I was teaching a group of 7th-8th graders, reflecting on Easter’s truth, and it came out of my mouth before I even really knew what it meant: “in my time as a Christian, I have had a difficult time reconciling my continual sin and my identity as righteous in Christ because of his death and resurrection.”
The Bible speaks plainly and beautifully:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. (Ephesians 1:3-10)
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:6-11)
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:27-31)
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:4-10)
Confession: I apologize to God most often for my forgetfulness.
I am blown away by the goodness of God, then I idolize entertainment and miss out spending time with Him. I am overrun by His Fatherly tenderness and love for me, then I make a mistake, am consumed with anxiety, and try to earn His favor. I forget the magnitude of His Son’s death on the cross in my place, and I give affection to lesser things.
Is it crazy to confess on the internet that I dislike this about myself? I don’t like that I still struggle with sin as badly as I do. I don’t like the constant battle with idolatry, pride, and selfishness. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s right to hate sin. But I don’t believe feeling weary in guilt-driven effort to avoid, stuff, and conquer it is what God planned. I don’t think this is the reality Jesus died for me to walk in.
This word from John Piper sheds light….
Conflict in your soul is not all bad. Even though we long for the day when our flesh will be utterly defunct and only pure and loving desires will fill our hearts, yet there is something worse than the war within between flesh and Spirit; namely, no war within because the flesh controls the citadel and all the outposts. Praise God for the war within! Serenity in sin is death. The Spirit has landed to do battle with the flesh. So take heart if your soul feels like a battlefield at times. The sign of whether you are indwelt by the Spirit is not that you have no bad desires, but that you are at war with them!
When my eyes rest on my sin and remain there, doubt, guilt, and depression march right into my soul and camp out.
With every look at my sinfulness, I should preach to myself the infinite cost paid to remove sin from my identity. In light of the Gospel, fear, guilt, and depression over my struggle have no ground to stand on.
We must never look at any sin in our past life in any way except that which leads us to praise God and to magnify His grace in Christ Jesus. D. Martyn-Lloyd Jones
Resurrection vision is this: letting every sense of my humanity send me deeper into praise, gratitude, and love for the Savior of my soul.
His Spirit reigns in every battle within my flesh when I live by faith in Jesus Christ. When my eyes are on sin and self, I’m overcome with false pressure to fix myself and make myself clean. That’s not the gospel.
The blood of Jesus is clean. And because He lives today at God’s right hand, His cleansing blood pumps through our spiritual veins.
And though He sees all of my error and failure and sin, He sees it through the lens of His grace that declares me positionally and eternally holy in His sight. I have been chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world was laid, and I stand holy before God. And if you know Jesus Christ, you stand holy before God. God is the only person who can see us as we are in the flesh and as we are in Christ at the same time, and the only person who will choose to walk with us unconditionally day after day. David Jeremiah
Jesus Christ purchased perfect worthiness for us in His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead. Not the kind of worthiness that puffs up our egos to make us feel deserving, or the kind that is negated by our mistakes, but the kind of worthiness that makes unhindered access to God possible. This worthiness is grounded in and flows from Another’s perfect nature, never to be tampered with.
“Instead of fawning over us and our worth, God draws us to himself in love — despite what we are worth because of our sin — to make us a shining forever picture of his worth. He tells the world about his glory through you. He does it through mountains and oceans, stars and galaxies, through heaven and hell, and he does it through you. And because of Christ, he glorifies himself in loving you, not damning you.” John Piper
Dig your heels into the Gospel, regardless of how you feel, even if you have to lead your heart with your head. Fight to treasure Christ, battle against distraction, and position your soul at rest in God. Keep your eyes on Christ, and discover freedom to withstand arrows of fear, guilt, and judgment.
May we have resurrection vision. May we see our sin, but develop a sharp and bright vision of God’s incredible love. With every glance at our sinfulness may we place it in the shadow of Christ’s sufficiency, power, and glory.