“Amazing grace” almost seems like a cliche, but grace truly is simply amazing! Regardless how degenerate, repulsive, immoral, depraved, and evil one’s sins might be, if he or she will but look to Christ in faith grace comes in like a flood washing all sin away! “Whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life,” Jesus says (see John 3:16). One is not to earn grace, for one cannot earn grace; “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast,” (Eph. 2:8-9, ESV).
“Oh! But you don’t know what I’ve done!” some might say. I do not need to know. What I do know is: “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life” (Rom. 5:6-10).
Ah, but we still feel the sting of regret. However, regret, guilt, and shame do NOT define us! Regardless of our past sins or present struggles, for the true believers in Christ, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” and “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:1, 38-39).
The writer of Ephesians is not shy in stating what we were: dead in our sins, sons of disobedience, and children of wrath (see 2:1-3). Again, these do not define those who are in Christ. The writer also states that those who are in Christ have been adopted (1:5). In Him, we also have redemption through His blood and forgiveness of sins (v. 7). Furthermore, we have been sealed with His Holy Spirit (v. 13).
Indeed, regret stings, but it does not at all define our new identity in Christ. “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Rom. 5:20). Regardless what our thoughts and feelings might say—or what others might say—if we are in Christ, we are completely accepted, and our identity is in Him.