Sometimes I hear that tired old lie from the enemy: "God wouldn't bless or help you because you are so sinful, sinful, sinful...just look at your faults, the wrong things you've done and are STILL doing! You've got so many hang-ups, only when you get them all in line or at least show some effort to improve, only then is God ever going to listen to your prayers or help you! Doesn't the Bible say your sins have kept God from hearing and answering your prayers??"
Guilt, guilt, guilt. I feel it, I see my mistakes, my irritable outbursts toward my kids, my self-centered actions (I'd rather read this book and be lazy than clean up this house), all the ways I could improve myself and yet I haven't (I could have read the Bible instead of surfing the net for an hour), etc. etc. If I look at myself and my behavior, I get sin-conscious and feel so low.
Yet God is so loving and kind. He has already taken care of my sin problem at the cross, and He reminds me of that! I think of how He reminded me of that just recently..
I was hearing those tired lies of the enemy, feeling guilty and sin-conscious, examining myself and my motives and seeing more faults than ever..and then last night I had a dream. In this dream, I was talking to someone and they were saying, "Oh, when we sin we go out of fellowship with God and He's not going to bless us" - something along those lines. And in the dream, I was thinking of the verse in 2 Co. 5:21 and wanting to share that with this person: "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." Or as the Phillips translation says it: "For God caused Christ, who himself knew nothing of sin, actually to be sin for our sakes, so that in Christ we might be made good with the goodness of God." Our sins were put on Christ and He became sin for us, and His righteousness was put on us and we became His righteousness. Wow!
Anyway, this morning I was going to read a couple of the devotionals in my Destined to Reign Devotional book (by Joseph Prince) and so I just opened it up to read about 4 of them. And there was a whole devotion on the verse above, 2 Co. 5:21! It was wonderful and uplifting and just what I needed to hear! Mr. Prince talked about how we are meant to be focused on how we are the righteousness of God in Christ and not focused on our sins, which are gone! God said He would remember our sins NO MORE - that's an awfully long time! And if He isn't thinking about them, then I don't need to either. I can just rejoice that I am the righteousness of God in Christ and thus qualified to the inheritance in every way. Through Christ we have received blessing upon blessing - He has blessed us already with "every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ." That is wonderful to me!
Thank You, Lord, for reminding us that You are thinking of us as righteous in Christ, not as sinful or guilty! Thank You, dear Lord Jesus, for the finished work You performed to make that so! I can truly say I am a righteous person today, all because of You! Not because of my perfect performance, but because of my Perfect Redeemer!
Excellent post! God remembering our sins no more is an awfully good long time as you said, and having our sins removed as far as the east is from the west is an awfully long distance apart that we can rejoice in.ReplyDelete
Before others, we may look like Adam, but before the Father, we look like Christ. We are holy once for all. We have been made perfect forever. We have been made righteous freely (without a cause). We are accepted in the Beloved. We are heirs, and have been sealed for the day of redemption. Our life is hid in Christ, as nothing can snatch us from His hand, as there is not one thing that can separate us from His love.
Religion is the source of pain, as we are always trying to measure up to its standards. Religion is there is harass and condemn us. Jesus Christ is the freedom of trying to measure up, because as He is in the world, so are we! When I am attacked (religion or conscience) for my behavior is when I look up and remind myself, that as He is before the Father, so am I. I have been robed in the righteousness of Christ apart from my works, so I will never again approach God on the basis of how I behave.
There is no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus, for who can condemn us when it was He who died for us?
Dave, I love what you said, and it encouraged me today - grace is the best thing going, isn't it, and I feel I just need to hear it over and over and let it just sink in deeply!ReplyDelete
"Jesus Christ is the freedom of trying to measure up, because as He is in the world, so are we!" - Love that! Jesus is freedom from trying to measure up, because we've already measured up in the Perfect Measure Up-er, the One who set the standard to measure up to, even...what a relief..
Even Paul, in Colossians, after laying out in ch 2 that we have died and in ch 3 that we have been raised with Him, says, "Put to death therefore", and, "You must rid yourself" of the things he lists... Surely, this isn't by the works of the flesh, but Paul puts the responsibility on the believer. They are not "owned by the believer" anymore, as they are of the old man, which is dead, but they must still be "put to death" (see above).... The unsaved is a prisoner unable to get free. The redeemed are the people with the Grace to live differently, but, it is still up to us to be "perfecting holiness out of reverence to God.ReplyDelete
Benjamin, thank you for your thoughts. Yes, I see what you are saying, we put to death those deeds that don't match our new self, and we don't do it by the flesh's power, but by the Spirit. I think the main way I have been able to see those things stop manifesting in my life is to have my mind renewed and just believe I am righteous! I remember one day being tempted to have bitter thoughts toward someone who had hurt my feelings or something, really being tempted and drawn toward angry thoughts, and suddenly I was remembering "I am righteous!" and it was like my new nature (or the Holy Spirit?) just rose up in me in strength and I didn't want to do wrong and was easily able to choose love! It was such a revelation to me, because in the past I definitely saw those verses as legalistic demands that I must do by my own effort. I'm still learning about this, so if you have any wisdom, please share what has helped you to put off those bad deeds in the grace/Spirit way and not the law/flesh way!ReplyDelete
Thanks and God bless you!