Spiritual Well-Being: Mourning Over the Sin that Remains
“Just before I die sanctification will be finished; but not till that moment shall I ever claim perfection in myself. But at that moment when I depart, my spirit shall have its last baptism in the Holy Spirit’s fire. It shall be put in the crucible for its last trying in the furnace; and then, free from all dross, and fine, like a wedge of pure gold, it shall be presented at the feet of God without the least degree of dross or mixture. O glorious hour! O blessed moment! . . . Oh to be washed white, clean, pure, perfect! Not an angel more pure than I shall be, —yea, not God himself more holy!”—Charles Spurgeon
Believers’ born again nature creates a new heart within each of us, but we continuously battle to overcome the contingent of remaining sin that will be with us until physical death. The beauty of the Holy Spirit is that He generates the ability within Christians to defeat habitual sin, but at the same time, He reminds us of our inability to reach perfection in this temporary life. Our new spiritual nature is at war with our dying flesh (Romans 7:14-20), and we are constantly putting sin to death (Romans 8:12-13). As such, we are always reliant on the Lord for forgiveness and renewal.
An action engaged with the wrong motive, an impure thought that lasts for a split second, and a moment of contempt for others are just samples of our shortcomings. Consequently, becoming more Christlike serves as a catalyst for hating our own sin. This condition does not facilitate self-loathing, but it generates an understanding of our state in a fallen world. It creates humility and thankfulness to the Lord for saving us.
This paradox in which Christians live is one that only a Christian can understand. We find joy in the Lord, yet we mourn over our remaining sinful substance. Our temporary state of affairs will produce godly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10-11), but it will give us zeal to push forward. We yearn for that day that we will realize perfect righteousness in the presence of Christ.
Christ’s Beatitudes describe the humility of understanding our fallenness. Specifically, in Matthew 5:3-4, He states, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” The Greek word for blessed is makarios, which means “fortunate, happy, enlarged, or lengthy.” Jesus uses blessed to convey the spiritual well-being of followers…a well-being that is generated by relying on Him. Those who are poor in spirit due to their fallen state here on earth will engage in ongoing repentance and reliance on the Lord. This leads to spiritual comfort and a deeper relationship with God.
Ultimately, those who mourn over their indwelling sin comprehend their powerlessness without Yahweh. This characteristic is required to enter into the kingdom of heaven, and it is a hallmark of true conversion. Our victory is predicated on understanding our helplessness and exhibiting a childlike faith. Continual repentance is a lifelong reality for a Christian.
Finally, understanding our condition should lead us to have empathy for the lost. No one will escape eternal death without God’s mercy. As people who undeservingly received God’s grace, may we show unbelievers mercy by pointing them to Christ.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
But when Jesus heard this, He said, "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE ,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
…or all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith.
For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh- for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
2 Corinthians 7:10-11
For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.
1 John 1:8-10
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.