One of my commentators didn’t like my last post when I said that God really does change us when we become a Christian. I am not going to get into the philosophical arguments he does. As O don’t think the Bible All I can say is that when God declares someone to be righteous, in some mysterious way he makes us righteous.
I remember well what Terry Virgo who is one of my theological heroes once said in a comment I read in one of his books. He began a sentance as follows – “When I was a sinner…”
Do you still think of yourself as a “sinner”? Or do you think of yourself as a saint – a holy one? I think it is revealing that this concept of us as made righteous is one of the casualties of the denial of Penal Substitutionary Atonement. For without a notion of Jesus bearing our sins away (Is 53) how can we believe that they are no longer ours?
Lets read together a few verses that speak to this issue of us being made righteous–
- Romans 5:19 “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.”
- Psalm 51 “Have mercy on me, O God,according to your steadfast love;according to your abundant mercyblot out my transgressions.Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,and cleanse me from my sin. . . Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness;let the bones that you have broken rejoice.Hide your face from my sins,and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God,and renew a right spirit within me. . . Then I will teach transgressors your ways,and sinners will return to you.”
- Isaiah 6:7 “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”
- John 1:29 “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
- Acts 22:16 “And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.”
- Hebrews 9:26 “..he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”
- 1 John 3 “..Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. . .he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. . .Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.”
- Romans 6 “…can we who died to sin still live in it? . . .our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. . . So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. “
- Psalm 103 “. . .He does not deal with us according to our sins,nor repay us according to our iniquities.For as high as the heavens are above the earth,so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;as far as the east is from the west,so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”
- Isaiah 43:25 “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake,and I will not remember your sins.”
- 2 Cor 5:21 “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
If God does not remember our sins, and has cleansed our guilt, then they no longer exist. We have a clean slate. We are free. It is “just as if I’d never sinned” but more than that it is “Just as if I’d always been holy”
Praise God for his wonderful mercy and love that he should provide a way that cost him so much to rescue us from the mess we have made of our own lives. We deserve nothing but wrath from him, and he gives us everything. What love. What grace. Hallelujah! What a Saviour!