“For I am conscious of nothing against myself. Yet I am not by this acquitted, but the one who examines me is the Lord. Therefore, do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts.” (1 Cor. 4:4-5)
Paul knew the sinfulness of man, before and after conversion. Certainly, there is a great difference between the two inasmuch as the former is not forgiven and there is no assistance from God getting back to the straight and narrow, and the latter offers both of those in abundance. However, Paul realized man’s propensity and skill at justifying, rationalizing, and covering up transgressions, which leads ultimately to self-deception. This is why he said he knew of no claim darkness, nor another man, had upon him yet he was not by this found righteous. Even the great Paul knew better than to trust his own assessment of his spiritual condition, and to trust only in the Lord’s examination of his condition.
And what was Paul waiting upon the Lord to clarify, but two of the believer’s greatest enemies in this life? One, the aforementioned propensity to hide in darkness the things we do not want exposed to light and, two; the reason we do such things in the first place. God always looks to the heart, for it is not what we do that matters to Him but the “what” and the “why” together that means everything. This is why Jesus didn’t care that Peter had denied Him, but rather asked Him three times, “Do you love me?” Jesus knew if Peter answered that one rightly all else would fall in line. What are those things you have “hidden in darkness?” And more importantly, why did you hide them? That’s what counts and your answer to Him, like Peter, will make all the difference when He finds you hiding in your Garden of Eden.