Would you consider yourself to be a righteous person? Why or why not? Give that a minute’s thought. Tragically and to our detriment, many Christians are not enjoying the freedom and self-worth that comes from their inheritance in Christ because they don’t understand the dramatic changes which occurred in them the moment they trusted in Him. God is not waiting to see how well we are going to perform for Him. We read the passage in 2 Cor. 5:17 but struggle to see its full relevance. This is not an opportunity for pride to surface, but for gratitude to flow. Though we may consider ourselves to be “truth seekers,” as followers of Christ we are under the constant temptation to exchange the “positional” truths God exhorts us to live by for the “experiential” truths which are seen, felt and experienced by our senses.
What do I mean by “positional” truth? Positional truth is what is true about us by virtue of our position from our birth . . . . and more importantly, from our “rebirth” as we come into a faith relationship through Jesus. Then, more than ever, we must fight to embrace the truth of who we are as God sees us. This is a believer’s positional truth and too often we wander away or are knocked off this “position” which God intends to be our new identity, our “default position.”
God gave the Apostle Paul some inspired words to help us see who we really are in Christ. It starts by us understanding that Jesus is righteous. He has a right standing before God by virtue of His being morally and spiritually blameless and as such is totally pleasing and acceptable to God the Father. In Christ, this same righteousness is bestowed on us. “God made Him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him (Jesus) we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21) In Philippians 3:9 Paul again expresses the truth that we gain righteous standing with God as we enter relationship with Christ. He affords no credit or value at all to his considerable earthly accomplishments, and says “I consider them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from (observing) the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes through God and is by faith.” Believer, you also possess that righteousness!
God accepts us unconditionally on the basis of Christ’s death on the cross. (Who else does that?) Our natural human tendency, however, is to think that we must do something to earn God’s acceptance and then follow God’s law well enough to keep His acceptance after we have received it. What are some of these things we do to keep chinning on what we perceive to be “God’s chinning bar?” Go to church? (a lot) Read the Bible? (a lot). Pray? (a lot). Give money? (a lot). Observe a “don’t do” list? Serve more?
Why is it that believers think they must perform adequately in order to maintain God’s acceptance? That’s natural human conditioning, the way of the world. Striving to meet standards for acceptance is such human nature. We relate to one another that way. “Do this for me and I’ll do that for you . . . quid pro quo.” God doesn’t do Latin – – – He breathes grace. Yes, the world’s system is persistent and strong. But it runs contrary to God’s truth when it comes to who we are in His sight. As we struggle with persistent thoughts of doubt about our worth to God and our acceptance by God, we must stop and fight. We must “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and we take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.” Satan will try to convince you to strive for God and that you are an unworthy, unacceptable, sin-sick person who will never amount to anything in God’s eyes. Who are you choosing to believe? Think About It.