Transforming Ordinary People into Extraordinary Followers of Christ

Pastor Doug on our justification.

Who are you?  How would you answer this question? You might respond with your vocation (“computer engineer”, “plumber”, or “student”) or with your relationships (“father”, “wife”, “oldest of three siblings”), or with your interests or accomplishments (“honor student”, “musician”,  or “athlete”).  But if you are a Christian none of these are the essence of who you are.  The truest thing about you is who God says you are.

But I’ve found that most Christians don’t have a clue about their true identity and it shows in how they live.   First, you are fully dependent upon God and morally accountable to him.   If you think that your existence is the random product of chance and time, you are going to view life very differently from someone who believes that they are the special creation of a holy, loving and personal God who has a plan and purpose for their lives.  Secondly, if you are a believer, then you are “in Christ”.  We are so united with Christ that what is true of Christ is true of us his life is ours, his righteousness is ours, and his relationship with the Father is the basis for ours.

Perhaps the most important aspect of being in Christ is the truth that before God , we are “justified” (Galatians 2:15-16).  It means to be declared righteous by God with respect to the Law.  But how can God declare us righteous with respect to the Law, when in fact we have disobeyed the law, and continue to disobey it on a more or less regular basis?  One single act of disobedience renders us guilty (Galatians 3:10; James 2:10).  The law of God is a unit, reflecting his holy standards. To break one point of it, is to break his holy standard thus rendering us guilty.

But God did not give us the law with the expectation that we could actually keep it, but rather to show us that we are sinners who need a savior (Romans 3:23; Galatians 3:24).  Everyone who does not perfectly keep his law is cursed that means we all stand guilty before God.   All humanity is born spiritually dead and unclean (Ephesians 2:1-3; Isaiah 64:6).  2 Corinthians 5:21 teaches that Jesus, who never sinned (Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5; John 8:29) became sin for us (Isaiah 53:5-6).  All of happened with Jesus’ full consent (John 10:17-18).

In our “union with Christ”, Christ took the guilt of our sin and his righteousness becomes ours.  It is as if we ourselves had lived perfectly obedient lives.  All of this happens when we renounce any confidence in our own perceived righteousness and rely completely upon Jesus’ and his righteousness.   by virtue of having been justified by God at some point in the past, we have in the present peace with God. We have a standing in grace, which means that God’s disposition toward us is not determined by our faithfulness. We have an ongoing standing in grace because God sees us in Christ.   Christians must not live in sin just because we are forgiven.  We must confess your sin and repent of it.  The greatest motivation for doing that is to reflect on the fact that Jesus was crushed for those sins.

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