Thanks, everyone, for all the input and the clarification. I knew that if I brought my 'confusion' and my question here, it'd be a safe place to get "sorted out."

I think it may have been MarieP who pointed out that my confusion was between justification and sanctification. I was hanging up on the idea that it is as if I always obeyed and missed factoring in the forensic aspect of justification. It's good to be straightened out when you need it!


Trust the past to God's mercy, the present to God's love and the future to God's providence." - St. Augustine