . your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for” (Isaiah 6:7). Not only at the initial point of salvation do we need this assurance! The more Christ is presented in His righteousness as we grow in holiness, the more we need assurance that the perfect righteousness of Christ is in fact credited to us. Growing in holiness is the Holy Spirit’s work of making us aware of our need of holiness, the need to follow the example of Jesus.
Once we see this need, we must always keep in mind the righteousness of Jesus Christ on our behalf, as what He paid on the cross for you: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Thus, our attitude changes: “Now, little children, abide in Him so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him”. (1 John 2:28 ) Practicing righteousness or being in the pursuit of righteousness, is our holy calling to enter this process day by day by faith. John Wesley felt that he must repent daily as he beheld the glory of the Lord.
Apostle John said, “everyone who has within him the hope of eternal life purifies himself just as Christ is pure”. (John 3:3) Just beware that in this process of allowing God to purify us, that Satan wants to leverage our awareness of the gap – the lack of our own righteousness in contrast with Christ’s pure righteousness, first when we see the difference and when we strive with the Spirit’s help applying the precious promises of the Word, to put away sin and “have this mindset, that was also in Christ” toward sin.
Bear in mind that the closer you get to Christ, the farther your righteousness will seem from His perfection. So when you are tempted to feel unworthy realize that “no temptation has overtaken you except what is common to man. He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear, and the Lord will give you a way of escape so that you can endure” these fears (see 1 Corinthians 10:13). Your fear of not being a Christian or not worthy, are common to all mankind.
When you begin to follow the example of Christ, and the command of God to “be holy as I am holy” in the light of being righteous by faith in Christ’s beauteous righteousness, Satan will try to convince you that you are not a genuine Christian after all, tempting with thoughts such as “No true born again Christian would yell at their spouse or think the lustful thoughts like you’ve have.”
Jesus spoke a parable to help us understand the need to not rely on our own sense of being righteous:
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14 ESV)
Take note that Jesus did not view the man who thought he was saved, thought he was an outstanding righteous man as the man with the right viewpoint. No. Christ looked at the man who was ashamed, confessing and concerned about his sin, as a righteous man, whom He justified (legally accounted) as saved.
Why does God bring us to these queries of assurance? Is it fear of the doctrine of election, that you are not chosen? Is it the fear of the unpardonable sin? Regardless of the questions that may haunt us due to regrets or simple misunderstandings, generally it is to bring us into a deeper understanding of the Righteousness of Christ, and our need as pilgrims to enter into the process – the journey – of sanctification (living obedient to Christ’s Word), in mind, motive, action and body.
Article posted by Glen R. Jackman, founder of GraceProclaimed.org
Glen has optimized his eldership role to teach the full scope of the New Covenant of Jesus Christ without
You can read his testimony.