SAINTS NOT SINNERS

Bible Reading:  2 Corinthians 5:11-21

When we turn from sin and come to Christ we become a new creation. The Bible says that each person who has experienced this new birth is a saint. Thus Paul writes to the saints in Corinth [1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Ephesus [Ephesians 1:1]; Philippi [Philippians 1:1]; and Colossae [Colossians 1:2]. The word “saints” is translated in the NIV as “holy people.”

Many years ago I was preaching in a large church. During the sermon I asked the congregation to raise their hands up if they were sinners and like good sheep they all raised their hands. That was with the exception of one person, Robert, who was sitting behind me on the platform.

At the end of the meeting Robert challenged. ”Never call me a sinner again,” he said. I thought that this was rather proud and retorted with a verse of Scripture – “If we say we have no sin, then we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” [1 John 1:8]. Robert responded by saying that he used to be a sinner but was now a saint who sometimes sins. I was shocked, but he explained that when he was born again God gave him a totally new nature. He was no longer a sinner but now a saint. God made him holy when he turned from sin and put his faith in Christ and was born again.

God’s Word teaches us that when we are born again we receive a new nature. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here” [2 Corinthians 5:17]

Questions:

If you have always considered that a saint is someone who is much holier than yourself, would you now begin to rethink on the basis of God’s Word that says in Christ you are a saint?

What God says we are is an important step in becoming the person that God wants you to be. Would you thank Him today for whom He has made you to be in Christ?

RECEIVE RIGHTEOUSNESS (HOLINESS) AS A GIFT

Bible Reading:  Romans 5:1-21

How is it possible that I a sinner could be holy as God is holy?

When Jesus died upon the cross He became sin for us. All our sins, past, present and future were laid on Him. In taking the punishment for our sin Jesus satisfied the demand for justice of a God who is holy. The price can only be paid once. Jesus paid it all to set us free from sin.

Now when the holy God looks on us He sees us as free from sin. There is a verse of an old song that says, “God sees my Saviour, and then He sees me In the beloved, accepted and free”

Although we were sinners, through faith in what Jesus did on the cross we became righteous in God’s sight. Righteousness is a gift to be received [Romans 5:17]

Paul says, “For He [God] made Him [Christ] who knew no sin to become sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” [2 Corinthians 5:21]. He also writes, “You were washed, you were sanctified [set apart], you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” [1 Corinthians 6:11]. This statement is in the past tense! It happened when we turned from sin to Christ.

I may not feel that I am holy, and I am certainly not perfect but I have to reckon myself righteous before God on the basis of what Jesus did on the cross. To reckon means that I count it to be true, and this requires faith.

This is so simple and yet so profound. Will you today come simply to Jesus, acknowledging that in yourself there is no righteousness, and surrender to Him, believing that as you turn in faith to Him that you become the righteousness of God in Christ – no more guilt, condemnation or fear of judgement? Free!

Questions:

Many people think that holiness is simply something we have to work at and do not understand that it is firstly a gift to be received. How does this thought impact you?

What do you think is the meaning of the phrase, “without holiness no one will see the Lord” in Hebrews 10:14?

 

CALLED TO BE HOLY AS GOD IS HOLY

Bible Reading: 1 Peter 1:13-25

“But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written ‘Be you holy, because I am holy’” [1 Peter 1:15-16]

We begin a series of devotionals on holiness and purity with God’s command that we are to be holy as he is holy. The best place to begin with the subject of holiness is with the Holy One – God Himself. The heavenly creatures around His throne cry “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts. The whole earth is full of His glory” [Isaiah 6:3]. The Psalmist declares, “The Lord our God is holy!” [Psalm 99:3,6]. He is our standard and not the much lower standard of comparing ourselves with other people.

God’s holiness is to be totally separated from sin. His holiness is such that He hates sin. He so hates sin that when Jesus became sin for us the Father turned His face away, and Jesus cried out from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” [Matthew 27:46].  The Father could not look on sin. Such is His holiness, and He demands that we too be holy, deal with sin and have that same holy hatred of sin.

Wherever God Spirit has moved powerfully in revival, one of the first evidences of His presence is that people are convicted of sin. If we are going to be holy, then we need to have the same attitude to sin that God has. In the early church one of the key questions asked of the baptismal candidates was whether or not they had turned from sin, renounced the works of darkness and received Christ.

Questions:

We are to be holy as God is holy. What do you understand to be the meaning of God being Holy?

Would you say that in your life there is freedom from sin and a desire to constantly be pleasing to God?