Adam, a new Christian, spent every night on his knees praying to God. He wanted to make sure God was happy with him, so he would confess every possible sin he committed that day. By the same token, he would confess everything that he might have done. Then, he would spend the next 5 minutes or so, confessing and pleading for God’s forgiveness for his unknown sins.
He feels frustrated at the church for their lack of zeal for doing the right thing.
After his daily prayer time, he would feel good about his spirituality and that he was right with God. Of course, he would later feel guilty for his spiritual pride, but would confess that later.
After weeks and weeks of doing this, Adam felt that God was happy with him because of his spiritual discipline of confessing his sins.
Hardly anyone else is as zealous as I am.
Months later, Adam did not feel so good about himself. He now felt inadequate. Depression started to sink in.
Was there any hope for Adam?
Look to Jesus
Most, if not all of us, can relate to Adam. How many of us have tried to impress God or felt like we have or currently are impressing God by our choices? The problem is when we understand sin as treason against God. How then can we impress Him?
Yet, there is good news!
Stop trying to impress God because Jesus has impressed God for you (Romans 5:1). You have been justified! What does this mean? Justification is a legal declaration that you are declared innocent. Your sins do not count against you. God views you just as if you had never sinned.
Holy Crap, Batman!
Are you serious? Yes, I am! Because of Jesus, you have peace with God!
Not only has Jesus died for you, but he justified you. You are made right with God, not based on what you have done but solely on the work of Jesus Christ.
Bringing This Home
If you are like me, Adam, and many others, resting in the fact of justification is both marvelous and hard. Being gifted in athletics, I enjoyed playing competitive sports. Even though in sports, you play as a team, there is still a sense of you bringing something to the court.
As it relates to my justification, I bring nothing to the table. Here I stand, my sinful self, carrying nothing but my sin. Jesus says to me, “Give that sin to me, I’ll take it from you.”
Because of Jesus, I can stand with boldness before God wiped clean. Now, when God looks at me, he sees his son who is perfect.
This is only possible because of the Good News of the Cross.
The only response we can have to justification is resting in Christ, because I no longer have to work to impress God. This should generate gratitude for our Savior because of the amazing love Jesus had to stand in my place!
- Why do you think we often find ourselves trying to impress God?
- In what ways have you learned to fight against Work Based Sanctification?
- In what ways are you still like Adam?