We know, of course, how central the forgiveness of our sins is to salvation. We preach it, we believe in it. We see that first repentance and surrender to Christ as a glorious moment. We also accept that having come to the Lord, we must continue to purify our lives. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9. But in talking with many believers, I get the impression that most of us consider the on-going repentance of the saved as a not-so-glorious experience. A sort of sad necessity.
Sin grieves god. We must not down-play the seriousness of it in the life of a believer. But we must come to terms with the fact that God’s grace is greater than all our sins. Repentance is one of the Christian’s highest privileges. A repentant Christian focuses on God’s mercy and God’s grace. Any moment in our lives when we bask in God’s mercy and grace is our highest moment. Higher than when we feel smug in our decent performance and cannot think of anything we need to confess.
Whenever we fail – and fail we will, the Spirit of God will work on us and bring us to the foot of the cross where Jesus carried our failures. That is potentially a glorious moment. For we could at that moment accept God’s abundant Mercy and Grace and go forth with nothing to boast of except Christ Himself, or else we struggle with our shame, focusing on that as well as our track record. We fail because we have shifted our attention from Grace and Mercy. One who draws on God’s Mercy and Grace is quick to repent, but also slow to sin.
-Mutua Mahiaini, quoted by Jerry Bridges in The Disciple of Grace: God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness. (NavPress: Colorado Springs, 2006), pp 27-28.