I’m going to make a statement here and then give you a moment to take it in:
Once you have experienced the new birth, God is not even slightly concerned or focused on your sin, there is a very high probability He cannot even see it…any of it.
He is righteousness focused…even the ministry of the Holy Spirit according to John is to convince us of righteousness, not sin, conviction of sin is reserved for unbelievers.
This might be a bit of a challenge to get a hold on but I have become convinced after over 4 decades as a spirit filled believer that the biggest problem that we face is not our old sinful nature, it is not the devil and his minions, it is not evil inside us at all by our average definitions…it is dead works.
Oddly enough when the book of Hebrews lays out the foundations of our faith in the 6th chapter it does not list repentance from sin, which in most evangelical traditions should be the starting place…
No mention of sin at all…oh yes there are other verses that talk about “laying it aside”…”Him being faithful and just to forgive us”, you know them, you’ve read them and depended on them for comfort most of your Christian life…but very little focus on sin at all.
Can anyone show me a verse in Paul’s Epistles where he focuses on asking for forgiveness of sins, or even a sermon where he uses that language? No you can’t why is that?
Even the chaotic Romans 6-8 passages are not really about us so much as Paul’s journey of discovery, and I believe he only shares it as an example and not a template…he finally ends up realizing that there really wasn’t a battle at all, it was just his perspective of one that gave it power, once he changed his perspective his out look changed as well as his behavior.
No, what Hebrews lays as a foundation is “repentance from dead works”…and I have heard very few sermons that applied this focus, most all of our repentance talk is about behavior, not sources.
You know what I mean…people become brutally transparent and share how they overcame pornography, or smoking, or unforgiveness or….fill in the blank.
You’ve probably heard the “feed the white dog, not the black dog” Buddhist nonsense masquerading as good discipline, but the problem is if there is no black dog, then there is no white dog…the New testament does not use this dichotomous language, it simply says “put on the new”…just put it on…like a coat.
Very rarely do you encounter someone who shares how they repented from living out of a dead source of life…which is what Hebrews is calling us to…”dead works” is any effort or behavior that has as its source something dead…
And this is where the white hat good guys trip us up…see we think God has only crucified our bad self in Christ, like a partial lobotomy, He somehow managed to only kill the part of us that was bent on evil and left the “good” part of us intact…
“In Christ All died”
Being crucified with Christ is not about getting a second chance to try harder, that is the way of the law and Hebrews will also make clear that the law makes NOTHING perfect…in other words even if you could keep the law (you can’t it is designed to defeat you) you would still not be perfect…
What took me almost 4 decades to learn was that my good self was crucified with Christ as well as my bad self…so any effort to be good, to do good, to remain good were all things that came from a source of life that God Himself has declared dead.
Zombie Christians…I believe the worlds fascination with Zombie movies is because in the spiritual realm they are aware of this metric, millions of believers have animated a part of their life that God has declared dead, and we did it because we thought God wanted our dead self to do something good for Him.
He does not.
The death Adam imparted to you infects all of your life, even the good part of you, its all dead.
When you discover that your good side is just as dead as your evil side, it will be much easier to get on with the process of life in Christ…
Why the intensity of this model? Why is God so intent on my efforts being put to death?
Well its because He loves you so much He wants to put you into a place where His favor, His blessings, His love, His intentions, His thoughts for you could never be compromised, and the only place that was possible was “In Christ”…
So now when you read all those “In Christ” verses you should realize its talking geography as well as elevation…”In Christ” is your current GPS location…its the one place where you can never miss out on His love.
So put down the white hat…you don’t need it anymore…besides that guy is just as dead as the guy in the black hat…
Knowing that…how does it feel to be alive?
I’m going to leave you with this faith challenge…it really is as simple as putting it on…believing that it is true…once you do that…the battle is over.
There is no bad guy…but by default there is also no good guy…which frankly is a relief.