I recently was talking with someone who is going through a lot not only in their personal life but in their spiritual walk as well. They mentioned that they were saved at the age of 11, but because they have made so many mistakes in their life, they question whether or not they are really saved. Here's what I had to say in response to that:
Our propensity to sin doesn't go away once we accept Christ and our salvation doesn't dissolve when we sin. Let's look at a few biblical examples:
- Moses - murdered a man with his bare hands and then covered it up. He didn't trust God and struck a rock for water when God told him to speak to the rock. Because of that, he didn't enter the Promised Land of Canaan because of his sins.
- Abraham - the father of our faith distrusted God many times and tried twice to pedal his wife off as his sister.
- David - raped Bathsheba and murdered her husband.
- Peter - racist who had to be publicly called out and corrected by Paul.
- Paul: dragged both men and women off to jail for believing in Jesus. He also held the coats of the Pharisees who stoned Stephen, the first martyr of the faith.
- The Disciples - all but John deserted Jesus when He was being tried and crucified.
Your grief over your past mistakes assures me that you are close to the Lord and that your salvation is secure. This might sound weird but the fact that you struggle with sin is proof that God is working on your heart. In a sense, the ability to know our sin is bad and to fight against it is a gift. John 10:27-30 says,
"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” - John 10:27-30
You need to know that God is better at forgiving than you are at sinning. You also need to know that God sits outside of time and space. You and I are confined to time and space. We can only exist in one place and one moment at a time. But it's different with God. He literally exists in the past, present, and future at the same time. That means that before He saved you, He knew the worst thing you would ever do and He still saved you. And He's not sorry that he did -- He's delighted that you're his. And because Jesus took the punishment for ALL of your sins, there is no wrath left over for you. He was already punished for that thing you can't forgive yourself for.
So accept his grace -- it cost Him his blood and His life. Instead of trying to clench your teeth and obey, spend time with Jesus by reading your Bible. You can't white-knuckle obedience for very long. But as you grow closer and closer to Christ, your love for Him will steer you away from your sin and toward His beauty and radiance. Your desire to know and grow in Christ can only come from the Holy Spirit. The Apostle John wrote, "We love because He first loved us." - 1 John 4:19