. . . just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4
We’ve talked a lot over the last several weeks about the blessings of God. We’d be remiss if we didn’t zero in on our greatest blessing in Christ: forgiveness.
Sometimes I wonder if the word is tossed around so much it’s lost its potency. It’s so familiar to us in our Christian circles, we hardly appreciate the value of it anymore. We’re grateful for the ticket to heaven and we praise God for His gift to us, but beyond that, its power seems lost on us.
Beloved of God, forgiveness offers so much more than a free pass. It offers power for today.
You and I are carrying burdens we’re not meant to carry. We’ve spent our lives painfully bent under sin’s authority, and we’re still letting it rule us.
Sin still governs our thoughts. It convinces us to take offense, even when none is given. It leads us to make choices that bring us harm and even damage the people we love.
We don’t mean to. We can’t see it at the time. A veil of darkness blinds our view of consequence, dangling before us only the enticing lure of gratification. For the moment.
Then pain quickly follows, swallowing us in a tide of darkness that drags us bit by bit away from those we love.
Dear one, Jesus carried all of that sin to Calvary. He took it all. He didn’t just pay sin’s penalty. He bore the sin itself. And when they pounded the nails in His hands and feet, they nailed it with Him to that cross. It’s gone.
Jesus took our sin upon Himself and conquered its power. Do you know what that means, dear one? You no longer need to bow down to the rule of sin. You can stand in the authority of Jesus’ victory, with the power of that sin securely under your feet.
For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:14
Isn’t that an amazing promise? Grace has set us free from sin’s power over us.
You see, that’s what forgiveness really means, beloved.
Not just release from sin’s penalty and consequences, but freedom from sin’s control.
For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2
Do you see the present tense resting in the midst of that promise? Christ has already set us free from the law of sin and death. It’s not something He still has to accomplish. It’s already done.
You, dear one, are free from sin’s authority over you.
You may be wondering why you still struggle with sin. Let me share with you what God’s been speaking to me. You see, it comes down to faith. You and I are still struggling because we still believe we’re the person we used to be. We still view ourselves through the eyes of our old nature, the one that’s been tarnished by sin.
But Scripture is very clear that if we are in Christ, our nature has changed.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
There’s that present tense again. Do you see it, dear one? The new has already come. We don’t need to wait for Christ to make us a new creation. He’s already done it.
Now He’s asking us to believe it.
For years I’ve heard this expression tossed about within the body.
“I’m just a sinner, saved by grace.”
I’ve come to realize that phrase isn’t entirely true. Think it through with me.
If I have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, then I’m no longer a sinner. I was a sinner; that’s why I needed a Savior. But now I’m a redeemed child of God who has been set free from the power of sin and walks in the righteousness of Christ’s nature.
What difference does that make, dear one? You and I will always make our decisions based on what we believe.
If I still see myself as a sinner, I’m going to keep on sinning. If that’s what I believe I am, that’s what I’ll do.
But if I truly believe that I have a new nature given to me through Jesus Christ, my faith in choosing to walk that out will access the grace of God and empower me to live differently.
That’s the gift of forgiveness poured out to us through the cross, dear one. We are free. Free from sin’s destructive hold. Free to make different choices that produce life.
Will you see yourself as you are in Christ and let go of the person you used to be?
Unlimited power waits for the one who believes.