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“This is not an invitation to moral apathy but to godly sanity. The bad news is far worse than occasionally failing to live up to my potential. The smallest sin in my eyes–not only what my hands have done, but what I’ve conceived in my heart–is sufficient to banish me from God’s holy and joyful presence forever. But the good news is far greater than the bad news is bad. The good news is far greater than “just try harder next time.” In fact, that is not good news at all because I know that God does not grade on a curve and he has not asked me to try harder. He demands perfect righteousness, not good intentions. The harder I try to cover up my nakedness in God’s presence, the more I hate God, fleeing in self-deceit from his terrifying presence. Left to myself, I will always accuse God and excuse myself–even using religion to hide my ineradicable guilt. The good news is that Christ’s righteousness is greater than my sin. Fully absolved in Christ, I am free to confess my sins, receive the assurance of pardon, and go on in my imperfect yet Spirit-led obedience.”

– Michael S. Horton, Christless Christianity, 121.