Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Transforming Reality of Who You Are in Jesus ~ by Ruth

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity…” (Psalm 32:1-2)
There are some days when I feel so discouraged by the presence of sin in my life. How could I struggle with so many temptations, and fail so often in obedience to Christ, if I really belong to Him? Satan takes advantage of my weakness to whisper in my ear: “You aren’t really part of God’s family…if you belonged to Him, you wouldn’t act this way.”
Did you know that voice, the voice of condemnation, is never from God? He tells us in His word, There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1) Certainly, Jesus convicts us of sin in our hearts. He calls us to confess our sins, and to draw near in our relationship where we have allowed sin to take root and come between Him and us. But He never condemns us. No matter what sin we may be struggling with, if we have been born again, we belong to Him at all times. We are clothed in Jesus’ righteousness, and God accepts us as completely right before Him forever.

Even as Christians, we still live in a fallen world and—even though God is doing a sanctifying work in our hearts—we have an ongoing war to fight with our old sinful nature. John reminds us, If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8) As long as we live on this earth, we will experience a very real war between the spirit and the flesh. As Paul described his own experience, “I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am!” (Romans 7:23-24) Do you constantly feel that intense war between flesh and spirit, and find that the flesh sometimes triumphs? You’re a normal Christian, then, just like Paul.
When I hear the voice of condemnation in my head, telling me I’m not good enough to be God’s child, I need to remind myself that this war against sin is normal Christianity! Then, I turn my thoughts to the many promises of God’s word that remind me I am His—and that because of Jesus, He sees me as completely righteous in spite of my sins.

Here are a few realities from God’s word that He uses to restore joyful assurance to my heart when I face doubts about how He sees me:

1. I am a child of God, and it was God Himself who chose me to belong to Him.

What does it mean that I am adopted into God’s family? He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13) If I have received Jesus and believed in Him, I have God’s promise that I am His child. And, incredibly, it was God Himself who desired to bring me into that intimate relationship to Him: I could never have accepted His grace, nor trusted in Him, if He had not first drawn me to Himself. (See John 6:44, 65) It was God—not me—who took the initiative to restore my relationship with Him to one of perfect unity. It was God who made the sacrifice to pay for my sins, and who drew me to Himself while I was still in my sins. I can rest assured that the God who loves me enough to do that for me will never let me go!

2. Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself on the cross was enough to cover all my sins and make me perfect in God’s sight.

When I am especially feeling my sinfulness, I need to remember this beautiful truth: Jesus’ offering has paid for all my sins, once and for all! He gave me all His righteousness in exchange for all my sins: 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 5:21) Through His death on the cross, Jesus took the wrath of God that I deserve and completely paid the penalty for my sin. In God’s eyes, then, I am viewed as perfect…even though I am still in the process of Him conforming me to His image a little more each day. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:14)

3. God loves me with an everlasting love, and will never let me go.

The Bible lays out an incredible story of God’s love for His chosen people—a love that has no beginning and no ending; a love that is not based on our goodness, but is based on Him and carried on by His faithfulness. Through Jeremiah we hear God assuring His people, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.” (Jeremiah 31:3) The greatest way in which God has shown us His love is through giving His Son to die for us while we were still sinners. He reconciled us to Himself in love, and promises never to let us go. Jesus said, My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. (John 10:27-29)

When the enemy brings doubts to your mind, tempting you to doubt your standing in God’s eyes because of the sinfulness you see in your heart and life, find assurance by going back to these Scriptural truths. First, the war against sin is normal, in the midst of the lifelong process of sanctification! Second, God loves you eternally, and in this love has given Jesus to be the perfect sacrifice for all of your sins: He has given you His perfection in exchange for your sin. Finally, if you have trusted in Christ, you have been born spiritually into God’s family and are perfect in God’s sight: now you belong to God, and He will continue faithfully working in your heart (through His Word and His Spirit) until you see Him face to face!

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully and thoughtfully written, Ruth. Thank you for reminding us of our eternal security through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. I am proud and humbled at the privilege of having you as my daughter. I love you!
    Dad (Paul Molitor)