Regardless of what you think disqualifies you from the grace of God, the reality is that you are the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). You have an eternal position at the right hand of God and your purpose on this course remains eternally intact, regardless of how you get there. – You Are Not Disqualified, Part I
Therefore, we can find absolute freedom from the crippling belief that our shortcomings disqualify us from the grace of God.
We know that our eternal position in Jesus Christ as the righteousness of God is not dependent upon our performance, but rather upon God’s wonderful grace and mercy, for while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
We rejoice in this and yet in the same moment we have the nerve; we have the audacity to believe that while the grace of God has indeed saved us, we better work hard to get ourselves out of whatever deep, dark place of bondage we now find ourselves in (Judah Smith).
Society and even the Church has developed this idea that even though Jesus freed us from the condemnation of sin, we still have to work hard to free ourselves from the power that sin has in our lives right now.
Romans 7:7-25 paints a picture of our inherently sinful nature, noting that we don’t even understand our own sinful impulses, let alone possess the ability to actually overcome them.
Paul spends 18 verses trying to understand why he doesn’t do what he knows is right and true, but instead does what he knows is wrong and sinful (vs. 15).
I think we can all relate to this – knowing intellectually the Gospel truths and what is right versus what is wrong, yet still dealing with this internal drive that urges us toward sinful behaviors every day.
So where then do we get off believing that we can actually work ourselves out from under the weight and power of sin?
Paul exclaims in Romans 7:24 – “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of sin?”
This verse is incredible for so many reasons – 1) Paul admits his inherently sinful nature [what a wretched man I am]; 2) He recognizes the fact that he cannot rescue himself [who will rescue me…]; and 3) He understands that it is not just from the condemnation of sin that he needs rescuing, but from his daily battles with sin as well [who will rescue me from this body of sin].
What I find fascinating about this passage though is that the very next verse following this one of questioning and concern is one of rejoicing – ‘Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord” (vs. 25)!
Not once did Paul hint at any self-righteous attempt to work himself out of his wretchedness, but rather rejoiced in the fact that it was through Jesus Christ that he could be grateful to God for rescuing him from his daily screw ups.
I think the most important, yet one of the hardest lessons to be learned is not necessarily that we have been rescued from the consequences of sin, but that we need rescuing from the power of sin right now.
We forget that the same authority that freed us from the condemnation of sin is also the same authority that is freeing us from the power of sin, and will one day free us from the presence of sin all together.
Unfortunately though, the salvation story often becomes one of past tense.
We say things like ‘when I got saved…’ or ‘I was saved on…’
There is a distinct moment when we are born again; when Jesus Christ enters our hearts and we are saved from the condemnation of sin (i.e. hell).
However, it is often overlooked that salvation is an ongoing event; something that should be recognized in every moment of every day.
Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross offered us forgiveness from our sins – true!
But that’s not all it did.
It also offered us a new identity which we can live by right now!
We tend to think that there is this gap between forgiven and eternally positioned; we believe that though we have been rescued from the powers of hell, it is still our job to attain that ‘child of God’ position.
I often feel like if I haven’t worked hard to attain it, I don’t deserve it and that, my friend, is the exact opposite of the Gospel message.
Just like we are no match for the powers of hell, we are no match against our sinful impulses.
But that’s okay! We weren’t built strong enough to do that.
We weren’t created strong enough to actually attain a ‘good enough’ status to be welcomed into the family of God as His children.
We were never meant to achieve that on our own.
Just as the cross bridges the gap between eternally damned to hell and forgiven, it also bridges the gap between forgiven and child of God!
Jesus did not die to only save you from the powers of hell. He died so that you would also find freedom from your daily mistakes; that you would be able to humbly accept His sacrifice, knowing that regardless the mistakes you make here, you are still firmly established in His eternal glory as a child of God.
So it’s time to stop trying to get ourselves out of whatever battle we’re fighting by ‘working harder.’ Stop trying to earn that which has already been given; stop believing that just because you did it to yourself, you deserve to fight this battle alone.
It’s time to stop walking towards Calvary, ready to do whatever it takes to be ‘good enough’ and instead start walking towards the empty tomb.
Rejoice in the truth and knowledge that we were intended to experience salvation every day through the power and the grace of our risen Lord and Savior.