1 Corinthians 1:30. And because of [God] you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption.
I remember having a conversation with a gentleman recently about religion. He was explaining to me how every religion is basically the same. They all teach the same ideals. I asked him if he thought “heaven” was at the top of the mountain, and all the religions are a different path up the mountain, but in the end they all get you to the top. He agreed with that analogy. Then I asked him what if we can’t climb to the top of the mountain by ourselves? I explained to him that Christianity says that we can’t climb up the mountain, so God came down the mountain for us, carrying us up the mountain to himself. He agreed that that was something to think about.
How is Christianity different from every other religion on earth?
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 up the mountain to God’s wisdom. But the gospel of Jesus Christ is much different. Jesus does not simply show us the way to God. He is the way to God. He doesn’t simply teach us the truth. He is the truth. He doesn’t simply show us how to live a good life. His life is our good life.
Here’s what union with Christ means: Jesus does not just teach us ABOUT righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. He IS our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Because of God’s matchless grace we are no longer climbing a mountain to find acceptance, position, and status. No. All of these are found in Christ. All righteousness. All sanctification. All redemption.
In Christ we have God’s righteousness and we are God’s righteousness. Jesus’s indwelling life is the righteousness of God in us. Righteousness is God’s standard of goodness and fullness that he is actively restoring in the world by his justice. This “restorative justice” brings people back to himself. The cross of Christ is the final act of restorative justice. By Christ’s work all can be made righteous, good, filled with God’s fullness. This is who we are! Righteous in Christ. Free from all sin and guilt, and free to spread the love and goodness of God in the world. We are righteous to be righteousness.
In Christ we are declared holy (sanctified) and we are God’s holiness. Jesus’ indwelling life is our holiness. He is our separation unto God. To be Christ-like is to be holy. Think about the instruments and furnishings in the temple. What made them holy? They were holy because they were simply declared by God to be holy. But then they were holy because they were used only for a holy purpose. That’s us! We have been declared holy by God in Christ, and through Christ in us we are used by God for a holy purpose each day. What is our holy purpose? Display the glory of God’s grace to a broken world. We are made holy to be holy.
In Christ we are redeemed from the slavery of sin and we are God’s redemption. Jesus’ indwelling life is our freedom from the power of sin. He is the price paid and he is the freedom gained. He is broken chains and a new beginning. His life offers us not just forgiveness for sins we have and will commit, but his life also offers us freedom from the sin making factory in our hearts. And now we share this glorious message of redemption with the world. We are ambassadors of reconciliation. We are redeemed to redeem.
“To live is Christ” is unlike any other religion on earth. It is all of grace and all of Christ. He has freely given us his life and all that comes with it – wisdom, goodness, holiness, freedom. We have been given these things for free in order to freely be these things. Not to earn, not to achieve, not to boast, but to freely reflect the love and grace of God that came down from the mountain top to bring righteousness, sanctification, and redemption to a lost world.
In what ways are you still trying to climb the mountain to God?
You in Christ
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?
Christ in you
How can your life reflect Jesus’ righteousness, holiness, and freedom today?
Playlist: Christ Our All