Okay. I know its Valentines day and this should be a sappy tribute to my awesome husband. However, he knows I respect, adore, and think he is the best husband, father, and man on the planet. After just checking my FB homepage, I see that the quota for sappy tributes has been met, so today I want to share some truths God has been teaching me about His amazing love that allows us to be justified before Him.
I find shame to be a huge problem in my own life, but also in many women I know. We often feel defeated over past failures, present difficulties, and even things outside of our control. The world is full of shame-givers, especially the enemy of our souls – Satan. He aims right for the heart with accusations, but we don’t have to be shame receivers. God has given us a piece of His armor to protect our fragile hearts. “Satan’s first mode of attack was deception, but he follows it up with heavy doses of condemnation. And the second piece of armor we need to put in place will protect us from it perfectly.” (The Invisible War by Chip Ingram 92)
God gives us His breastplate of righteousness as protective gear against Satan’s attempts to condemn and make us feel worthless. Romans 3:25-26 says, “For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.”
So according to these verses, God’s declaration of righteousness positionally comes for us when we place our faith in Christ. This doesn’t mean we have become sin-less, however God chooses to see us through the lens of Christ’s shed blood and declares us justified. In other words –
JUST AS IF I’D NEVER SINNED.
From now on when you encounter the word justified, replace it with “just as if I’d never sinned.” Say that out loud and feel the full effect and weight of Christ’s payment for your sin and mine to purchase this position of righteousness for us. It cannot be understated.
Our culture’s predominant belief consists of “being a good person” to enter heaven. This is one of Satan’s hugest lies to keep people out of heaven. In our own strength, we cannot clean ourselves up enough to earn God’s favor. As a child I remember not wanting to accept Christ until I thought I could be a better person. I truly thought I should obey better, be nicer to my siblings, and do more right things.
A sweet Sunday School teacher dispelled this untruth with the gospel for me when I was nine years old. So when we first trust Christ, God declares us righteous positionally through Christ’s sacrificial payment for our sin. His Holy standard of righteousness can never be conjured up with human attempts at being good. So instead, God credited to us Christ’s righteousness. This truth serves as a defensive weapon to us when Satan attacks us with condemnation.
When Satan tells us we are unworthy, unrighteous, and sinners, we can agree with him. However, we then must remind him (and ourselves) where our sin lies. It is at the foot of the cross. Jesus took it all on Himself so that we could live free of condemnation. The Greek word in Ephesians 6 is the same word used throughout the book of Romans to describe our righteousness through Christ. It is dikaiosune- “in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God.”
God declared us “in a position acceptable” to Him. He justified us through the cross. The enemy knows that. He hopes we will forget and listen to his shame and guilt. I pray today as we celebrate love, we will thank God that we can love recklessly today without the constraints of shame and condemnation. We don’t have to justify ourselves – we need only put His breastplate of righteousness on to protect our hearts so we can live love freely today.
Thus we simply interpret justification as the acceptance with which God receives us into his favor as if we were righteous; and we say that this justification consists in the forgiveness of sins and the imputation of the righteousness of Christ.” John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.), reprint 1983, Vol. 2, p. 38.