This is a critical question that ALL Followers of Christ must ask themselves and answer correctly. To help you make this critical decision, read these verses from the Amplified Version of the New Testament...
Hebrews 10:14: "For by a single offering He has forever completely cleansed and perfected those who are consecrated and made holy."
Tutus 2:14: "Who gave Himself on our behalf that He might redeem us (purchase our freedom) from all iniquity and purify for Himself a people [to be peculiarly His own, people who are] eager and enthusiastic about [living a life that is good and filled with] beneficial deeds."
1 Peter 2:9: "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, [God's] own purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light."
The great apostle Paul believed there was no way - nothing anyone could do - to save themselves. Logically, if we could be good enough, then we would be righteous before God and would never have needed the sinless Lamb of God, Jesus, to shed His precious blood for our sins. Mankind's problem has always been his inability to offer anything as atonement for his own sins. Not good deeds. Not sacrifice. Not church attendance. Not tithing. Not piety. Not worship. Not Bible study... NOTHING! Paul stresses this point by using passive verbs when discussing the subject. We did not save and could not save ourselves; God saved us. It was a gift, it was free, and then our gracious Father proclaimed us righteous because of what Jesus did on the cross.
In Romans 12:1, Paul writes: "I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him."
Hmmm. I was taught "worship" was more like a Sunday sing-along. My mistake.
In God's eyes, every one of us is holy... can you wrap your mind around that? We can confidently say and believe this as truth because the Father says "Your sins and your iniquities will I remember no more," (Hebrews 10:17). He also says, "As far as the east is from the west, so far have I removed the transgression of my people," (Psalm 103:12).
Sounds great... if you could just get yourself to believe it, right? Some may scratch their heads and groan, "But, I'm still sinning! I’m still doing things I shouldn’t be doing!" Even worse, others will say, "But he's such an evil person. How could God see him as holy? He's not as good as I am!"
I have always found it odd how we quickly judge others by what they DO yet we judge ourselves by our good intentions.
When you understand God's concept of sin in unison with His concept of what took place at Calvary, it will free you up from the guilt of being "bad" and doing "evil" and will allow you the access - warts 'n all - into His presence that will bring to you REAL transformation. See, when we dwell in such a "sin consciousness," we find ourselves keeping score and saying things like, "And you call yourself a Christian!" and "I'm a horrible person, unworthy of calling myself a Christian!" We grade people as "bad" or "good," comparing ourselves with ourselves as the standard of holiness, causing those who "fall short" or "miss the mark" to hate themselves, or even to hate God, often abandoning the faith all together in a sort of "what's-the-use-I'm-hopeless" attitude. In contrast, 2 Corinthians 10:12 reminds us, "We would not dare put ourselves in the same class with, or compare ourselves to, those who recommend themselves. Whenever they measure themselves by their own standards or compare themselves among themselves, they show how foolish they are."
If the Spirit of the living God is never formed in you, so that He begins to grow in you and be expressed in you, you will never experience internal changes that will begin to manifest outwardly. Even if you could manage to control your exterior behavior, it wouldn't help you anyway, because outward conduct does not produce anything but a better-acting person. Many would settle for that kind of "look-good, smell-good" Christianity, despite its meaninglessness and lack of impact on others. Folks, because we are the way we are, because we inherited our nature from Adam, we need to feel no shame, no guilt, and no condemnation, especially now that we are in Christ. I inherited all of those things that I was in the natural because of not knowing my true identity and nature and I believed the lie that I was separated and alienated from God because of my conduct. I've said this myself, "We are separated from God by sin!" Although that was once true, with one drop of the Lord's precious blood, suddenly, that was a lie!
I know a woman who was once bound in the porn industry. An alcoholic, she started reading the Bible, drink in hand, until the Holy Spirit Himself ministered the conviction and the grace for her to be set free from her negative addictions. Now, she ministers mightily to others trapped in that business and helps to set them free.
As for me, I'm siding with the apostle Paul. I, too, am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing - including manmade Religion - shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39). So, if you are striving to NOT be separated from God, or doing religious things that you believe might keep you FROM being separated from His love, stop wasting your time. You're a human BE-ing, NOT a human DO-ing. You can't DO anything to make Him love you MORE, nor can you DO anything to make Him love you LESS!
In nutshell, to be a Follower of Christ is to take part in a love relationship; us toward the Father (vertically), and the Father, through us, toward others (horizontally; interestingly, forming the shape of a cross!).
Not only are you holy, but you are WHOLEY His.
Founder, The Church @ Work (TCAW)
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