Who is responsible for your maturity in Christ? Is it all about you and your obedience or is all the Holy Spirit’s doing?
Do you have days when you feel you’ve done nothing but blow it as a Christian? You haven’t loved well, you ran out of patience, you didn’t think about God for an instant.
What does God think of you when you’re in that condition?
“Return to your baptism everyday,” Luther said. Remember you died in Christ, were buried in him, and were resurrected in him. All your sins are forgiven and washed away. God sees them no more.
Paul would say,
“For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.” – Romans 6: 5-7
You have been set free to live as a believer in Christ.
Before faith, you were a slave to sin. You couldn’t love or serve God. The only things you could do were to:
1) live in darkness
2) provoke God’s wrath
3) heap judgment on yourself
But God, who in his mercy called you from death to life, who gave you the gift of faith to believe in Christ and him crucified, now enables you to freely love and serve him.
You are a freed slave learning to live as a free man or woman in union to Christ.
How does this work out in daily living?
Justifying faith is God acting upon you – you are a passive recipient. He changed your heart, he made you capable of believing the gospel. You didn’t produce that yourself. You had no power.
Sanctifying faith is accomplished by the Holy Spirit who causes you to desire God and enables you to obey God. This new action will result in your good works.
You will produce fruit.
So if you’re worried about how you’re doing, don’t be. Looking inside your heart will demoralize you. It’s not pretty in there.
The solution is to keep looking to Jesus.
He’s the author of your faith, and to God who will give you everything you need to keep loving and serving him.