What does this verse say we used to be? It says we were once darkness. But now what are we? Now we are light in the Lord. Does it say we have any leftover darkness to eradicate? NO! Does it say we are part dark/part light? NO! Does it say we are somewhat dark in some areas and still need to work on those and grow to be 'more light?' NO! We WERE once darkness, but NOW we ARE light in the Lord! Jesus is ALL light and we are in Him, thus we are ALL light! His work on the cross was perfect and complete, eliminated all darkness from us, transferring us from darkness to light, from the kingdom of the evil one to the kingdom of the Son. We are totally out of darkness and totally into light. We are no longer dark in any part, and we are light in every part! If there is one little bit of darkness somewhere, we couldn't be said to be 'light' - this tells us that there isn't one little bit of darkness (evil, lies, sin, rebellion) in us! We are completely, wholly light in the Lord! Are we trying to be light? NO! We already are! Are we trying to be less dark or get rid of some darkness in us? NO! The darkness is already gone and the true light is shining in us, Jesus, who is our life; and as He is, so are we, so we also are light, shining and radiant! God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all, and that is who is in us, who is our life, who is light in us! He has made us light with His own lightness! We will never be dark again, we are pure light now, as new creations in Him.
So we see that we are already, we are not trying to become. We could use many other words or scriptures to show the same truth. We are already beloved children of God, not trying to become that. We are already wise, not trying to become wiser. We are already chosen, not trying to get picked. We are already new, not trying to get rid of the old and become new. We are already righteous and holy, not trying to become righteous and holy. We are already complete, not trying to get complete! We live in the 'already there' with God, not in the 'not yet' of struggle and self-effort. We are in a place of rest and completeness! We are in the resting place of grace where all is done and we've already become, not the striving place of law where we feel we must do or become!
You know, it seems that the difference between law and grace is that difference between striving and resting, between 'not yet there' and 'already there', between a sense of deficiency and a sense of completeness!
It is the difference between becoming and being: Law ('becoming') involves my struggles, strains and failures, and always leaves me feeling like I'm not what I ought to be..yet Grace ('being') involves rest, relief and happiness and allows me to enjoy this journey called life, knowing God is already fine with me and I'm already all He wants me to be, for HE re-made me a new creation in Christ, with Christ as my very life and nature, and His work is finished, complete, beautiful and perfect for all time!
Simply trusting in the finished work of Christ seems too easy, yet it is the only way to experience abundant life! It is so simple to just see that 'oh, He already did it all, He already MADE me all I need to be, He already GAVE me all I need for life and godliness!' Relief! What an awesome gospel of grace!
This tells me two wonderful things:
- I am ALREADY who I 'ought' to be, ALREADY as I 'should' be...because Jesus met fulfilled all the 'shoulds' and 'oughts' for me and made me a new creation birthed out of HIS work and HIS reality!
I can rest! To rest means: to cease from exertion; to be refreshed, at ease, and satisfied because the work is already completed and is good. Grace means I don't have to try, struggle, strain, or even change/improve. Grace means I can rest, cease from exertion, be refreshed, at ease and satisfied. Grace means Jesus has already done ALL for and in me, so I can REST in the complete work He did in me..
Trying to become something you already are, thinking you are deficient and needing improvement, looking at your faults and sins and trying to 'fix' yourself, these are all living out of our own self effort, living focused on the old man that you used to be, living by the flesh (human ability). Living by the flesh is trying to fix up something that is dead and gone..yuck! Who wants to associate with a corpse? That is what our old self is, with all its hangups and problems - it is a dead thing, a corpse! So why live in relation to what you WERE, the old self? That is not who you are now! That person is dead and gone, doesn't exist anymore, and doesn't describe or define you. It isn't you! It's someone else!
Why not be yourself? It's easy to be yourself. It's natural and free and automatic. There isn't any stress or strain in being yourself. You are a new self, a new creation. You are spirit, a spirit being now! You are a person who is at home in the spiritual realm, for that is your real environment. You are born from above, a citizen of heaven! You are not of this world! You have been recreated by the Holy Spirit, and the Life of Christ, His Spirit, is your very life source now! The righteous Spirit of christ is your nature, the source of your being, and the material you are made of! Thus, it is natural for you to live by the Spirit. Living by the Spirit is enjoying the newness of life we have with the Spirit, who pours God's love over our hearts constantly like a waterfall!
This great fact of not being the old self but now being the new self is so liberating. It reveals a great truth to me about the problems I may see in my behavior, thoughts, etc. So what about all the hangups, problems and sins I may see? I realize all my issues and hangups were just leftover memories of the old existence I had before Christ, and that the old 'me' with all the problems and messed up personality died on the cross, is dead and gone and doesn't exist anymore!
If the old me with all the problems is dead and gone, and I am a new person and not that old person anymore, then that means I don't have any issues! I don't have any hang-ups! I don't have any too-hard to work through problems! In fact, I am NORMAL! Sure I can learn more about walking out this new me, but it is great to live from "I already became" rather than "I must become"... :)
The great lie of the enemy is to try to make us think we are not ALREADY righteous and fine in Christ, and that we thus need to 'try' to improve or get better. Satan wants us to try to 'become', trying to distract us from the fact that we already ARE!
That is why we need to 'preach the gospel of grace' to ourselves every day, reminding ourselves and renewing our mind to the truth that we are righteous new creations in Christ, with nothing wrong with us and everything right with us, with all sin forgiven and gone and with everything perfectly right between us and God, all because of Jesus' finished work!
Jesus' work was finished! That means complete and done. He isn't needing us to do more to add to His work. He has already taken away and forgiven ALL our sin. He has already made us TOTALLY righteous before God. He has already made ALL the old things pass away. He has already made ALL things new. We are totally new and not any bit old. We are not sin anymore but are the righteousness of God in Christ. There is nothing we need to or can add to His work, which is done! We are in complete harmony and peace in our relationship with God. The sin issue has been totally dealt with. We have a perfect righteousness. There is nothing between us. There is complete access. There are no barriers. We are not far from Him. We are one with Him! We have been given a perfect relationship with God, and we have been made perfect new creations. We are complete in Him and all is complete in our relationship with God!
Preaching this gospel of grace to ourselves renews our mind to the truth. It keeps us from being tricked by Satan into thinking we are not already new and thus must try to improve or change or get better. And it is the secret to enjoying the freedom and real life that Jesus already gave us! Remember, you don't have to become, you already are!