Evangelicalism today has a form of godliness, but denies its power. They speak of the truth that they sin, and that they are sinners, but they dare not admit the biblical truth that we are sin from head to toe.
I thought that the following statement by the great Anglican J.C. Ryle expressed this truth perfectly:
The more real grace men have in their hearts, the deeper is their sense of sin. The more light the Holy Spirit pours into their souls, the more do they discern their own infirmities, defilements and darkness. The dead soul feels and sees nothing; with life comes clear vision, a tender conscience and spiritual sensibility. Observe what lowly expressions Abraham and Jacob and Job and David and John the Baptist used about themselves. Study the biographies of modern saints like Bradford and Hooker and George Herbert and Beveridge and Baxter and McCheyne. Mark how one common feature of character belongs to them all—a very deep sense of sin.
Superficial and shallow professors in the warmth of their first love may talk, if they will, of "perfection." The great saints, in every era of church history, from Paul down to this day, have always been "clothed with humility."
He that desires to be saved, among the readers of this message, let him know this day that the first steps towards heaven are a deep sense of sin and a lowly estimate of ourselves. Let him cast away that weak and silly tradition that the beginning of religion is to feel ourselves ‘good.’ Let him rather grasp that grand scriptural principle, that we must begin by feeling ‘bad’ and that, until we really feel ‘bad’ we know nothing of true goodness or saving Christianity. Happy is he who has learned to draw near to God with the prayer of the tax-collector "God be merciful to me a sinner" (Luke 18:13).