By Seth Huenink
In my last excerpt (Stop Running on Fumes—Hear the Rest of the Gospel) we examined the idea that the gospel of Christ isn’t solely based on the forgiveness of sins. Although, important, it’s only part of the story. The other part is the fact that we were crucified with Christ and consequently, made alive by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. One of the overarching themes of this is that we were given the very nature of Christ. A part of that is that we are no longer sinners. I know this statement can raise some eyebrows. So let’s explicate this idea for a moment.
No Longer Sinners
I did not say, “we no longer sin”. I’m simply stating the fact that the Father no longer sees us as sinners. So why do we call ourselves one? Some of you well-traveled Christians might be squirming in discomfort right now so please allow me to remind you of what the Bible says about this specifically:
– Romans 3:22 “the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God through faith in Jesus Christ for ALL who believe….”
– 1 Corinthians 1:30 “And because of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God, RIGHTEOUSNESS, sanctification and redemption.
-2 Corinthians 5:21 “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God.”
Dead to Sin
Does this sound like “You know, I’m just a poor sinner saved by grace”? Sounds to me like you’re righteous. However, not your righteousness, but by his wounds you were given His. If that’s not enough let’s briefly examine this whole “dead to sin” idea.
– 1 John 3:9 “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.”
– Romans 6:2 “…..We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”
– Romans 6:11 “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
– Romans 6:17 “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed.”
Tell me, does this sound like we are still a bunch of poor, wretched sinners? Undoubtedly, we absolutely were prior to our salvation. Nevertheless, the second we were saved, we became righteous. He called us by HIS name. I’m not saying that God doesn’t value us before He paints us with righteousness. As evidenced through His countless acts of love including His ultimate act, the crucifixion. Actions taken on our behalf that preceded not only our existence but our acceptance of Him. Here’s some more honest, good news. We’re new. Not just a little new. Never seen before new.
– Ephesians 4:24 “and to put on the NEW self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
– 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
Allow me to expand on this momentarily. Our word ‘prototype’ has derivative origins from the Greek “new” used here. To put what was said to us about who we are in Christ into perspective it might help if we cover this definition.
Prototype [ˈprōdəˌtīp] (noun); a first, typical or preliminary model of something.
Never seen before new.
A New Nature
I want to share for a moment, something that absolutely blew my mind. Do you remember the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? I’m sure you’re all too familiar with the story. But what about the tree of life in the middle of the garden (Genesis 2:9)? Notice how there wasn’t a tree of good and a tree of evil? It’s because good vs. evil is flesh speak. It is not who you are in the spirit.
However, we create this devil/angel on our shoulders dichotomy that isn’t really Biblical. It’s not good vs. evil. The Bible never portrays humans as being both simultaneously. It’s not possible. It can’t be because one of those is dead. Always. Preceding our salvation is that we were dead to good. Following salvation, we were dead to evil. There is only the seed of the serpent or the seed of the Son. Neither can produce what the other does. So why this ready acceptance for this teaching? Dan Stone, in his book– The Rest of the Gospel summarizes it beautifully:
“The teaching on two natures is so persuasive because it looks true. In the realm of the experience (the physical), you feel it and think it. So what keeps it from being true? The fact that you are not who you think or feel.”
In the same way that a room can only be filled with either darkness or light, there can only be righteous or sinner. Which seed do you have?
More to Come
I would be delighted to continue, but in a short period of time we’ve covered some pretty heavy, foundational subject matter that may seem contradictory to what you’ve built your spiritual house on. My hope is that you take some time to chew on this and let the Holy Spirit do some work. Please be looking for Existing for More’s next post; Discerning Identity—You are as Great as the Lies you DON’T Believe coming soon. We will be delving another step deeper into this mysterious paradox of identity. We hope that you will join us. Thank you for letting us be a part of your journey.
In summation, we covered these three truths for believers:
- You are 100% righteous. Which means that there has to be 0% of something. Not 20% or 2%. 0%
- You are 100% dead to sin.
- You are a never seen before prototype made possible by Christ in you.