Here’s a different perspective, which may well be more “rationalization” than Scriptural. But, i cannot honestly deny my experience.
I was not able, of myself, to “crucify the flesh”, “strive continually to obey the Spirit”, “imitate Christ”, etc, though i thought that it was up to me to do so.
What i see instead, is that Christ has been patiently teaching me that He is doing the real “work” in transforming my life, and my best efforts to “help Him” are like a young kid trying to help his dad fix the car engine.
I don’t mean to contradict those who, like Paul, strongly encourage people to be righteous, but he also said that he himself “hadn’t yet attained to perfection”, didn’t he… (Phil 3:12) Still, he “pressed on”.
It seems to me that a lot of my being allowed to fall into sin (yet again, and again), was to help teach me that i am not the one who sanctifies myself – only He is qualified.
Yes, i have a part to play. But it is mch more a part of growing in reliance on Him living His Life through me, rather than my cleaning up my act for Him.
But our self-reliance is too subtle, and too pervasive, for some of us “slow learners” to see clearly (let alone understand), why it is not what He wants.
Isn’t there a verse (i’m pretty sure there is…) that indicates it is Christ who is working our salvation/sanctification into us, and through us, and we get to help work it out by cooperating with His guidance and empowerment?
What then, should we continue in sin in order to glorify His ability and willingness to save us to the uttermost? Nah, He often inspires us to “try harder” and yet “relax more into Him” at the same time.
So He gets all the credit from my perspective, if i get any better, and i get the benefit. Then, when He gives me a “crown” some day, i will most gladly, in fact joyfully, lay it at His feet, since He deserves it, actually.
Thus, i will be, as will we all be if we are His, a living monument to His persistence and supreme skill at saving the seemingly unsavable. Does that offer a partial answer to the topic’s question, or just an excuse?