It doesn't seem possible to me that a person could walk with God for five decades and not realize their weaknesses and short-comings. I say to me because the hearts of others are hidden from my sight. I am aware of the Apostle Paul's struggles, so it is correct for me to write in this way. He wrote, "Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me." (2 Corinthians 12:9) Because there is an awareness of the battle with evil, which at times means we come up short, passages like John's first letter are very comforting. "But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1:7) Cleansing is in the present continuous tense; therefore, it could read, "goes on cleansing us..." Of course, John continues in 2:1, "I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin."
MY REASON FOR WRITING
The reason for writing these things is because there are passages in the Bible that almost don't make sense unless we have a balanced view of God. I have softened much over the years. God has continually broken me of pride and many sins; therefore, His grace has become very large and very much appreciated. It is almost hard to view the world with anger at times because apart from God's grace, I know I would inevitably spend eternity in hell. So when I look to heaven, and I hear from the spirits of righteous men made perfect, I must assume their prayers are righteous also. Their prayers are this, "When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" (Revelation 6: 9, 10) These righteous men call for blood, vengeance, and that God's restraint would be removed. It is clear to me that God is equally just and merciful; this is not a head knowledge to which I speak. The confusion is from the heart. To consider today's preaching and measure it by the past, confuses me also. The sixties and seventies contained much in the way of hellfire and brimstone by today's standards. Then there are the preachers of the Great Awakening.
Their foot shall slide in due time.—Deut. 32:35. "In this verse is threatened the vengeance of God on the wicked unbelieving Israelites, who were God's visible people, and who lived under the means of grace; but who, notwithstanding all God's wonderful works towards them, remained (as Deut. 32:28.) void of counsel, having no understanding in them. Under all the cultivations of heaven, they brought forth bitter and poisonous fruit;" Jonathan Edwards, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God
I am just a man that is saved by grace. Judging others is left to God, certainly at this time. The gospel is to be preached without judgment or any unkindness. For these reasons, it is wise that God allowed us to battle with this body of sin, the world, and the devil. It softens us and makes us more like Jesus, for which I am grateful. Therefore, I appreciate Paul, "Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:10) Furthermore, when people sit under the light of God's word, hear of His mercy and love, harden their hearts to the sufferings of Christ, under the ministry of the Holy Spirit, I understand the Father's fury. All though I want to cry because I don't know why I receive mercy. God is righteous, and all His ways are just. The judge of all the earth will do right. He always does. His word is faithful and true; He is worthy of praise, and honor, and glory. There is none like Him. The saints call for vengeance out of reverence and love for God, His Word, and especially His Son. I am torn between demanding God's honor and, as in Paul's words, "I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh..." (Romans 9:1-3)
DO YOU SEE JESUS IN THE PASSAGE?
"The Lord GOD has opened My ear, and I was not disobedient. Nor did I turn back. I gave My back to those who strike Me, And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting. For the Lord GOD helps Me. Therefore, I am not disgraced. Therefore, I have set My face like flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed. He who vindicates Me is near; who will contend with Me? Let us stand up to each other; who has a case against Me? Let him draw near to Me. Behold, the Lord GOD helps Me; who is he who condemns Me? Behold, they will all wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them." (Isaiah 50:5-9)