I’ve always been a perfectionist. Even as a kid, I wanted to be great at things on my very first try, and I would get so frustrated when I messed up or struggled. As I’ve grown in my faith, I’ve seen those same tendencies flare up time and time again. I sin, I repent, and then I sin again. And then, I get frustrated with myself, because shouldn’t I have learned this lesson the first time? Shouldn’t I be a better follower of Jesus who doesn’t keep messing up and forgetting what He taught?
There have been times where my mistakes and my failures have led me down a path of seriously doubting my faith and my salvation.
Could Jesus still save even a wandering, struggling sinner like me? Would He even want to?
Maybe you’ve asked some of the same questions. Maybe you’ve felt the fear of wondering if you are truly saved or if God could truly love you despite what you’ve done. Maybe you’ve doubted who God is or what He says about who you are. There are seasons of life where all Christians wrestle with these questions.
Joshua Rogers shares his own story for Boundless of how having a strong group of Christian friends in college led him to focusing on his external behavior and developing a legalistic faith.
“At the heart of my legalism was (1) an unshakable fear that I might actually be going to hell, despite my Herculean efforts to please God and (2) a belief that I could manipulate Him with my obedience,” Rogers explains.
He shares five specific Bible verses that helped transform how he viewed God and his personal journey of faith:
- “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate” (Romans 7:15, NLT). I, too, have found this verse to be comforting. I so often feel like I know what I should be doing, yet I see myself doing the total opposite, and it can lead me to feel increasingly insufficient as a Christian. Knowing that the apostle Paul wrestled with the same disconnects between his faith and his behavior reminds me that we are not alone in our struggles. This verse doesn’t let us off the hook, though, but instead should draw us back to the God who rescues us from our sin. (Romans 7:25)
- “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48, NKJV). “The call for perfection always left me feeling defeated until one day, out of desperation, I thought, But I can’t be perfect,” Rogers writes. “And I sensed the Holy Spirit respond to my heart, “You sure can’t — not without Jesus — that’s My whole point!””
- “For by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (Hebrews 10:14, NIV). Look carefully at the wording here– “He has made perfect” is in past tense. That has been done in Him. But we are still “being made holy” in an ongoing process of sanctification. “Therefore, Rogers says, “on this side of heaven, I shouldn’t expect to see my perfection, but the promise of it has already been secured by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.”
- “For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21, ESV). This can be a mind-blowing thought. Jesus literally took our sin upon Himself when He died on the cross. He became our sin so that our sin would die when He did. In Him, our sin is dead forever and can no longer keep us separated from our Father in Heaven. It is through Jesus that we can be made whole, be made perfect, and become the righteousness of God. How incredible is that? It reminds me that my sin does not get to define me forever– Jesus has offered us salvation and a new life together with Him for all eternity.
- “I give [My sheep] eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand” (John 10:28-29, NKJV). Our God is greater than our sin. When I feel like my behavior will change God’s mind about me, this verse reminds me that it is not my performance that determines the outcome of this story. Jesus has already conquered sin and death once and for all, and we cannot be snatched away from our Father.
These verses are convicting reminders that despite my imperfections and all the ways I fall short, nothing can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:39).
What verses comfort and encourage you in your daily walk with Jesus?
Share them in the comments to uplift your fellow believers!
Rachel Dawson is the editor of BibleStudyTools.com