We call ourselves ‘bad Christians’ because that’s what we are. By ‘Christians’ we mean people in relationship to Christ and other believers. By ‘bad’ we mean, we do plenty of nasty things and leave a lot of good things undone.
God took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. In other words, the life we have now is not something we produce or sustain; it is given to us for Christ’s sake and maintained by the gift and ongoing work of the Holy Spirit. Any applause we might receive for doing good belongs to God alone. It’s his mercy alone that keeps us. We need him to forgive us every second of every day, while the blood of Jesus keeps on cleaning us from all our filthiness.
Also as ‘bad Christians’ we need the community of other Christians, the preaching of God’s Word, communion, the prayers of God’s people, and the very needful help they can, and often do, give us.
We’ve tried the books, the counseling, and the retreats, but success alluded us. What progress we make as Christians comes as a gift from God. We have no idea how or why God gives it to us except for the fact it gives him pleasure.
The truth lies elsewhere: to live successfully as a Christian we need to recognize that no matter how hard we try to manage our sin, the oil-spill of our pollution continues to spread. That’s because we cannot remove the source. The problem will not be fixed until that day when God exchanges our corruption with the incorruptible. Meanwhile, we live by faith. Daily we seek forgiveness and strength by looking away from ourselves to our Savior. Our faith rests in his completed work and trusts God to make us holy as he sees fit.