Quite honestly, this question is what separates those who live their Christian life on the bottom rung from those who experience the Higher Christian Life. And it is all based on faith. Your faith. Do you believe the promises of God? Not just specific doctrines about God. Not what God has done for others. But do you, emphasis on you, believe the promises of God? Do you believe what He says He will do? Do you believe what He says about you? Do you believe the consequences of disobeying Him? And do you believe in the blessings promised by being “in Christ”? In short, do you believe?
Now your answer will be either yes or no. Or maybe, “Sometimes. It all depends on the promise.” But that view of God impugns His character. After all, He is either trustworthy or not. He either tells the truth or He spins it to fit His own narrative. He is either perfect and pure or shady like the rest of our friends. There is no middle ground. We either believe, or we don’t. And the consequences of our choice are profound.
Consider Abraham. He was given a promise from God that defied understanding, not to mention biology. When it was physically impossible for Abraham and Sarah to have children due to their advanced age, God promised Abraham he would have a son and his descendants would be as many as the stars in the sky (Gen. 15:5). Pretty steep order. Yet this was a promise from God. Initially, Sarah laughed in unbelief when she heard God’s words (Gen. 18:10-13). And Abraham tried to find a loophole to work around his unbelief using Eliezar his servant (Gen. 15:4), and later Hagar, Sarah’s handmaiden (Gen. 16:1-3).
Nevertheless, the promise was clear and precise. It was a promise to be believed, or not believed. And the choice was Abraham’s. So what did he do? Consider the following:
He (Abraham) did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, (1) giving glory to God, and (2) being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore “it (Abraham’s faith) was accounted (imputed, reckoned) to him (Abraham) for righteousness.” Now it (Genesis 15) was not written for his sake alone that it (righteousness) was imputed to him (Abraham), but also for us. It (righteousness) shall be (future) imputed (reckoned, accounted) to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, (crucifixion) who was delivered up (why) because of our offenses, and was (resurrection) raised (why) because of our justification – Romans 4:20-25.
Note, Jesus died because of our offenses or sins. And He was raised up or resurrected because of our justification (when we are declared righteous). We are not declared righteous based on our own merit, but the righteousness of Christ is now imputed (reckoned, accounted) to us by faith in the Lord Jesus. Just like it was with Abraham.
But there is so much more.
Ask Yourself, “Do You Believe the Promises of God?”
Jesus also became for us our sanctification (or holiness).
But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God— and righteousness and sanctification and redemption – 1 Corinthians 1:30.
He became for us the ability to live the Higher Christian Life. He literally became for us, since we are “in Christ Jesus”, the ability to live the kind of life that pleases Him right here, right now, today. And this thought should make you giddy in wonder. This is who Jesus is and what he has “become for us.” It is more than justification, eternal life, and a place in heaven with Him, as wonderous as all that sounds. He also became for us our sanctification. He is our freedom, the victory, and the power given us to live an “overcomer” life in this world, in satan’s domain, today.
But there is one last thing we need to look at. Below is a familiar, two-fold, conditional promise from God. If we confess our sins, God will do two things. He will (1) forgive our sins, and (2) cleanse us from all unrighteousness. One is about justification. The other deals with sanctification.
If we confess our sins, (then) He is faithful and just to (1) forgive us our sins and to (2) cleanse us from all unrighteousness – 1 John 1:9.
One question to ask yourself before we close. Do you believe the forgiveness of our sins is instantaneous? Or does God drag it out to somewhat torture us before giving us His forgiveness? That’s right, it’s instantaneous. But what about the second part of His promise? Does His cleansing “us from all unrighteousness” come instantaneously? Or is it a gradual process taking years to accomplish? And if so, what in this verse would make you think sanctification is gradual and forgiveness is instantaneous?
Join us today as we look into His Word to see how our belief in His promises are one of the keys that unlock the treasure of the Higher Christian Life.