Failure adds confidence? This seems sort of backwards on the surface. You would think failure would cause insecurity but that is not the case in the Christian Way of Life. When out of fellowship with God, failure does bring insecurity and self condemnation but when we are in fellowship, God uses failure as a launching pad for growth. Failure brings us face to face with the impossibility of the self life(sin nature) to please God.
The lesson of sin and failure isn’t doing better next time or finally overcoming sins. It’s gaining confidence in God’s relationship towards us and His work to transform our lives. God’s goal for me isn’t the eradication of sins and arrogance. I think He is well aware of the fact that I’ll have a sin nature in my flesh till I die. I think the goal is putting off the sin and arrogance we get so easily entangled in and living in the new nature through rebound(1John 1:9). Since we get so easily entangled, we will have to put off the sin nature and it’s sins a lot. The sin nature isn’t going to get more righteous, it’s simply not possible to eradicate even one sin from it’s roster. Even if we think we are on firm grounding because we are eliminating one sin after another in our experience it may just be that we have gotten really disciplined at avoiding the ugly sins we don’t like. That doesn’t mean we are becoming more spiritual. God isn’t more pleased with me because I sin less. He is pleased with His New Nature inside me and my choosing to live in it and stay in it as much as possible.
Living in my sin nature isn’t going to glorify God even if it cleans up it’s act. The beauty of God’s plan in this is that the natural result of putting off the “old man” and putting on the “new” is less time lived in the sin nature and more time in the plan of God for my life. There may be less actual “sins” committed but they will still be committed even if maybe less frequently. We should never be shocked at the sins we commit or the arrogance we fall into. We need to rebound and get back in the plan of God.
Lets say for example that someone has a problem with gossip. They know it’s wrong and they fall into it so easily but one day they become very convicted that they must stop gossiping. So they work hard at stopping and they succeed. Only now it’s not that they are living in the new man necessarily it’s that they have trained the sin nature to stop one particular behavior. Not doing “bad” things can make life easier and less painful but it doesn’t make you spiritual. As we get older we do tend to outgrow some of our more obvious flaws and learn to avoid the things that make us feel bad or cause negative consequences but yet again, the sin nature hasn’t actually gotten any better it’s just changed it’s operation. We will actually believe that the better we behave the more pleasing to God we are. This is a complete deception. Spiritual living is living in the perfect new nature which cannot sin anyway. The sin nature begs for our attention and tempts us continually and when we choose to listen to it and let it control our soul we sin. When we choose to rebound(1John1:9) we listen to God the Holy Spirit and He controls our soul putting us back in fellowship. Why am I repeating myself? Mostly for my own benefit. The whole process is repeated innumerable times till we die. I can’t be reminded enough. I never get tired of getting back in fellowship, it’s the sin nature I get tired of. And if you say you have no sin (1John1:8) as in, you have conquered your worst sins one by one and have become more pleasing to God, then the Bible says the truth is not in you and you are deceiving yourself. We never outgrow rebound and fellowship with God or the struggle to not live in the sin nature. God being fully understanding of our dual natures made provision so that we would not ruin ourselves with the effects of the sin nature. A way out, an easy transition from sin, to spirituality. It always comes back to volition. At every moment the choice is ours. More on this subject next time.