The Special of the Day... From the Orange Moon Cafe...
"Acceptance With God: Achieved Or Received?"
Part 3 - Being, Bearing
While salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ delivers all who believe from "the wrath to come," our redemption involves far more than simply rescue from judgment (Matthew 3:7).
"We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Romans 8:28-29).
God saved us in order to conform us to the spiritual and moral image of His Son, the Lord Jesus. Thereby we will eternally honor Him as those freely redeemed by grace, but even more, as spiritually reborn and reconstituted sons and daughters who walk in righteousness. This involves a perfection to come when we are glorified in the next life, and a process of growth during our earthly lifetime. "He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6). The Holy Spirit works in us to produce "the fruits of righeousness which are by Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:11). Thus, being made righteous as a matter of relationship and standing through Christ is meant to result in a corresponding life of trusting obedience to God and devotion to others. "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit" (Galatians 5:25).
It is absolutely vital to understand the clear delineation between our freely given righteousness of being through Christ, and the bearing of His righteous fruits in our thoughts, attitudes, words, and deeds. Our being involves an already established righteousness: "Christ... is made unto us righteousness" (I Corinthians 1:30). Conversely, we must grow in bearing the fruits of righteousness through Christ (I John 1:8). Believers are righteous through Christ. "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Romans 4:5). However, we may or may not walk accordingly. The New Testament epistles are replete with accounts of believers affirmed as God's trusting children in Christ - "accepted in the Beloved" - but who nevertheless lived in a manner unbecoming to Him (see 1st Corinthians in particular). Thus, we must affirm our righteousness in Christ provided as the freest gift ever given. We must also avail ourselves of freely given grace in order to progressively live accordingly. "Let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear" (Hebrews 12:28).
The better we know our being, the more we will fulfill our bearing. As a free gift, God placed the righteousness of the Lord on our account when we believed. He thereafter views us not merely as ourselves, but as ourselves spiritually united to the Lord Jesus. He accepts us accordingly. This is a primary aspect of what the New Testament means when it declares believers to be "in Christ" (II Corinthians 5:17). We must join our Heavenly Father in His view of grace in order to more consistently walk in faith and faithfulness. The chef who forgets he is a chef will not cook. The athlete who ignores his talent will not compete. The carpenter who neglects his gift will not build. Far more importantly, the Christian who does not know, or who forgets his freely given relationship and righteous being in Christ, will not consistently bear corresponding fruits of our acceptance with God. Christians are who we are in Christ, unchangably and forever. Knowing and affirming such a gift of grace results in a corresponding life whereby righteousness freely received increasingly becomes a righteous life more faithfully realized...
"Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Part 4 - Laboring to be accepted (II Corinthians 5:9)
Weekly Memory Verse
As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him, rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.