I will share a couple important concepts that have helped me live in freedom and maybe it can help you too. Here’s the first one.
Theology of the cross
When I tell people that even with my best intentions, “I still sin,” I sometimes get this funny and confused look from them that says: “You’re a Christian but you’re still stuck in your own sins. You need some help.” I used to think this way, but no more. The truth is… when we sin, we often don’t know it; and even when we do know it’s sin, we either try to deny it or hide it from the eyes of others. This is to live in fear–in fear of being found out. It’s not a way to live as a Christian.
What’s most deceptive is when we sin and fail to recognize it as sin. Example: when authoritarian-dictators commit heinous crimes like genocide, they think they’re doing humanity a favor. Ask them if what they do is a sin and they’d likely tell you it’s not such a bad thing they’re doing.
I’ve learned that the best thing to do is to not run from it but to acknowledge my sin, confess it, and fall upon the grace of God who justifies me. Yes, I am both a sinner and also a saint, all at the same time, but yet, I am also free. This is the paradox of the Christian life.
I came to understand a couple things: First, the harder I try to run away and deny my sin, the harder I will fall. My attempt at trying to look good by creating a smoke-screen to deceive and coverup my sins makes me into a hypocrite. Second, when I acknowledge and confess my sinfulness as a human being, I no longer feel guilt and shame because God’s power to forgive me is so much greater than what I can do for myself. I am now free from trying to earn my own righteousness before God and the eyes of other people. This is real spiritual freedom and frees me from any feelings of anxiety or insecurity.
By God’s amazing grace, I can boldly declare to myself, “I am forgiven!” I can rest safe and secure that I am truly forgiven of all my sins, including any unrighteous things I may have thought, said, done or failed to do. This is why I live in freedom today and I wouldn’t want it any other way–nor is there any other way to live.