Are You Tired of Sin and Straying?

2 Corinthians 5:15 NIV

“And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”

Why did Jesus Christ have to die on that cross? He is the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world. And how was that accomplished on the cross? God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (Jn 1:29; 2 Co 5:21).

And how do we become the righteousness of God? By God’s grace we are saved, through faith, and this not of ourselves; it is the gift of God, not of our own works lest any of us should boast that we earned or deserved our own salvation (Eph 2:8-10).

And what is faith? For one, it is persuasion of God as to his holiness and righteousness, as to our sinfulness, and as to our need to be delivered from our bondage to sin and to follow Jesus with our lives. For, we believe in Jesus only as we are drawn to Christ by God the Father (John 6:44).

Faith in Jesus is also believing God/Jesus for who he says he is, and it is believing that Jesus sacrifice on that cross paid the penalty of our sin so that we can be set free from our slavery to sin and so we can, empowered of God, no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave himself up for us.

But this faith is not just intellectual or emotional. It is not a mere acknowledgment of Jesus and who he said he was and of what he said he did for us. And it is not some words we repeat after someone else in prayer after which we are congratulated that we are now children of God.

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Gal 3:26-27 NIV).

So, how is this describing our faith in Jesus? All of us who were baptized into Christ have clothed ourselves with Christ. And what does it mean to be “baptized into Christ”? And clothed with Christ?

It means that we died with Christ to sin so that we would no longer live in sin. And it means we were raised with Christ to newness of life in him, to be lived to Christ and to his righteousness. We put off our former lives of living in sin and we put on our new lives in Christ, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (1 Pet 2:24; Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24).

But let me go back to how we become the righteousness of God. It is only by God’s grace, through faith, and because of what Jesus did for us on that cross that we are able to be the righteousness of God. But we also have to live righteously in order to be righteous (Rom 6:16; 1 Jn 3:7-9; Rom 8:4).

2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

When this says that the old has gone and the new has come, this is not speaking of some status we now wear, i.e., that we were unsaved and now we are saved. And just because someone claims to believe in Jesus Christ doesn’t mean he is in Christ. For, this says “IF anyone is in Christ.”

Many people today are being taught that to be “in Christ” is a mere confession of Christ as Savior, or it is words we said after someone, or it is a mere acknowledgment of what Jesus did for us. But not many are being taught we must die with Christ to sin and live to Christ and to his righteousness to be “in Christ” (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9).

So, they are being taught they are “in Christ” and therefore their sins are all forgiven, heaven is guaranteed them, and it can’t be taken away. Thus, if they are feeling guilty about their sinful practices, they are just to claim “who they are in Christ” to make themselves feel not guilty for sinning.

This is a horrible and gross misuse of what it means to be “in Christ,” for truly it means we have died with Christ to sin, we have been reborn of the Spirit of God, and that now we are living according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. It doesn’t mean we are perfect, though.

So, when this says, “IF anyone is in Christ,” the old has gone and the new has come, it means you have to first of all truly be in Christ by faith in him via death with him to sin and being raised to newness of life in him by which you are now living for him (Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24).

2 Corinthians 5:18-19 NIV

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”

Again, all this comes from God and not from ourselves. We can do nothing in and of ourselves to be made righteous in God’s sight or to be forgiven of our sins or to be delivered from our slavery to sin or to have eternal life with God. But we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared in advance that we should walk in them (Eph 2:10).

If we don’t walk according to the Spirit, but according to the flesh, and if we are not crucified with Christ in death to sin, but we continue living in sin, and if we are not living to him and to his righteousness, and if we are not obeying him, but we are living in disobedience, we are not reconciled to God.

How do I know this? It is what the Bible teaches. No, this is not works-based salvation. But it is the truth of what it means to be saved and to be reconciled to God and to be united with him in faith. For, IF we are in Christ, the old (our sinful lifestyle) will be gone and the new (living to Christ) will be here (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; Lu 9:23-26; Tit 2:11-14).

2 Corinthians 5:20-21 NIV

“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

So, when this encourages you to be reconciled to (made right with) God, this isn’t speaking of confessing Christ with your lips only. This is speaking of you being turned from darkness to light and from the power and control of Satan to God/Christ to now walk in his holiness and righteousness.

It means you must die with Christ to sin, that you must put off your former life of sin, that you must be made new in Christ, and that you must now live for the Lord and for his righteousness in obedience to his (NT) commands, empowered of the Holy Spirit who now lives in you. So, will you?

Lord, I’m Coming Home

By William J. Kirkpatrick, 1892

I’ve wandered far away from God,
Now I’m coming home;
The paths of sin too long I’ve trod,
Lord, I’m coming home.

I’ve wasted many precious years,
Now I’m coming home;
I now repent with bitter tears,
Lord, I’m coming home.

I’m tired of sin and straying, Lord,
Now I’m coming home;
I’ll trust Thy love, believe Thy word,
Lord, I’m coming home.

My soul is sick, my heart is sore,
Now I’m coming home;
My strength renew, my home restore,
Lord, I’m coming home.

My only hope, my only plea,
Now I’m coming home;
That Jesus died, and died for me,
Lord, I’m coming home.

I need His cleansing blood I know,
Now I’m coming home;
Oh, wash me whiter than the snow,
Lord, I’m coming home.

Coming home, coming home,
Nevermore to roam;
Open wide Thine arms of love,
Lord, I’m coming home.

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