Many years ago, a book I least expected made a dramatic impact on my life. Bob George’s book Classic Christianity, while seemingly simple in concept, offered me some truths which I finally “internalized” and made my own when I was in my late twenties. When I read it for the first time, in reading the quotation below–that final line is what caught my attention and began to change who I thought I was and who I thought God was.
But at no time is His acceptance of me ever in question.
This understanding eventually had a tremendous impact on my life and to this day, I come back to these words to remember who I am and who God is. Here is the full excerpt:
“If you are a true Christian, then you are as righteous and acceptable in the sight of God as Jesus Christ.”
What’s your reaction? If you are shocked…, then it may be that you just don’t know who you are in Christ. It may be that you know a great deal of doctrine, but your daily Christian life is still more a burden than a blessing. You may have tried and tried to change your life without success, in spite of all the seminars, books, and tapes you have searched. Whatever your situation, I have great news to share with you.
Most Christians, I find, understand the general idea behind forgiveness: God took our sins and gave them to Jesus. But that’s only half the message. God also took Christ’s perfect righteousness and gave it to us! Second Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” How could I stand up and declare that in the sight of God I am as righteous and acceptable as Jesus Christ? Because of what I do? No way. It’s because of who I am in Christ.
The Bible goes to great lengths to declare that righteousness is a free gift that a man receives by faith.
“For if, by the trespass of the one man (Adam), death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:17)
Righteousness (a right standing of total acceptability before God) is a gift. You don’t work for it. You don’t earn it. You don’t deserve it. Like any gift, all you can do is accept it or reject it. And once you have it, it’s yours.
Galatians 3:27 says, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. Because we are in Him we are totally acceptable to God!
Now realize that I am talking about ourselves being acceptable to God, not necessarily our actions. In my identity I am eternally acceptable to Him, but that doesn’t mean that everything I do is all right. He may put His arm around me, so to speak, and show me the truth about something in my life that is out of line: an attitude, action, or habit. Why? So He can change my attitude that is out of line, resulting in a change of action. But at no time is His acceptance of me ever in question.
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In: Christian Faith
Tags: Bob George, Faith, God, Jesus