Understanding my New Standing With God (Romans 4:3,5:17)
To Be or Not to Be – That is the Question (2 Corinthians 5:21)
To sum up some important points about being a new creation in Christ.
- When you accept Christ as Lord and Saviour of your life, you are immediately a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
- You new human spirit has been recreated righteous by the Spirit of God (2 Corinthians 5:21)
- You are adopted immediately from the family of satan into the family of God. (Romans 8:15)
Do you understand that?
Those three steps were never put together for me growing up. I am a righteous new creation adopted into the family of God. That is a simple statement of who I now am in faith Christ. (See previous posts.)
Now that you have an idea where I am coming from, I want to explain righteousness from that point of view. Now understand this very clearly: the righteousness that counts with God is a state of being, not a state of doing. That may come to a shock to many, but that is a true statement. Compare the definitions of righteousness in the graphic below:
Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:21 said you become the righteousness of God. Not do the righteousness of God. He said God made you, which means (correctly in Greek), to emerge. When you get saved, you emerge righteous. Righteousness is a state of being, just as unrighteousness for the unbeliever is a state of being. An unbeliever by nature is unrighteous. Why, because the unbeliever has a fallen nature. As a new creature, you have a new, re-created nature of God that is righteous. Follow my logic: if we tell an unbeliever that his righteous works do not make him or her righteous (and get them to heaven), then it follows that as a new creature, that my unrighteous works (sin) does not make me unrighteous (or loose my salvation). Why? The righteous works of the unbeliever cannot fundamentally change who he is spiritually. The unrighteous works that I do cannot change who I am in the spirit. If it does, then I have to go back and rethink what I have told unbelievers for many years. (Romans 3:20ff)
Why? Because only God can change my spirit being. I cannot change myself. I can ask for change as in asking for salvation, then God recreates me. But in and of myself, I cannot change the gift of salvation and neither can God (Romans 11:29). Righteousness is a state of being, not a state of doing. My righteous doing comes from my righteous being. Righteous or unrighteous acts are what the world sees and on the basis of that, people are considered righteous or unrighteous. But inwardly, righteous or unrighteous acts do not change who people fundamentally are, only God can do that.
DO, HAVE, BE – The Way the World Believes
If we consider someone righteous or unrighteous solely by their performance or they can change themselves, we are wrong. Let me give you another illustration from a secular humorist. He wrote that the world has the sequence of life reversed. We teach our children these principles: do something; to have something; to be somebody. DO, HAVE, BE.
In other words, DO something – go to college, marry the bosses’ daughter, etc; HAVE something – a good paying job, a big house, nice car; BE someone – a respectable member of society. We think, if I can just work more hours, the boss will notice me and I will be promoted.
OR (since this a political year)
Like in running for office: DO something – kiss more babies, lie, stuff the ballot box, etc; HAVE – more votes; BE somebody – the president, senator, and more power, etc. What happens when you fail all your performance tests? You look back and thing: “I didn’t do enough, wasn’t good enough, or the system is corrupt. Think about this. If we live our lives on the premise that we are always judged on our performance we will always be insecure and selfish. So many people commit suicide, commit crimes and have so much hate in their hearts because they have failed in being somebody. At church we think, If I stop DOING certain bad habit, or pray enough; then I will HAVE God’s favor, or more people will get saved; then I will BE blessed (or be a real Christian).
This is how many churches define whether or not you are righteous or worse yet, a Christian,based solely on your works. Yes, there must be outward signs of an inward change. (1 John 3:6) And don’t people misunderstand your standing, you are responsible for your sins and sins do have consequences. If you love God, you will want to do what is pleasing to Him. But, don’t let performance be the only judge or fool you into thinking that you are not saved.
“But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,” (Romans 4:5). Works do not save. Works do not keep you saved. There are other things that do. More on that later. My works are as filthy rags when it comes to counting for something in Christ. (Isaiah 64:6)
BE, HAVE, DO – The Way God Believes
But what we should be teaching our children is just the reverse of what the world teaches: BE, HAVE, DO. We should teach our children that they are someone already, then have something to do something with. I don’t have to do anything else but breath to be the son of my dad who loves me.
We used to say in the Army BE, KNOW, DO. BE a soldier, KNOW what a soldier is supposed to know, then DO it! I think you can say that about a Christian, Be a Christian (righteous and loved), Know what a Christian is supposed to know (the Bible, your giftings) and Do what God has equipped you to do. Now, if you fail, act unrighteously, or the devil beats you up about something, don’t panic, know you have a firm foundation of love and acceptance that allows you to try again.
Let’s go back and review our key text, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21. He made us new creations, that’s BEING; we are righteous, that’s a HAVE; and He has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that’s a DO.
What then do I have to do to continue to be adopted as a son of God? (See previous posts.) Nothing. I just have to BE His son, HAVE (or KNOW) what I need for my destiny and DO what He would expect His son would do. Sound like I am becoming like Jesus which is the point of a Christian life.
As children of God, our BEING is in Christ. For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’(Acts 17:28 New Living Translation) We are righteous, loved and provided for in Jesus. We HAVE a plan of God for us already. Then need to find out what we need to DO to fulfill that destiny that God has for us already.
You see, satan doesn’t know what to do with someone who is righteous by nature. This is one reason why we are Kainos Ktsisis, a new creature never seen before! All the other creatures that satan deals with are those who are trying to be righteous by doing. Satan’s nature is inherently evil, so was yours before you were saved.
Righteousness is something we receive because we believe (Romans 4:3-5). If we do expecting that makes us righteous and acceptable to God, then we have missed the point of what faith is. We do our best, and God makes up the difference. (2 Timothy 2:13). To be or not to be, that is the question!