One thing I’ve seen over the years is that sometimes it seems like the average Christian is more unhappy than the average non-believer. I'm not sure if that's the case everywhere, but why are we unhappy at times? Isn't this the exact opposite of what should be? Didn’t God set us free when He died on the cross?! Well I’ve pondered this question many times, and recently I feel I've come to some conclusions.
The despair of falling short
I think one of the reasons we can become unhappy as Christians is because we still struggle with sin, and it's frustrating.
When we come to accept Jesus as our Savior, we begin to feel the prompting to change into a reflection of Christ. But, being human, we fall short. And we always will. Though we desire to change, we fail. Paul describes this perfectly in Roman 7:15-20:
"I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it."
No matter how hard we try, we fail because of the law of sin and death. We Christians often come to this point that Paul describes later in Ch. 7. “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24). But sometimes we stop there in verse 24….. here we sit feeling condemned. This is the place I feel far too many Christians are. Who will rescue us?!….well, the answer lays in verse 25:
”Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord”
We cannot change ourselves, but...
You see, we cannot change ourselves, and this is something we all need to come to realize. But we are not meant to sit there and sulk in self condemnation. No, we are meant to run into the loving arms of Christ, where his blood has cleansed us!!
“Therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of Life set me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)
This means that the grace of Jesus surpasses the law of sin and death!! I once heard a pastor compare it to the law of gravity and the law of aerodynamics: Yes, we have sinned, and should die, much like falling off of a ladder, you always fall down due to the law of gravity. But if we accept the grace of Jesus Christ, we are taking up a different law that surpasses that of the law of sin and death, much like how if someone jumps off of a cliff and doesn’t fall, but rather flies because they have the proper equipment to use the law of aerodynamics to surpass the law of gravity.
Both laws are still intact, but one surpasses the other!
We still sin, but there is hope
So this does not mean we will no longer sin (we still have the sinful nature in us), but rather that we have the tools to not sin (Galatians 5:17). He always provides a way of escape for us when we are tempted (1 Corinthians 10:13). But when we do sin, God will ALWAYS pull us back up! That is the law of Grace.
So there we are. The short of it is that Christ NEVER condemns believers, He only convicts (a prompting to change). When you feel condemned, that is not of Christ. You always have hope. And God will ALWAYS Provide the escape for you if you count on Him and not yourself. Believe in Grace, and LIVE IN IT. Jesus Christ paid for all of our iniquities!
Colton Jansen's blog is Living For Jesus.