I'd like to ask this question. Looking back on your life, has your deep searching of yourself truly helped you to overcome sin, or has it simply left you feeling guilty, and therefore feeling as if there's something that needs to be done to get you right with God? Let me share with you what will hopefully be good news for you, as I believe it's the truth of the gospel: The former way - deep searching leading to guilt for sin - might certainly give an appearance of holiness and piety, but it's nothing more than a flesh-based focus on self and not on Christ! Please think about this. If we beat ourselves up over our sin, aren't we forgetting that JESUS was already beat up and crucified for our sin??? Does our self-inflicted guilt and punishment really fit in with the finished work of Christ? Isn't it an INSULT to the Spirit of grace and to the broken body and shed blood of Jesus when we take any of this upon ourselves?
Indeed... what I am saying is that when we sin, instead of going through a period of guilt and self-condemnation for our sins, we immediately turn to the Lord in gratefulness and praise, thankful to Him for the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus that took our sins as far away from us as the east is from the west, burying them deep in the sea, never to be brought up again! Resting in God's mercy and grace, and focusing on the truth of the righteous people that we are in Him, will not lead to more sin. Rather, it will lead to a deeper love and commitment to Him that yields peace and righteousness, love and joy, and all the wonderful fruit of the Spirit!
What amazing good news the gospel really is! Thanks Joel for all you do to preach the good news unashamedly.