There is a word the Lord gave me that I share from time to time in discipleship:
"The most impossible thing you can ever attempt to accomplish is to get what you already have or to become what you already are."
I share it anytime I sense that the person I am discipling is depending upon works, appearances, or both in order to garner the Lord’s approval.
While the Lord might not approve of everything we do or say….He loves us and He considers us to be beloved. Paul, writing to the Colossian Christians referred to them (and, therefore, us) as “the elect of God, holy and beloved…” (3:12a)
What is Paul’s basis for referring to Christians with this beautiful term? Is it because of their performance?
No! It’s simply because they are in Christ. He informs them of their identity in Christ (“holy and beloved”) and then he appeals to them to behave in a way that coincides with identity:
“...put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:12b-17)
Can you see what Paul did here? He spoke of our new identities in Christ which were prophesied by Isaiah.
“The Gentiles shall see your righteousness, and all kings your glory. You shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD will name. You shall also be a crown of glory In the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem In the hand of your God. You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called Hephzibah (literally, My delight), and your land Beulah (literally, master); for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married (the same as Beulah).” (Isaiah 62:2-4)
After speaking of our new identities in Christ he lists some of the behaviors that are our “new normal” as the delight of the Lord: humility, singing to Him, encouraging one another, peaceful hearts, love…..
In Christ we are no longer in the trap of the Law, attempting to do things in order to become righteous in God’s eyes. That would be most impossible as we ALREADY have been made, in Christ, the righteousness of God.
"For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Oh, brothers and sisters, let’s stop living in the impossible, vainly seeking to become what God has already made us to be!
Let's stop trying to become righteous through appearances and/or performance.
Jesus did not fail.
He became our sin so we could become something: "the righteousness of God in Him."
Jesus did NOT fail, therefore, for all who are born again....in Christ...we ARE "the righteousness of God" - because God said so.
Let's stop trying to work the law of righteousness by attempting to earn something Jesus gave to us as a gift.
"What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness." (Romans 9:30-31)
The answer to this rhetorical question is a resounding "YES!!!"
"Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. As it is written: 'BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STUMBLING STONE AND ROCK OF OFFENSE, AND WHOEVER BELIEVES ON HIM WILL NOT BE PUT TO SHAME.'" (Romans 9:32-33)
Let's resolve to simply walk in FAITH and trust that Jesus did what He set out to do. In other words, let's receive HIS righteousness as a gift from Him.
Let’s stop trying to BECOME something we already are and simply BE that.
"For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes." (Romans 10:4)
Now....let's advance God's Kingdom on the earth in and through us to others as a way of celebrating what Jesus has done for us - and not in some fruitless attempt to be "good enough" to earn something that is impossible to earn: God's approval.
Let's do righteous acts on the earth because that is the "new normal" for ex-sinners who have been transformed into something else: "the righteousness of God" - aka "SAINTS."
Let's enjoy more of what Jesus meant when "He said, 'It is finished! (COMPLETED!)" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit." (John 19:30b)