2 Corinthians 5:1-6:2, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Titus 2:11-14
Do you ever find yourself driven to defeat or despair under the weight of your own sin? Do you wonder, If I am a saint, why can’t I live a victorious Christian life? If so, you are not alone. Consider these words from the apostle Paul and how often we, too, cry out to God in similar ways. “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:23).
The Christian life is a journey of killing sin; we are either killing sin or sin is killing us. And the pursuit of righteousness often teaches us that the more we grow in holiness, the more sin we see in ourselves. In the pursuit of righteousness, this may alarm us, but it should not disarm us. In fact, the gospel of Jesus Christ reminds us that we are far worse than we once realized, but God is better than we ever could have imagined.
This is why the gospel is good news! “[God] made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). In other words, Jesus paid the price for our sin so that we could be counted as righteous before God. And the righteousness of Christ is credited to us when we trust in Him for salvation!
Therefore, in the fight for righteousness, we should not be driven to despair or defeat when we consider the presence of sin in our lives. Instead, this should drive us to Christ, where we find grace and peace. Through faith, Jesus’ victory over sin and death becomes our victory over sin and death.
As Tim Keller has said, “The Christian gospel is that we are so flawed that Jesus had to die for us, yet we are so loved that Jesus was willing to die for us.” Did you catch that? We are so loved that Christ willingly died for us. It is in the security of His love, in response to His love, that we pursue righteousness.
One day, when Christ appears we will experience the fullness of salvation in eternal life without sin. Now, in this life, His grace has appeared bringing salvation, but also training us to renounce ungodliness. It is His grace that trains and equips us to live self-controlled and godly lives in this present age.
Therefore, when the Spirit reveals sin in your life, it is an act of grace. In light of this grace, we must act in faith. Faith teaches us to trust that while our sin is great, Christ is greater. Faith repeatedly trains us to turn from sin and turn to Christ. You see, the victorious Christian life isn’t the sinless life; it’s the repentant life of faith. In this sense, a saint is one who falls and gets back up, turning again and again to Jesus, standing on the gospel that declares we are righteous in Him.
Written by Matt Capps