“It is only when we have been justified by faith that we have peace with God, which is reconciliation.”
— JOHN STOTT (1921–2011)
Oh how it is wonderful to know that, as in a courtroom setting we have been acquitted, pardoned if you like, of all the sins we have ever committed and all those things we will commit – our sin in total – and, that by faith in Christ – we are justified before the Father, and hence reconciled to God.
How wonderful it is to encapsulate within our imaginations the entirety and totality of such a thought; not that we swim in our sin; no, we are to crucify the flesh.
But our salvation is not conditional on the works of repentance, though we ought to repent as a matter of being in the Spirit.
These concepts in tandem – our total justification before God, and our need to repent – may, in some ways, seem contradictory. We have grace, yet we are expected to truly deal with our sin. But the overriding principle is grace abides more fundamentally than anything else. Ought we sin? No, of course not. But beyond knowledge is the experience of grace.
We have been forgiven by God because we believe what Christ did for us on the cross. We have, therefore, been justified – as if deemed innocent in a courtroom scenario. We bear none of the marks of our sin – because of Christ.
Because we are justified in Christ and, hence, reconciled to God, we have all the hallmarks of his glorious grace abiding over us; our entire lives.
Living in Freedom
What should this growth achieved for us?
It should, at the very least, without extended guilt for what the flesh continues to do in wreaking havoc, create within us an unabashed sense of freedom.
We are free.
Not free to sin; but free to live beyond sin, and to superimpose grace over everything we do. We live in and by the power of the Spirit.
We are free from the unnecessary dogma of the religious creed.
We go beyond the strains of legalism in order to live a life of love, which pushes past every sense of inauthenticity.
To be justified in Christ is to be reconciled to God, and God never turns back on that treaty. We are free – not to sin – but to live beyond sin as far as we can; to live a life of love, because we have been pardoned; forgiven; allowed to walk with God in Christ Jesus.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.