Tuesday, September 9, 2014

claiming righteousness


Wretched Sinner.

We hear that a lot. We hear it preached from the pulpit, we read it in books, we even speak it over our own lives.

Miserable Sinner.

And in light of holiness, we do feel dirty. Unworthy of His love, unworthy of salvation, unworthy to receive the gift of the Spirit. Seeing our sin in light of Him makes us miserable.

"We'll be struggling with sin until heaven."

Spoken like a cold, self-fulfilling prophecy over the lives of believers.

Do you realize how much of your life is ordered around this reality? You read Scripture, you see this call to live in the Spirit, those stiff verses in 1 John about not sinning (and you skip those) and you just hold on and pray for Jesus to come soon so you can get out of this cyclical pattern of defeat, leave temptation behind and dance free on the streets of gold.

Which is all fine and dandy, but in the meantime, you'll be living hell on earth.

Can I challenge you with something?

My question to you is this: 

Did Jesus save us *from* our defeated state, or to continue in it?

Chew that.

Before Christ, yes, we were miserable. Wallowing in sin, trapped in a cyclical pattern of defeat, unable to break free on our own strength. We were stained, blackened by sin, completely unworthy of love or grace or anything good. 

BUT JESUS.

Items on this earth are often measured by their value. Their price. You're not going let me buy a car from you worth $1500 for $200. That's stupid.

Heaven gave up everything. The God of the universe gave His Son for ME. Jesus DIED so I could live. He placed value on my life that sin had stripped away.

He gave me a new identity:

Righteous. Daughter. Redeemed. Valued. Restored.

He literally changes us - restores us to our original state of communion and intimacy with Him. He created us for Him, He *wants* us back, He *wants* us to be with Him. In fact, He gave us His very own Spirit to indwell us. To literally become our life.
"But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life." - Titus 3:4-7
When Jesus becomes our life, His Spirit moves in. In fact, literally speaking, the Spirit clothes Himself with us. That's crazy!!! We can live the very life of Jesus here on earth. We are empowered by the Spirit to walk out the impossible call. We don't have to sin anymore - no more waking up in the morning expecting to sin! To quote Dan Mohler, "You're not sin waiting to happen!" We're free!
"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you FREE in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit." - Romans 8
That doesn't sound like defeat to me.

Sure, we still walk out our lives in gratitude to our Savior for plucking us up from the mire and gunk and giving us new life. I still marvel in the awe that Jesus could use someone like me to advanced His kingdom. But that's not because I feel dirty inside and almost embarrassed that I'm a child of God, it's because I'm humbled by His love.

Get this:

I'm not labeled "sinner" anymore.

My King said I was worthy to die for - and that knowledge gives me a confidence and a strength in my back bone to walk out the rest of my life in the power of the Spirit.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come...." - 2 Corinthians 5
To accept the life of sin is to deny the power of the Spirit.

Claim your position! You might not feel it, but take it by FAITH. That's the key.

Know who you are - know the power of the blood that now flows through your veins! Yes, we may be the foolish, lowly things of the earth, but look what God can do with us! Don't quench the Spirit by putting Him in a box and saying, "Oh, but I'm such a miserable sinner - I'll never be truly free until heaven." 

That's stupid. 

Jesus didn't die to buy you a miserable earthly life. That's not the Gospel of the kingdom.

Think of Isaiah. He starts out in Isaiah 6 with "Woe is me! I am a man of unclean lips!" but then God touches him and burns away his iniquity and then Isaiah cries out, "SEND ME!" 

That's freedom. 

That's transformation.

That's walking in FAITH, with no doubting. {see James}

It's my reality. And that can be yours too.
"...All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." - 2 Corinthians 5
My dear friends.

Jesus died to give you righteousness. 

He calls you righteous. 

Claim it in faith. Let Jesus flow through your life. Walk it out in the Spirit.
"But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith..." - Philippians 3

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