Thursday, October 27, 2011

Day 7 of 42 : Two Important Words

Galatians 5:1

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

An important part of standing firm in the gospel and avoiding legalism is understanding the difference between the work Christ accomplished to save us and the work of becoming holy that He enables us to participate in after we've been saved. 

JUSTIFICATION refers to your status before God.  When you placed your faith in Jesus, God the judge handed down the verdict that you are righteous.  He transferred the perfect sinless record of Jesus to you.  God completely and totally forgave you.  He not only wiped away the record of your sin;  He credited the righteousness of His Son to you.

SANCTIFICATION is a process - the process of becoming more like Christ, of growing in holiness.  This process began that instant you were converted and will not end until you meet Jesus face to face.  Through the work of His spirit, through the power of His Word, and through the fellowship with other believers, God peels away our desire for sin, renews our mind, and changes our lives.  This ongoing work is what we call being sanctified.

Too many people confuse the process of sanctification with God's declaration of justification.  In other words, they think that their work at becoming holy and fighting lust is what saves them.  No!  The process of sanctification is the result of being justified.  Nothing we do in our pursuit of holiness adds to our justification.

All the necessary and important aspects of pursuing holiness don't add to our salvation; they're the response to and the result of God's finished work of justifying us.  Christ died so that we could be freed from the hopeless task of trying to justify ourselves.  We no longer have to grovel in obedience under the rule of our human contracts, or what John Stott calls our "system of merit".

Our obedience cannot earn our forgiveness.  Our sorrow cannot pay for our sins.  Our tears cannot cover them.  No amount of self-inclined punishment can make us right before God.  Even our own death is not enough.

There is only one solution : to believe on Jesus Christ. To renounce all hope in our own ability to save ourselves and to place our faith in His ability to save us.

*Not Even A Hint (Joshua Harris)

No comments: