1 Corinthians 1:30-31. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
Here’s what union with Christ means: Jesus does not just teach us about righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. He IS righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.
And that simple truth is what separates our faith from all others. In every other faith the prophet or messenger of God, told the way to righteousness and holiness and salvation. They gave the mantras, or the principles, or rules necessary for the dedicated followers to find their way to God’s wisdom. But Jesus does not simply show us the way, he is the way. He doesn’t simply teach us the truth, he is the truth. He doesn’t simply live a good life, he is our life. By sheer grace we receive his own acceptance, position, and status. This is imputation. This is being in Christ. This is “to live is Christ.”
And it truly is now our life. In fact, the Greek construction of 1 Corinthians 1:30 may be interpreted in such a way as to read that we are righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. In other words this is not just a gift to us, it is us. Salvation is our new name. It is our identity and our glory. “To live is Christ” means we are collectively righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. We are the work of God.
Jesus’s indwelling life is the righteousness of God in us. Righteousness is God’s action of the restoration of all things. His restorative justice brings people back to himself. Because of this past action we are judged as not guilty, and because of this ongoing action we are able to live in righteousness and justice. We are now the righteousness of God. We are his arm of justice. We are his action of restoration in the world today.
Jesus’ indwelling life is our holiness. He is our separation unto God. He is our final destination- a holy life. This is Christ-likeness. Living the holy life of Jesus is our purpose. Why? To display the glory of God. Just as the Tabernacle was holy (set apart) so as to display God’s glory, we too, in Christ are set apart by grace alone to display the glory of God alone. We are God’s sanctification, his holiness, in the world today.
Jesus’ indwelling life is our freedom from the slavery to sin. He is the price paid and he is the freedom gained. He is the cause and effect of our redemption. He is broken chains and a new beginning. His life offers us not just forgiveness for sins committed, but freedom from the sin making factory in our hearts. We too are redemption. We are the freedom of God incarnated into the world. By this freedom we love and serve the world around us.
Christian, all of this is from grace. Our only boast is Christ and his cross. He has freely given his identity to us and his wisdom and power to us in the form of his very own life- his status, honor, and holiness. If we have these things from him for free, then there is no more earning. No more boasting. No more graceless living. No faking. No self justifying.
Just the freedom to live and love and serve without condition or pretense.
Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the righteousness, sanctification, and redemption of God? Do you really believe that you are the righteousness, sanctification, and redemption of God? How would your life change today if you really believed this? Why is it so important that our salvation be a person and not a plan or principle?