“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 (New King James Version)
“Me teach a Bible study? I can’t do that. I’m not worthy. Lord, You know my past. You know the sins I was involved in. I’m not suitable to lead a Bible study.”
“Daughter, did you repent and ask Me to forgive you? And did you turn away from those sins?”
“Well, yes. I did. And it no longer has a place in my life.”
“Do you believe I’ve forgiven you? Cleansed you?”
“Yes, You promised in Your Word that if I confessed my sin You would forgive me and cleanse me of all unrighteousness.”
“Do you believe you are now righteousness?”
“Uh, I’m not so sure about that. I don’t always feel righteous.”
“Daughter, do you know what I see when I look at you? I see the Blood of my Son Jesus. I see My righteousness which I have given you in place of your unrighteousness. I see you as worthy because I have made you worthy.”
“Yes, Father. I believe You have given me Your righteousness. Thank You Father for forgiving me not only of my past, but also for not believing Your righteousness has been given to me. Thank You Father for forgiving me, healing me, and giving me a new life in You. And I will do any task You ask me to do. Even leading a Bible study when I don’t feel worthy. Because I know in You I am worthy.”
Have you ever had a conversation like that? Knowing that God has called you to do something, yet not feeling like you’re worthy of the call?
Too many times as Christians we allow fear, doubt, or shame over our past keep us from fulfilling a call from God. We allow the enemy to come in and condemn us for things God has already forgiven and cleansed us of. When satan brings these thoughts, that is not the time to turn from God; that would be falling into satan’s trap to lure us back into sin. Rather that is the time when we need most to run to God, to go to the Word and meditate on the fact that we have been made the righteousness of God.
“God made him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 (New International Version)
Some may say, ‘but I was already a Christian when I sinned. I knew better but I did it anyway. How can I be the righteousness of God?’ The same way we’re saved to start with – by faith, believing the Word of God, by believing God can and will do what He said He would do.
1 John 2:1 was written to Christians. “My little children, I write you these things so that you may not violate God’s law and sin. But if anyone should sin, we have an Advocate (One Who will intercede for us) with the Father–[it is] Jesus Christ [the all] righteous [upright, just, Who conforms to the Father’s will in every purpose, thought, and action].” (The Amplified Bible) We have an Advocate – One who pleads our case before the Father and makes sure we’re forgiven.
God instructed me once to major on righteousness because when we become more aware and understand that we are the righteousness of God, sin begins to lose its hold on us. And the more we know of righteousness, the less it has control over us. We have to lose, give up, get rid of and deny its right that old religious idea “we’re just poor ol’ sinners saved by grace and can’t help ourselves but to sin”. As long as we hold on to that attitude, we’ll continue to be subject to sin.
It’s time to move on. Time to get past our past. The Apostle Paul said that he was forgetting his past – the position he’d attained as a devout Jew, his persecution of the Christians, all of it, and was moving on with Jesus toward the goal of being like Him. (See Philippians 3:13, 14)
We can’t change our past, neither the past before or since we received Jesus as Savior. But we can change our present. We can learn to walk in the righteousness Jesus has provided for us. We can grow into it. Like a child grows into a suit of clothes or a pair of shoes that are too big, we can grow into the image of Jesus Christ.
Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,