As we discovered yesterday, those who have expressed faith in Jesus are righteous. We’ve been declared so by God when He justified us according to His mercy and by His grace.
We left off with the question “Why then are we so adverse to admitting that we are righteous?”
When I asked a group of Christians “Are you righteous?” they became very uncomfortable with the concept of their own righteousness. There’s little doubt that you and I struggle with God’s truthful declaration that we are righteous in Christ.
Why? I the answer is so simple that we often miss it.
We Can’t Believe It & We Don’t Choose It!
I believe the answer is two-fold. First, we just don’t believe it. I mean, come on! It is too incredible to imagine, isn’t it? A holy and righteous God like ours declares us righteous? He just declares it and makes it so. Just like that! It’s a matter of faith, belief, and trust that it’s true.
Second, and maybe more significant, we don’t choose to live from our true center, our true self in Christ. Since it’s so hard to believe God’s declaration of our righteousness, we try to live by our own power rather than the true life that is in us because Christ is in us and because the Spirit now indwells and fills our lives. Let’s look at some realities from God’s Word, the Bible.
Christ Is Our Life Now!
When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
Colossians 3:4 NASB
When we read this, we focus on the “glory” of Christ’s revelation. What we should be focusing on is this, “…Christ, who is our life.” He is our very life.
It is only “in Christ” that we are capable of living up to the declaration of God that we are righteous! It is only “from Christ” within us that we have the power to choose righteous actions. And our choices affect how we feel about ourselves. If we choose righteousness, we feel righteous. If we choose unrighteous actions, we feel unrighteous.
When I see that Christ is the very source of my life and I choose Him in every moment, in every decision, in every action, my life becomes exponentially more righteous. Now I am not only declared righteous, but I am choosing righteous living by the strength of Christ’s life in me!
He’s Chosen To Live In Us Because He’s For Us!
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NASB
Since we are “in Christ,” since our true life, our true self is found in Him; and since we are indwelled by the Third Person of the Trinity – The Holy Spirit – we need to see ourselves as we truly are. You and I are a temple – no less than the Tabernacle of the Old Testament days of Moses, and no less than the Temple of Solomon in the days of Solomon and his descendants.
A temple is a place for God to dwell, to live, and to meet humankind; because He loves them because He’s “for” them. People would come from far and wide to meet with God in the Tabernacle and then the Temple. The New Testament teaches that you and I are a dwelling place for God because He’s “for” us, not at all against us!
He’s chosen to live with us, in us, because He’s “for” us! He’s with me right now as I type out these words, guiding my thoughts and hands. He’s also right there with you today as you read these words, guiding your understanding and responses.
And since we are “in Christ,” we have been ransomed, “bought with a price.” He paid our debt, and because He did so, we should spend our lives choosing to live from His power rather than our own.
But it’s a life-long quest to give up trying on our own and pick up living from the strength of the resurrected Christ living in us! The more we choose Christ, the more we want to choose Christ. The less we try to make life work on our own, the less we want to make life work on our own!
My Old Self Was Removed By Christ & Now I Live By Him!
Paul seems to have it down well in this passage here…
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
Galatians 2:20 NASB
Paul’s words echo of hope! My old self was “crucified with Christ!” I’m free to choose Christ and not my old ways, my own strength! Even though they’re still with me, and they seem very much alive, they are dead; and they have no power over me!
And I now live “by faith in the Son of God,” choosing His life in me rather than the dead old ways of making life work on my own!
It’s all by faith, isn’t it? Everything we’ve talked about! It’s all by faith!
It’s by faith that I believe that God has honestly, truly declared, “You are righteous my son!”
It’s by faith that I choose to see Christ as my very life, instead of my own old ways!
It’s by faith that I choose Christ and live from His power within me rather than trying to make life work on my own old power!
It’s by faith that I choose to believe that I’m God’s temple because He loves me and is for me!
It’s by faith that I choose to see my old self as crucified and choose to live from the power of Christ in me because He gave Himself to ransom me.
Everything, I mean everything, is by faith. It’s no wonder the writer of Hebrews wrote this famous words…
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
Hebrews 11:6 NASB
Let’s choose faith! Let’s choose Christ!