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.
Let’s be clear, Jesus is everything. He is our start and our finish. Our beginning and our end. He is all of our salvation. In Christ, Jesus is our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. And that’s everything.
Some see religion like a mountain where God sits on top waiting for us to make the slow and treacherous climb up the mountain to him. Good works and sincerity will get you there eventually. 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. Ten Commandments. Five Pillars. Eight-Fold Path. All roads will eventually get you to God (or to being a god).
But the gospel of Jesus Christ is much different. Jesus does not simply show us the way to God. He became to us the way to God. He doesn’t simply teach us the truth. He became to us the truth. He doesn’t simply show us how to live a good life. His life became to us our good life.
Righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. This is not merely some random list of theological words that Paul is spouting out to sound godly. These three words sum up the process of our union with Christ. This is the whole of our salvation in Christ, from beginning to end. But Paul takes us from end to beginning. Our righteous end resulting from our redemptive beginning. But let’s take a look at who we are from beginning to end. From redemption, to sanctification, to righteousness.
In Christ we have been redeemed. Purchased out from our slavery to sin and set freed indeed. Christ’s indwelling life has set us free not only from sin’s condemnation, but also from sin’s power to control us. Jesus paid for our freedom with his own life, his own blood. Our freedom was not free. It cost God his one and only Son, and it cost the Son his own freedom. Now by the Spirit of Christ we are possessed by God – his own people set free to the glory of his matchless grace, that we might declare his excellencies to all around us.
In Christ we are not only redeemed from our slavery to sin, we are also declared sanctified, holy, set apart. Jesus’ indwelling life separate us unto God. To be in Christ is to be holy (period). Think back for a moment to the instruments and furnishings in the Israelite temple. What made these objects holy? First, they were holy because they were simply declared by God to be holy. And then they were holy because they were used for a holy purpose. That’s us! We are made holy in order to be holy. 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 redeemed, we are set apart for a purpose, and then we are righteous. In Christ we have God’s righteousness imputed (credited) to us by grace, and we are God’s instruments of righteousness. Jesus’s own righteousness is counted as our record of righteousness and Jesus in us wants to live righteously through us. All throughout the Old Testament righteousness was something you did in order to be. Now, in Christ, righteousness is something we are in order to do. God’s standard of justice is now our life’s calling. We are called out of darkness into marvelous light to bring God’s restorative justice and goodness to the world around us in his name. The cross of Christ is the ultimate deed of righteousness, the final act of justice. And all our lesser deeds must point to this one and only greatest act of righteousness at the cross.
“To live is Christ” is to embrace that it is finished. Our salvation is complete in him. Our redemption, our sanctification, our righteousness, Jesus has become them all for us. All by his grace.
Are you trying to do in order to be, or are you trusting that you are in order to do?
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
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