For believers who are still struggling with accepting God's grace and walking in their new liberty, after falling...
Have you recently fallen from a great height? Does almost everyone you know treat you like a leper because their image of you has been stained by your sin? Do you sometimes feel like you have failed God one too many times, and maybe you have messed up for the last time? Like this is it... You're finished now?!
Maybe it wasn't so scandalous. Maybe it is nothing so uncommon. Maybe you had an affair that ended your marriage. Or maybe you had an affair that ended or damaged someone else's marriage. Or perhaps, you were cheated on, or deceived or abused by your spouse, and your marriage is failing or has failed, and you feel somehow responsible... Or maybe there was no affair, and you just didn't know how to work at nor fight for your marriage, so you let it go...you let it die.
Maybe it's got nothing to do with marriage at all, nor relationships... It could be failure at work or in ministry. It could be a crime or otherwise sinful act you committed. It could be an innumerable number of reasons or sins.
And now your identity as a Christian has taken a major blow. Your identity as a nice or good person has been shattered. You've realised that you were not really as loving nor long-suffering nor trustworthy as you thought you were or would be. You have been selfish, and when you needed to uphold a Christian standard, you thought only or mostly of yourself...
God didn't change because of what you went through, or what you did. Yes, God hates sin. But guess what, as surprising as your fall may have been to you, God knew you would fall!
He made preparation for your salvation long before you were born... Even from the foundations of the world, we are told that Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, was slain for our sins (Rev 13:8, 1 Pet 1:20)! So when Adam and Eve fell, there was already a PLAN B.
You might say, you have had your chance. And perhaps all your wickedness is evidence that you were never worthy of His grace...that you were never saved. Because we are called to good works and not to continue in iniquity (Eph 2:10, 2 Tim 2:19). That's right, but let me remind you of something...
The only unforgivable sin is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (Mar 3:28-29). Many people don't really know what that is. But if you are feeling convicted of sin, and have sorrow in your spirit because you offended God, and guilt and shame from your fall...it means there's HOPE for you yet. You still have a working conscience, and have not seared it such that you are unable to respond to the Holy Spirit.
However, a denial of the grace of God is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. The refusal of His grace to forgive ALL your sins is the blasphemy that will KEEP you in your sins, reliant on your own works and goodness to save you, which, unfortunately, it cannot. And it may even lead you to deny that God exists at all...
There is no hope of redemption in unbelief. There is no other salvation but through Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12), and blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is to deny it or refuse it as true and sufficient. And so, you have no other hope nor expectation but a frightful condemnation... Not because Jesus didn't die for your sins, but because you didn't believe in Him...you didn't believe in His atonement (John 3:18).
So, that is our lifeline, my brothers and sisters. It is your lifeline when you come at first to Christ... It is your lifeline when you fall even after coming to Him. We all fall down, we all sin, but it is only the wicked and condemned who stay down and will not accept forgiveness and repent. We know that even in the Old Testament, the righteous falls seven times and RISES again (Prov 24:16)! How much more grace is available in the New and Better Covenant, with an Eternal High Priest and Mediator (Heb 4:14-16, Heb 8:6, 1 Tim 2:5-6)?
So, do not despair, because you have let God down again. Return to the Father, and He will return to you. He is ready to forgive and restore you, and teach you all His ways so that you can walk in it. He is able and ready to use your experience to better you and bless others, and help them to also overcome sin, temptation, guilt and sorrow. He is ready to use you, if you will hand over yourself and your pain to Him today (1 John 1:9).
In the next parts of this series, we will look at what happens after you accept His grace, and how to remain dependent on His grace and continue to walk in liberty and joy.