This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:22-24 (NIV).
When I was just a little guy I threw a hammer through our picture window.
My dad, watching the glass shards fall to the grass, shouted, “Why did you do that?”
My reply was classic. “It was dirty,” I told him. I knew better. Dad cautioned me a dozen times not to pick up his hammer.
That little I-want-to-see-what-dad-will-do trick of mine condemned me to death and eternity in hell. And until I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior it would have. The Bible teaches us that the wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23. Any sin. Every sin. All sins.
But we know, and we have known since we were saved, that, “ALL are justified (found not guilty) freely (at no cost to us) by His (God’s) grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (and His death on the cross).
The problem lots of us have (who don’t know our true identity in Christ) is that we don’t believe it. Consequently we can’t understand it. So, it’s impossible for us to live out of our redemption in Jesus. We find it hard to believe that Jesus would die for all the sins we’ve committed that seem, to us, unforgivable. That He’d take all our sins (and the death we deserve) upon Himself.
We tell others we’re saved. We accept that we’re saved. Because we don’t really believe what our salvation really is, we spend years concocting a personal identity for ourselves based on what we think and feel about ourselves. And worse, what OTHERS think our identity ought to be.
The identity we create for ourselves, however, has little if anything to do with what God thinks of us. Who God says we are. Without knowing our true identity in Christ our thoughts and feelings determine how we live. We study the Bible, pray, worship, fellowship with others and serve the way we think we should. The way we think God wants us to.
When we finally learn our true identity in Christ, the guilt and shame we feel about all those sins Jesus forgave will dissipate.
Next: Not Condemned