At our worst and our best
(repost from Firstimportance.org)
Imagine your worst moment of guilt and shame, the memory that, when you let it, haunts you and threatens to hound you to the grave. In light of that sin, we sometimes cannot imagine how God could possibly forgive. Yet it was for that moment that Christ died for you. At your worst, God gave you his best. While you were still a sinner — of the worst kind — Christ died for you (Rom. 5:8). The Passover teaches us that no debt of sin is too great to be forgiven because the precious sacrifice of Jesus pays it all.
Now imagine your best day. You’re on your winning streak, behaving well, keeping up with your spiritual disciplines, forgiving those who wrong you, helping those in need and leading non-Christians to Jesus. In light of such stellar Christian performance, we sometimes assume forgiveness, telling ourselves, ‘Of course God forgives me; I’m on his team.’ But the Passover teaches us that we don’t — and never could — deserve God’s forgiveness. Our debt of sin to him is so great that we couldn’t possibly pay God back, not with a thousand years of perfect performance (as if that were possible). On your best day, when you can most easily see yourself as God’s friend, your sin still makes you his enemy and requires Christ’s death so that you might truly become his friend despite yourself. God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
— Mike Wilkerson
Redemption: Freed by Jesus from the Idols We Worship and the Wounds We Carry
(Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2011), 75