That moment where your past legalism meets your present freedom!
Ever have that moment where you say to yourself: why did I teach that? I feel the need to call the hundreds of students I have taught and beg them for their forgiveness in adding weight and confusion to their lives. I am thankful for the grace God gave me during those times but am haunted by the thought of people walking away from their life in Christ because of foolish teaching on my behalf.
One of the truths I was confronted with was this: that my relationship with Christ will never be lost, even if I sin! I had taught many times that we are completely forgiven but that our prayers would not be heard if we sinned (quoting Psalm 66:18). But then I would be confronted with the fact that Paul teaches that our sins have forever been forgiven (2 Cor. 5:17-19). How can this be? If God does not hold our trespasses against the new believer, how can He not hear me because of something I had done? How can my sin, forever forgiven because of Christ in me, keep Christ from hearing me? This is something that danced around for many years.
The reconciliation of these passages is that I have a new heart and I will always have the ear of Christ. The problem is that I often keep my ear from Him. My prayers might not be heard, but are always answered by my God. I might not like the answer because I hear the waiting song on my cell phone while God tells me to hold on. I might not like the no He says or the "I have a different plan". But this I know, He always hears my prayers and answers them. This I now too, I don't always hear the answer because of my sin.
The reality of a believer in Christ is that we will always be "IN CHRIST". That can never be taken from us, not because we do good things, but that Christ has sealed us forever. Christ does good things through us. It is an astounding thought and hard to grasp when you have lived as a legalistic like I have most of these years.
Let me leave you with this thought: why does Paul call the church at Corinth "Saints" (1 Corinthians 1:2) and then take the next 16 chapters to rebuke them? Is it because they were not "In Christ" or maybe not living like they were "In Christ'?