I know that David Engelsma also teaches the importance of sanctification conjoined with justification – and perhaps that is where the confusion here arises. For the same Holy Spirit that effects the new birth in a believer also is given him or her to indwell that person, giving them a new heart and begins the rebuilding of the entire character, conforming it to the image of Christ.
When one is remiss in pursuing holiness – perhaps through laziness, complacency, worldliness, outright sin – and one's heart is not actively seeking to commune with Christ, then our assurance wanes, and we can become very nervous and anxious as to assurance that things are well with us and the LORD, as without holiness no man shall see the Lord (Heb 12:14).
We often fail in our path of progressive sanctification, and would be downcast without remedy, were it not for the blessing of justification where our forensic or positional status as beloved before God, clean, and holy in His eyes (Col 3:12) because we are in Christ, renews us in courage and joy so we are able to walk the highway of holiness, which new character of ours wanting to do so is wrought in us by the Spirit of Christ.
We can do this because Christ's presence – which we have by faith, with a clean conscience – enables us.
Without ongoing sanctification we do not have assurance, although justification is the foundation, so to speak, of our entire life with God in Christ. Consider what is written in 1 Cor 1:30: "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption".
I won’t ask you anymore questions here. Please message me privately if you need to.
I must press upon you the weight of eternity. You do not know which day could be your last. If you do not close with Christ then you will die in your sins.
You must, you must seek the Lord while He may be found. While it is still called today. How can you go on in your sin? You must cry out to Him by the promises of the Gospel until He saves you. His promise is that those who seek will find, those who ask receive, it will be opened to those who knock. He does give grace to the humble.
Does the Lord Himself not say “Come now, and let us reason together”? (Isaiah 1:18)
Does His word not declare in 2 Peter 3,
“the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
You said (in post #110), "I dont see how a just God can show mercy. He must give to each what they deserve." And that He does! He did not show Christ mercy, but rather the full extent of His wrath. The wrath due to wicked lifelong sinners who would trust Christ as their sin-bearer, that wrath was exhausted upon Him, and no more is left for us who cleave to Him – cleave to Him so as to unite with Him – "baptized into his death.... Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." (Rom 6:3,4)
God gave to Christ what all trusting sinners deserve, without a spec of mercy. God's perfect and full justice was manifest in this. The sin-bearer rose again from the dead, and ascended into Heaven, God having accepted His substitutionary atoning sacrifice in our behalves. He has no wrath for Christ now, as Christ never sinned; God has no wrath now for sinners who by faith are in Christ, for that wrath was received and our debt paid in full. Now He can show mercy to whomever He will by virtue of their pleading His merits.
Do you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus (that He is the Lord of glory manifest in the flesh), and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead? Then you shall be saved. For with your heart you believe unto receiving justifying righteousness; and with your mouth your confession is made – is efficacious – unto salvation in the eyes of God and His angels. (Romans 10:9,10).
Every single creature (you included) is manifest in his sight – and all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do, and He hears your heart and words. If you come to Him now, He will not cast you out (John 6:37), but will receive you with gladness. The gospel is about how He can be both supremely just and merciful to the likes of us. He says to you – if you will receive it – "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt 11:28).