Our Position in Christ, Part 2
I told this story because a while later, I was still struggling with my identity. Would I be left in the shadows as a nobody compared to all the students who excelled at everything way beyond me? Did I have value? And most of this centered on my relationship to God. Did God really love me? Was I fooling myself about how God felt about me? Was I really a reject in God's eyes as I struggled with my failings and and immaturity? There were times I'd awaken in the middle of the night wondering about how God felt about me. One such time as I laid there it was as though God Himself spoke gently to my heart, "If Evan Welsh, a mere man, could love you that much, would I love you less?"
The answer hit me deeply. Of course God loves me more, far more. Infinitely more!
That realization set in motion a new awareness of certain Scriptures that revealed to me what God felt about me. As I got into those scriptures I began to realize that I had incredible worth to him. This profoundly affected the way I looked at God in prayer, how I saw myself in His eyes, and how I relaxed about God's unique will for me.
I began to realize He was fully capable of acting on my behalf, and that He intended to where He called me to participate in His purposes. What I need to do was trust and obey Him during the seasons where it seemed nothing much was happening other than the mundane fulfillment of one's duties.
But with our position in Christ, we find a measure of pleasure in the assertions God makes about who we are, and this delights us during the mundane stuff of life. In learning how He views us, our self-image turns positive and our sense of self-worth skyrockets.
Whatever we end up experiencing as it relates to God's unique will for us is really secondary to the sense of joy we have in knowing what God feels about us. He feels this way about us because we are "in Christ."
We have a position in his eyes that will never change.
We Have Been Redeemed
Colossians 1:14: "in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."
Redemption means purchased. We have been bought for a price, which is the blood of Christ. In order to buy us, God allowed Jesus, His Son, to be expended on the cross. In effect, we are worth Jesus to the Father.
We Have Been Accepted
Romans 15:7: "Christ . . . accepted us to the glory of God."
One of the great needs of the human soul is to be accepted, and our Lord accepts us forever! This is an acceptance based on what He has done, not what we have done. This is an acceptance of our deepest spirit that will one day be set free from sin and death. He does not accept our sin but accepts us in spite of our sin. Because of this, we find our hearts longing to please Him, no longer thinking we must appease Him. When we grasp the Lord’s acceptance of us, we feel a freedom to keep moving forward.
We Have Been Forgiven
Colossians 2:13–14: "having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”
We had a debt that we could not pay, but Christ paid our debt on the cross. That caused all of our transgressions to be forgiven, including our future transgressions. Now, when we seek forgiveness, we are actually appropriating the forgiveness that is already ours. Having said this, we can grieve the Lord by our sin. Like any family relationship, we must apologize and express sorrow to reestablish friendship. However, we do not do this to get back into the family. We are already in the family. We seek forgiveness for our daily sins to reestablish fellowship, not to be saved again. This is for communion, not to prevent condemnation. As Romans 8:1 states, "there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
We Have Been Justified
Romans 5:1: "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
In simplest terms, justified means that in the eyes of God it is just as though we have never sinned. To live a life of self-justification is pointless. We cannot justify ourselves, nor should we try. It is better to confess all the wrongdoing since we have already been justified. Ironically, those who know they are justified, stop the excuses for their sin and take steps to correct it. Though God disciplines us for the wrong, He does not do so to get us to jump through hoops so He can declare us righteous. We have already been declared righteous. He disciplines us in order to help us experience the abundant life He has planned for us (John 10:10).
We Have Been Reconciled
2 Corinthians 5:18: "Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation."
Our sin alienated us from God. Consequently, God had just reason to accuse and condemn us for our offenses against Him. But because of Jesus, the Mediator, God in effect said to us, “I no longer have enmity against you. Because of the sacrifice My Son made, He has made everything perfect between us. Our relationship has been made perfect."
We Have Been Made Perfect
Hebrews 10:14: "For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.”
When Jesus Christ offered to die in our place and pay the debt for our sins, all of our imperfections were forgiven in the eyes of the Father. Jesus Christ compensated for all of our imperfections, and when He did, it left us perfect for all time. It is not possible for us to be made more perfect than we already are through Jesus or perfected for a longer period of time!
We Have Been Made Righteous
Philippians 3:9: "not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,"
In heaven, an exchange was made. All of our unrighteousness was placed on Christ and all of His righteousness was placed on us. We refer to this as the imputed righteousness of God. Now, when God looks at us, He sees the righteousness of Christ. Day after day we are to become what we already are: righteous. Though we are unrighteous in experience, and feel the guilt of our wrongdoing, God has documented us in His ledger as perfected, redeemed, and justified. There is nothing that can cause Him to stamp “Unacceptable" on those who have been made righteous through Jesus.
We Have Been Given Access
Ephesians 2:18: "for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father."
Applying this to myself, Jesus brings me to the Father and says, “Father, this is Emerson. Go ahead, Emerson. Share anything you want with My Father.” He does the same with you, and we will have access to the Father throughout eternity. This truth needs to hit us like a ton of bricks. We have access to God.
We Have Been Born Again
1 Peter 1:23: "for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable."
Has the thought ever occurred to you that once we are born again, meaning a spiritual birth after a physical birth, we cannot be unborn? Furthermore, after this birth, there is no spiritual infanticide. Nor is there a spiritual abortion at the point of conception, so to speak. We are always a child of God.
We Have Been Adopted
Ephesians 1:5: "He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself."
Another metaphor to describe our relationship with God, beyond being born again, is adoption. Once adopted, we will not be un-adopted. Legally, we might say, it is a done deal. Our adoption papers have been signed, sealed, and delivered. There is no reversing the adoption proceedings. We are in the family of God—forever.
We Are Sons of God
Galatians 3:26: “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus."
As Jesus is the Son of God, God considers all of us sons of His as well. This should boggle our minds. We have the status of sonship in the eyes of God. Having been born again and adopted into God’s kingdom, we are sons of God like Jesus is the Son of God. Though we do not possess divinity, we do possess divine privileges.
We Are Heirs
Galatians 4:7: "Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God."
Everything Jesus inherits, we inherit. We are co-heirs with Christ. In our present condition there is no way we can begin to imagine what we are entitled to receive. We are beneficiaries of all that Christ receives. None of us would dare make this claim apart from the apostle Paul teaching this in Galatians 4:7.
We Have a Heavenly Citizenship
Philippians 3:20: “For our citizenship is in heaven.”
We are not alien immigrants hoping to cross the heavenly border undetected. And, we will not be exported when entering the pearly gates of heaven. Instead, we will hear the stamping of our passport and then “Welcome home, heavenly citizen. Right this way. Let me show you your mansion. It’s unlike anything you could ever imagine. Jesus had gone ahead to prepare a place for you. Oh, and because you were faithful in little things on earth, Jesus put you in authority over ten cities in heaven [Luke 19:17]. He’ll explain more to you tomorrow."
How do these truths about our position in Christ affect you?