The Gospel cries out to us ” the good news of mercy” ….not condemnation!
So many of us as Christians question whether we are truly forgiven of our sins. Day after day, many of us struggle in life and simply don’t believe in the truth of the cross. For various reasons, we fail to recognize and stand on the truth of our identity in Christ as believers when the Bible clearly states; “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinth 5:17
The same scripture says we have been reconciled and that “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them“!
Please understand, I am not advocating that salvation is an excuse to continue sinning, or that once we are saved, it’s OK to continue living just like everyone else in the world, stuck in sinful behavior. But I am saying, that once we are saved, we are no longer defined as sinner’s in God’s sight, and we can get on with the business of His spirit transforming us into greater holiness.
If God says this, then why is it so hard for us to believe Him on the topic of forgiveness? Why do we continue to condemn ourselves and give up the “squeaky clean identity” that God has given us through grace, the first time we slip and sin? God knows we are not perfect, yet He still sent His son while we were still sinners! Not to condemn us before being saved, and certainly not to condemn us after being saved. He came to redeem us, AND restore us so that we could in fact, have victory over sin in our lives and walk out real Holiness. God so loves us, that He still found a way to make us righteous in His sight, despite being born into a world filled with sin, He came back for you and me, so that we might be restored back into His image! That is the ultimate beauty of His Mercy and Grace- He loves us so much, that He in fact found a way to STOP condemning us through the law of the old testament….He sent His son and set us free from the bondage’s of sin!
So then, why do we run and hide in shame as Adam did, rather than turning to the one who understands our struggles? Why do we hide instead of running to our Father who loves us and knows us and wants to teach us how to be more pure. Why aren’t we running to Him and giving Him thanks for giving us a heart that recognizes our sin, which allows us to strive to be more like Him. Why aren’t we understanding that it’s “the goodness of God that causes a man to repent” and not the condemnation of the enemy? Why aren’t we running to Him to be restored, when the moment we asked for forgiveness through Godly sorrow, we were forgiven? We do this because we fail to understand our position in Christ, fail to see our righteousness as God sees us, and we believe the lies of the enemy who is condemning us, telling us we are still sinners, leading us to feelings of shame and guilt and hopelessness, while telling us we could never overcome our sin.
Verse 20 Further clarifies our position by saying “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” Paul was saying (my words)…..”It’s not about trying harder, it’s about knowing we are being reconciled through what Christ already did for you and I, it’s about really believing Christ died for ALL men and for ALL sins, and moving towards God by receiving forgiveness from our sins, and knowing we are no longer slaves to sinful thoughts and behaviors!! When we receive Jesus, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit and when we receive the full baptism of the Holy Spirit, we receive power from on high to overcome temptation in ways only the Spirit of God could overcome!”
It’s counter productive (and exactly the lie Satan wants us to feel/believe) when we allow the sins of yesterday, to torment us to the point when we start to believe we are still sinners, while the cross tells us it “is finished” and we are now clothed in the righteousness of Christ. We need to stop wearing the old garments, because the highest price was paid for a new white garment of righteousness that we can now wear as Christ stands at the right hand of God interceding on our behalf today and every day. Romans 8:33 explains it well in saying who can bring charges against Gods Elect? That’s you and me as believers, now able to stand before the throne of God in boldness because of what Jesus did, not because of our works but by His work on the cross.
Romans 8:33-39 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”[c]
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The end of 2 Corinthians 5 says it this way: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” That verse isn’t saying that it’s our responsibility or that we have the power to do something that makes us become the “righteousness of God” (…yes we are called sanctify ourselves and not use Grace as a ticket to sin which is a topic for another day!) .That said, it’s still entirely by God’s grace that we have become the righteousness of God, because HE who had NO sin, became sin for us and was punished and put to death for our sin….. He (the sacrifice) makes us righteous in God’s sight, because God knew we could never do it alone and God loves us so much, that He found a way for us to become truly forgiven, sinless, and pure in His sight. Forgiven yesterday, today, and tomorrow, not as an excuse to sin more, but to grow in Godliness as we live out our lives becoming slaves to righteousness and not sin. How awesome is God!
The truth is, we were sinners and children of the world, before being saved by Jesus but now, our identity is that we are no longer sinners, we are children of God. That’s not blasphemy, its in the Bible! Does that mean we never sin? No of course not, but it does mean we are no longer carry the identity as “sinners” in God’s sight. And no longer being sinners, we are now considered children of God, “the righteousness of God through the blood of Christ”. That means once we believe that we are no longer sinners of the world, we start to become just how God see us as “righteous” and through His Grace, the act of sin begins losing it’s grip on us…..BIG DIFFERENCE!! Don’t miss that difference; one says you are a sinner of the world, the other says you are a child of God, restored to righteousness through the blood of Jesus. If you are believing your are still a sinner, then you are believing a lie (the biggest lie of all lies!) and allowing the enemy to define you as one of his own (a sinner), allowing the lie to make you think you are helpless to stop sin, which keeps you stuck in that very sin, and in doing so we are missing the opportunity for God to transform us through His grace, and we lose our full inheritance as a child of God! Seriously, this is so, so crucial to who we are in the Kingdom of God, and what we need to stand on in our faith, and it’s exactly where our power and authority comes from to defeat the enemy, resist temptation, and crush “the lie”. If we fail to understand this, we fail to walk in a way that gives us power to overcome sin. It’s really that simple.
For years, how many of us have walked around with our heads hanging low proclaiming “I’m just a sinner”, “Darn, I guess I’ll always just be a sinner and I just have to accept it because I just sinned again yesterday!” The cross never promised we would never sin or we wouldn’t need to repent, but it did change our identity and we are no longer seen as “sinners” in the eyes of God, and we are no longer identified as “residents” of this world, a lost world filled with people enslaved by sin. We are now citizens of heaven, children of God, heirs to the Kingdom…..big difference in God’s eyes and a big difference on how we defend ourselves against sin and temptation. One comes from a world of weakness where sin destroys, the other comes from the power of heaven where sin is overcome…think about it. It’s a theme throughout scripture as to where we gain our true strength and how we resist the Devil. It comes from our identity of who we believe we are…one way or another we act upon and become who we believe we are inside, and what we feed our minds and beliefs changes everything. It’s why Jesus said so often “If you only believe”!
If we hold onto a mindset that we are sinners or that we have not really been forgiven, then we completely miss what Jesus was trying to tell us this when he said “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” He was saying “You can’t follow me if you are looking back at the “old” and dragging a bag full of your past sins behind you!” He wasn’t condemning us, He was trying to help us understand live in the freedom of forgiven sin and righteousness; He was saying that we are missing the point of His crucifixion if we are looking back at our mistakes and we don’t fully believe what He said on the cross, “it is finished!”
Did He or did He not promise us when we believe in Him our sins are forgiven and we are given a new heart and we are adopted into God’s family? Did He or didn’t he have the power to say: “But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”. Do we not believe scripture when the Psalmist remind us? …..”As far as east is from west—that’s how far God has removed our sin from us. Like a parent feels compassion for their children— that’s how the Lord feels compassion for those who honor him”, Ps 103:12
We honor Him, when we stand on the truth of His scripture and when we fully believe His word and believe, ……we honor His death on the cross, when we fully receive His gift of forgiveness, and don’t make excuses by saying “but, you don’t understand what I’ve done”!
We honor Him, when we see ourselves as God sees us, and when we stop believing the lies of our enemy who accuses us and tries to convince us we are no different after being saved, or that we’ll always be stuck in our sin, or that nothing has really changed in me, or that I wouldn’t/shouldn’t be struggling if I’m saved and a new creation right? Lies, lies, and more lies!!!! Those very lies making us think as if we are still sinners, and those are the very lies that keep us from breaking free from acts of continuous sin. If we see ourselves as sinners, then we will in turn, act like sinners! One follows the other…it’s simple. Our identity in Christ matters, it is the foundation for our walk and who we become if we keep our eyes fixed on the things above, and not the sinful nature of the world around us. Colossians 3 1-3 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Scripture says “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. John 17;14-16
Make sense? Eventually, the enemy knows if he gets you to believe in his lies that you are “of this world” long enough, you‘ll start thinking about your sins, start condemning yourselves, and then believe that nothing much matters until I get to the other side of heaven. He gets us to focus on “Poor me, I’ll always be a sinner until I’m glorified in heaven”. That my friends, is the lie that says “but I’m just a sinner who will never change”, which is not your identity; that my friends is the timeless bondage of our enemy whispering in our ears keeping us down with lies and deception, keeping you from hearing and feeling the true love from God, who sees you as sinless. The enemy is terrified we’ll get the revelation “Oh My Gosh! I really am a child of God, made for eternity in heaven, filled with the nature of God (not the world), with a destiny to bless the world with God’s great love for humanity, with the real power to live a life today free of sin, and be the children who spread the light of God into the darkness of the world.” How nervous do you think that makes Satan?
Keeping us believing we are sinners is the work of the great liar who is exalting his lies above the true knowledge of God, and who is trying to deceive us of whom we are in Jesus (2 Corinthians 10:5). What (and who) we believe matters, (the truth of God’s word, or the lies of the enemy?) and what we stand on for truth, matters and controls our destiny.
If we stand in the truth of the gospel and see ourselves as God see’s us, then we start walking in the truth of who we are and the call of sin, has far less influence and temptation falls on deaf ears as we are conformed into the image of Christ as we begin to walk in true righteousness. Somehow, by believing and keeping our thoughts on things above, we open the door to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to do a greater work inside of us and by the grace of God, we are changed from glory to glory! (2 Corinthians 3:18).
John give us a glimpse of how hard Satan works against us in Rev 12:10 “for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night”. And in John 10:10 Jesus reveals “The thief only comes to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
So when Jesus asked “Simon Peter, son of John, do you love me?” three times, Jesus wanted us to understand that one of the biggest weapons used by the enemy is the canvas of our mind, our doubts, and our emotions, and condemnation. He wanted Peter to understand, that the enemy takes truth, partial truths, and our doubts, and bends and twists them to cause division, strife and turmoil inside our minds and emotions, convincing us we are worthless sinners, robbing us of peace, killing the steadfast love from God that binds relationships and families (and us to God as Peter was ashamed and separated from Jesus), attempting to steal the very seed of Christ’s righteousness that was planted in our hearts as believers. (Parable of the farmer and the seed Matt 13:18-23)
Day and night the enemy comes attempting to steal that seed and destroy the very image of God in us (beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord), that was planted our hearts, and the enemy toils long and hard attempting to convince us we are something less than the image of the beauty God knits into our being. Satan knows, if we doubt who we are in Christ, then we become double minded and have become a divided house “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand”
If he is successful, then we deny ourselves our rightful position as “sons and daughters of God” and “heirs to the kingdom“, for then, we do not see ourselves as God sees us when we believe the lies of the enemy. We then live in unbelief, “stuck in the lie” (bondage), and the lie cycles in us again and again, keeping truth from breaking free in us, keeping us from walking in the fullness of who we really are in Christ Jesus, keeping us from living our destiny in the way God see us.
If we believe the lies, we doubt ourselves, question our worth, and at times, the greatest torment for a believer, we may even question if we are saved. That is the battle we wage within. That is the web the enemy spins against us, and that is why it is so important to understand who we have become; “forgiven children in Christ” by His death and resurrection. Jesus..
Make no mistake, Satan is very good at deceit – he is the author of lies and has done it a very long time since the days of Adam and Eve. He hates God and works very hard to deceive us about the things of God, the love of God, His mercy, and His grace towards us. Genesis 3 reminds us “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.” …. he has whispered lies and twisting truth since that very day in the garden. Daniel 8:25 said “Through his cunning He shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; And he shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy many in their prosperity. He shall even rise against the Prince of princes; But he shall be broken without human means.” (through the cross).
Why would Satan go through so much trouble? If you are wondering the answer to that question, then that is probably a good thing for you and that very question exposes the goodness in your heart! Besides the fact Satan is a liar, a thief and a destroyer and the author of sin and promotes all things against God, He hates God and if He can’t directly hurt God, then he’ll go for the next best thing, God’s children! That’s you and me! Anytime Satan causes a man to stumble or become separated from God, or believe the lies of this world, he hurts God because “God so loved the world He sent His son” to redeem us, and let’s not forget, Satan would love to crush, “all men who were created in His image”! Satan knows if he can “hurt man”, He can lash out and hurt God through hurting us…..it’s simple revenge, pride, and anger at it’s worst, which are the exact opposite of God’s nature, and The Holy Spirit within us, and Godly love.
So who are you placing your trust, faith and hope in? Will you trust “the ways of the world”, and he who controls it, or the ways of God the creator who has already defeated sin and death through Jesus?? … you and I need not fear death because we have won the battle in the end anyway! Amen?
Friends, if we are to be successful servants to God, then we need to take heed and follow Paul’s advice ….”casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God” 2 Corinth 10:5
That means, Know who you are in the Kingdom, don’t let the enemy “rent space” in your head, stay single focused, and DO NOT BELIEVE THE LIES OF THE ENEMY!!!!! Live free, accept the truth and nothing but the truth when God said, “our sins have been forgiven!”
May God bless you!