An evangelist once proclaimed: “When I look at myself, I don’t know how I could saved. When I look at Jesus, I don’t know how I could be lost.”
Who, when looking at oneself, at one’s life, at one’s thoughts, at one’s motives, even at times one’s actions—doesn’t despair of salvation? Imagine a mirror that revealed the innermost depths of your soul? You’d want to smash it after one glance.
But the good news is that, despite this, you can have salvation in Jesus Christ. In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul, in chapter 7, bemoans his own spiritual condition, proclaiming, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find” (Romans 7:18). That is, he knows what is right, what is good, what is moral, and wants to do it but doesn’t always. That is, he falls, he sins, he makes mistakes, he doesn’t live up to what Jesus taught and lived Himself.
Can you relate?
However, Paul also writes: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1).
No condemnation? Not because you are now, suddenly, holy, perfect, never falling, never sinning but because you are in Jesus Christ who died for you. Yes, in Jesus we now walk according to the Spirit, not the flesh, in that we are not dominated by the flesh, and we are not slaves to it. But we are still sinners, still in need of grace, still in need of Christ’s righteousness covering us.
No question, looking to yourself, even while walking “in the Spirit,” can be a discouraging way to live. Which is why we must look at Jesus, and the promise that we have, in Him, of “no condemnation.”