Lately, as I’ve been reading the letters of the Apostle Paul,
I’ve become increasingly aware of the PAST TENSE used whenever he
makes reference to the work of Jesus Christ in our lives
There seems to be certain rights and privileges reserved
only for those who are “Righteous in Christ“
So, once again, I’m face with this age-old question:
“At what point in our journey do Christians become righteous?”
I think most Christians understand we come to Christ for the first time
on the basis of His Grace and we cannot work our way into salvation.
But it seems many believe once we are past that point of beginning by His Grace, growth and maturity toward righteousness come primarily by our own efforts
The final declaration of Jesus before dying on the cross was:
“IT IS FINISHED!”
For many years, I thought that final statement referred to His earthly ministry
As He took His last breath, that ministry was complete
He was now free to return to His Father in heaven
While this interpretation is certainly not incorrect, there is a more vital,
much deeper meaning we desperately need to understand
When Christ declared “IT IS FINISHED”,
He declared RIGHTEOUS all who accept His Gift of Grace
The greatest Blessing God gives His children is the Presence of His Son in our lives
The changes produced by that Presence are often seen as His Requirements for Righteousness;
But Christ’s desire for us is that we would simply respond to His love for us
His Presence is the Power that produces change. In us
“But”, I hear you say; “does it really matter?” “What is the difference in WHY the changes are made, just as long as we change?” The primary difference is found in Hebrews 10: 19-25. Here, the word instructs us to draw near to God WITH CONFIDENCE! If that confidence is based upon our own efforts and performance, then in those inevitable times of failure, we will shrink back from His Presence
As we move out of His Presence, we move away from the Power that makes us more than conquerors. But if that confidence is in the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross, we become free to respond to the call to Enter His Presence with Boldness and Confidence
If the blood of Jesus did not pay the total price for our righteousness,
then that blood is not as powerful as He says it is. If it is not as
powerful as He says it is, then it has no power at all
What is the greatest need of the world today? It’s that we may know the personal, intimate Presence of God. When Christ said “IT IS FINISHED”, the veil separating the place of preparation and the Holy of Holies was torn in two. This allowed the Presence of the Lord to come out of that place and begin to dwell within the hearts of men. That tearing of the veil also allowed mankind to enter into the Presence of the Lord without extensive rules and regulations of preparation
There will still be changes in the lives of His children. There will always be progress toward growth and maturity. There will be areas in which the Lord deals with us to submit and commit to Him, But these changes will happen BECAUSE of who we are in Him, not IN ORDER TO BE what He wants us to be so we can receive His approval and Love
The door is open!
The veil is torn!
The price is paid!
The gap is bridged!
The Faith is given!
His call for intimacy is sent forth!