In 2 Cor. 5:21 Paul wrote “He made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (Jesus).” As marvelous as it is, justification means more than just the forgiveness of our sins. In the same act of love through which God forgave our sins, He also provided for our righteousness, our right standing before God, our worthiness to stand and not grovel in His presence.
I’ve heard this “mis-preached” before and perhaps you have too. Or maybe something dangerously similar. “Don’t you know that someday you’re going to die and God is going to flash all your sins upon a giant screen for all the world to see?” How tragic is a message like this which completely distorts God’s gracious gift of justification? Regardless of whether you have heard erroneous messages like that, many Christians still struggle to own the truth that once we accept Christ, God declares that we are no longer condemned sinners. Any voice to the contrary smells like smoke! God says to us in Hebrews 10:17 “And their sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more.” We are completely forgiven by God. Will you argue that point with Him?
Do you think that when God considers you He deceives Himself in some way or does not know who you truly are? Really? If He knows who we truly are, and He does down to our cellular level, then why do we preface His understanding of us with phrases like “in God’s eyes we are righteous” or “forgiven” or “loved” or “pleasing” and so on? Are we saying that God is not living in reality? That we know who we are better than our Creator? That He is somehow involved in self-deception? Is He just some old grandparent prototype who wants to overlook the faults of His grandchildren? Such thinking dishonors who God is. If you do it, stop it! Either God knows who you are or He doesn’t.
Let me ask you this. If you think of yourself differently than God thinks of you, who is mistaken, you or God? How often do we allow our minds to overrule what God says is true? And all that He says is true. Keep in mind, you were made by and for God. “All things were created through Him and for Him.” (Col. 1:16) He has purposely placed within you needs that only He can meet. If we try to have these needs met by another person or persons, we will end up frustrated and unfulfilled.
Here is an equation common to many people in their pursuit of self-worth. Self-worth = Performance + Others’ Opinions When you and I equate our self-worth in this way, we judge ourselves by a formula bound to enslave us in a performance trap. Look at the equation again. Is it familiar to the way you see yourself and concern yourself with how you perceive others’ seeing you? Try this exercise on for size: Visualize two ledgers: On one is a list of all your sins; on the other, the righteousness of Christ. Now, exchange your ledger for Christ’s. This exemplifies justification, transferring our sin to Christ and His righteousness to us.
An addiction to the approval of others or the misunderstanding that, as a Christian, God’s standard for you and I is perfection are both obstacles to receiving and living the truth. Understanding our complete forgiveness and acceptance before God does not promote a casual attitude towards sin. Instead, it gives us a stronger desire to live for and serve the One who freed us from the penalty and power of sin. Think About It.