Friday, January 23, 2015
Sin and Forgiveness - Part 3
What is God's solution to the perverseness and wickedness of our hearts? The question of being sinners is more related to the sin issue rather than the sins issue. First we find out in 2 Corinthians 5:17, 21 that we have been made new creatures in Christ. The old has passed away and all things have become new. We also learn that Christ became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God in him. Note that in this verse he doesn't say Christ took our sins upon himself. It says that he became sin. In doing so it allows us to be the righteousness of God in him.
Since our righteousnesses are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), they need to be completely replaced with a righteousness from outside of ourselves. Paul's request is that he might be found in Christ not having a righteousness of his own, but a righteousness from God (Phil 3:9). The Bible teaches us that God's righteousness is imputed, or placed on the record of those who believe God (Romans 4:5-8, 22-25). That means if we believe the record that God has given of his son, our filthy rags righteousness is replaced by the righteousness of God and credited to us as though we had been the one who actually obeyed perfectly.
We also learn in Scripture that Christ himself is our righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30). God doesn't add to your righteousness to bring you up to the level required. Your righteousness, no matter what it is, is wiped out and replaced with Christ's righteousness. That means some good deed you did for someone today is wiped out because it was probably tainted with some amount of selfishness or pride and is replaced with Christ's perfection. In the end God is going to present us to himself as holy, blameless and above reproach in his sight! (Colossians 1:22)
Finally in this part of the discussion of what God has done to fix our sinful heart, we learn that God has done an amazing thing as part of his promise in the New Covenant. At the last supper, Jesus said that this cup was the New Testament in his blood. In other words he was initiating the fulfillment of the promised New Covenant. If we look back at Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Ezekiel 36:25-27 we can summarize the promises this way. He has promised to (1) remove our old stoney heart, (2) replace it with a new heart, (3) give us a new spirit, (4) give us his Holy Spirit, and (5) motivate us to follow God and his ways. This completely reverses what happened to our spirit in the fall. This is what we mean by the new birth.But, the problem is that we have the remnants of what the Bible calls the flesh or the "old man" within us. There is a battle that needs to be fought to tame and keep in subjection those old habits and tendencies that still stay with us. But we should not think of ourselves as though we were still under the bondage of the old fallen self. God has provided all we need for a life of godliness. Old things are passed away and all things have become new.