Renewing Your Mind Day 2 – Changing My Mind About Justification

This entry is part 2 of 10 in the series Renewing Your Mind In 30 Days

(Romans 4:25)  Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

I used to think that to be “justified” meant that as a child of God, He now treated me “just-as-if-I’d- never-sinned.” Easy to remember, right? It was a neat trick that helped me recall what the word meant. Unfortunately, this type of thinking stunted my spiritual growth. I failed to appreciate the full meaning of justification. I didn’t understand the true legal and judicial impact of what God had accomplished for me on the cross and especially in the resurrection.

Before trusting in Christ for salvation, I was condemned under the debt and penalty of sin. My sins were proof that I was a sinner just like every other person that walks this earth. Romans 3:23 pointed out to me that I was part of the “all” in “For all have sinned…” One day, I was asked if I knew whether I was going to go to heaven when I died. My reply was, “I don’t know. How could anyone know? It all depends on whether your good outweighs your bad.” Fortunately, someone showed me in the Bible that no matter how good I behaved, I was still unrighteous before God. My spiritual state was “sinner.” Sinners, even if they are religious, still spend eternity separated from God. On that day, I learned how Christ paid the price for my sins and that good works were something God expected after I became a Christian – not required to become a Christian!

Spiritual growth means we learn along the way how to please God through a new understanding of who we are. I really didn’t understand much about the details of salvation for the first few years of my life as a Christian. But after reading, studying, asking questions and hearing sermons for, I learned that justification is actually a legal term that means “to be declared righteous.” What an impact this had on my view of what God accomplished for me! It totally blew open my view of the cross and the resurrection of Christ.. Before all this, I knew the resurrection of Jesus made Him special and Christianity unique. I did not realize that His resurrection also made me special and unique. I have been declared righteous because God gave me the righteousness of Christ. His righteousness became my righteousness. Sin can never condemn me again!

God wants me to be so full of understanding of what He did for me on the cross and in the resurrection that I am consumed with thankfulness. This is the design of God’s grace to motivate me to do His will.

Renewed Thought – Anything good that I do is because Christ lives in me and I do it because of His righteousness, not my own.  

Living The Good Life

(Ephesians 5:9) “(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)”

Have you ever heard the expression, “Living the good life?” What does this usually mean? In commercials during football games it usually means kicking back with a group of friends, popping open a cold one, and having a party. In Florida, we see advertisements of retirement communities where seniors can play golf, hang out with friends and enjoy nice walks on the beach. It’s evident that a “good life” means different things to different people. In these cases, “good” equals “fun.” But in the bigger scheme of things, can we really know the life we are living is “good” in the eyes of God. Who defines what is truly “good” and whether we are living a life that is good? How does this relate to our life in Christ?

In this parenthesis, we find the connection between our identity and our walk. At the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit places us into the Church, the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians12:13). We become saints not by virtue of what we’ve done but by virtue of who we are. But we are not left to walk in our own power to fulfill our identity. The Holy Spirit indwells us for the purpose of living a life under the power of God.

Our conscience is designed to recognize goodness, righteousness and truth. Unfortunately, we live in a world system that will question, violate and eventually sear the conscience. All three of these are not regarded as absolutes but are judged as relative attributes. By defining these virtues in a relative sense, any real definition is lost and it becomes impossible to recognize what is good, righteous or true. All of it becomes subjective and therefore our lives are defined by self. The only way to live according to a standard higher than self, according to a moral conscience that is consistent with a Higher Authority, is to abandon the relative and cling to the absolute. The only way to understand and live in the absolute is to have a source and authority outside of self. This is what allows us to live consistently according to the faith we hold and Christ we proclaim. For the believer, the Holy Spirit is the connection between our identity and our walk. Any virtue produced in our lives after salvation are to the glory of God because He is the One producing it.

Renewed Thought – “As Christians grow in holy living, they sense their own inherent moral weakness and rejoice that whatever virtue they possess flourishes as the fruit of the Spirit.” – D.A. Carson

Amazing Grace My Chains Are Gone

(Ephesians 2:8-9)  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”

“…and that not of yourselves” is one phrase that sets Christianity apart from every other religion in the world. God makes it clear what He means in the following verse when we see that salvation is “not of works.” If I could do anything today to save myself I would have a reason to boast 

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