Examining your heart after Chapter 3 may have left you grieving over your sin and needing some assurance that the righteousness of Christ covers all of your sins!
As we become more aware of our need for holiness, we need to balance our grief over sin with the life-giving promises of God— that the blood of Jesus makes us righteous because he took our sin upon himself and bore the wrath of God in our place.
“For our sake he made him sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21)
There have been times in my life when the burden of my sin became all-consuming. I felt the weight of my failure, but failed to see the provision that had already been made. God desires us to grieve over our sin. The Holy Spirit convicts our hearts so that we may be drawn to repentance and be restored in our relationship to God. He did not mean for us to carry the burden and guilt of sin for long though. Failure to give our burdens over to Jesus is sin as well. Conviction and grief should be the catalyst for restoration with God through repentance and renewed faith in his forgiveness.
“The Holy Spirit makes us more aware of our lack of holiness to stimulate us to deeper yearning and striving for holiness. But Satan will attempt to use the Holy Spirit’s work to discourage us.”
He urges us to “flee to Christ.”
But what does it mean to “flee to Christ”? How do you move past the grief into gratefulness?
Bridges shared one practical example. He chose a hymn that spoke truth to the things he was struggling with and repeated it when he felt weak. We need to be purposeful with our thoughts. I am just beginning to understand how to do this in my own life. Chapter 7 also covers some of these themes in more detail, but until then there is a great list of practical suggestions you can read in “How to Preach the Gospel to Yourself.”
I am not familiar with the hymn that was referenced, but I wanted to share a prayer from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions. If you are struggling with discouragement over sin, pay attention especially to the last part. Use it to remind yourself that Jesus is sufficient to cover your sin.
“God – All Sufficient
O Lord of Grace,
The world is before me this day,
and I am weak and fearful,
but I look to thee for strength;
If I venture forth alone I stumble and fall,
but on the Beloved’s arms I am firm as the eternal hills.
If left to the treachery of my heart, I shall shame thy name,
but if enlightened, guided, and upheld by thy Spirit,
I shall bring thee glory.
Be thou my arm to support,
my strength to stand,
my light to see,
my feet to run,
my shield to protect,
my sword to repel,
my sun to warm.
To enrich me will not diminish thy fullness;
All thy lovingkindness is in thy Son,
I bring him to thee in the arms of faith,
I urge his saving Name as the One who died for me.
I plead his blood to pay my debts of wrong.
Accept his worthiness for my unworthiness,
his sinlessness for my transgressions,
his purity for my uncleanness,
his sincerity for my guile,
his truth for my deceits,
his meekness for my pride,
his constancy for my backslidings,
his love for my enmity,
his fullness for my emptiness,
his faithfulness for my treachery,
his obedience for my lawlessness,
his glory for my shame,
his devotedness for my waywardness,
his holy life for my unchaste ways,
his righteousness for my dead works,
his death for my life.”
Do you have any favorite hymns or passages of scripture that remind you of the sufficiency of Jesus when you are feeling burdened by sin?