It does not matter what you do to try to clean yourself up. If you don’t trust Jesus to save you through His grace, all your righteousness is as filthy rags in God’s sight. Your flesh isn’t accepted before God; it can’t even be reformed. All flesh was done away with at the cross and now a new Man has come forth—the Christ-man—and true faith is having confidence in what He did for you.
You may say, “I find it hard to believe that a troubled, failing Christian like me could be precious to God. He has to be disgusted with me, because my life is so up-and-down. I have problems I can’t seem to get through. Oh, I believe He still loves me but surely He is disappointed in me because I have failed Him so often!”
Please understand: Isaiah’s wonderful prophecy of grace (see Isaiah 43:1-5) was spoken to a people who had been robbed, snared in holes and cast into prison—all because of their own foolishness and unbelief. It was at such a point that God said to them, “Now, after all your failures, I come to you with this message of hope—and it is all because you are Mine.”
I will never forget the pain I endured when one of my teenage children came to me and confessed, “Dad, I’ve never once felt as if I have pleased you. I’ve never felt worthy of your love. I feel like I’ve let you down my whole life. You must be really disappointed in me.”
Those words hurt. I embraced that tearful child, hurting deeply inside myself. I cried as I told this child, “But you have always been special to me. You have been the apple of my eye. When I’m on the road conducting crusades, I think of you and my whole being lights up. Sure, you’ve done foolish, wrong things at times but you were forgiven. You were truly sorry and I never once thought less of you. You are nothing but a joy to me.”
So it is with many Christians in their relationship with the heavenly Father. The devil has convinced them they have disappointed God and will never be able to please Him. Consequently, they don’t accept His love and they live as if His wrath is always breathing down on them. What a horrible way to go through life—and how pained God must be when He sees His children living that way.