Even when I was devout, I went as a doubter to the altar*, and as a doubter I came away again. If I had made my confession, I was still in doubt; if, upon that I left off prayer, I was again in doubt; for we were wrapt in the conceit that we could not pray and should not be heard, unless we were wholly pure and without sin, like the saints in heaven. -Martin Luther (Quoted from Sears, Life of Luther, 84)
Such is the turmoil of anyone that is not trusting in Christ as his sure foundation. Until Christ is our surety and hope we will continue like Luther muddling through our religious exercises full of doubt. Only in Christ do we begin to experience the substantial healing of being accepted.
If you resonate with this post a helpful book is Jerry Bridges’ Transforming Grace. Check it out.
*Keep in mind that when Luther says “to the altar” he does not mean what we would today. There is no such thing as “going forward” or an “invitation” in Luther’s day. Luther here is referring to the Catholic Mass.