At the point of salvation we change from a sinner to a righteous saint.
It is more than just being forgiven.
In several places I have made remarks that describe the point at which we were saved; the point at which we believed in Jesus; by saying something like:
We change from un-forgiven sinners to forgiven sinners.
This is a true to a point. Like so many assertions it represents a view, but not the whole picture. In this case it represents our view. When we look at a new believer, and sometimes a believer well down the road, we donít see much difference to his state before he believed. The point of this assertion is to not be proud about our salvation. There are a lot of good people out there who are not saved. This also makes the point that our salvation was the work of God who has forgiven us.
However this is NOT Godís view! This is how God sees it..
Itís a total makeover! Itís also worth noting that all our sins are forgiven: past and future; those confessed and those forgotten or unnoticed. All means all. (Colossians 2:13, 1 John 2:2, 1 John 2:12)
Why is this such an important distinction? Itís because we need this revelation...
It is not about our deeds but about our position. Before we were saved we were sinners even when we did good things because that was our position as a descendant of Adam who sinned by rejecting God. But after we have believed in Jesus we are a the righteousness of God in Christ, even if we do sin. (Romans 5:17-19) In Christ our position is as the son of God with the very righteousness of God. Outside of Christ we are sinners and a son of Satan.
It is the revelation of our position and our righteousness before God that sets us free. We are free of condemnation and we walk free, no longer captives, of sin. (Romans 8)
I cannot deal exhaustively here with what is the essence of the Gospel of Grace. Joseph Prince deals with it very, very well; much better than me, so consult his site and teachings. (www.josephprince.org)
You will come across scriptures that seem to put you under the law and require deeds. Worse still, you will come across teachers who so use the scriptures to keep you under the law. But the Gospel of Grace is about what God has done. Jesus died for us while we were still sinners. Suddenly you believe this and are saved and for some weird reason we think, or worse still get told, that we have to do all the things we could never do before or we will lose what we received when were still sinners. Strange Ė but you will see it. Donít be fooled.
Perhaps this reverse logic will help you. Psalm 130:4 declares:
But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared.
Do you see the logic? If there is no forgiveness then why bother to take any notice of God, for we all fall short and would be cast into Hell. But because God is merciful, then we do revere God.
Well, it is the same with knowing that God already sees us as righteous. We no longer strive to establish our own righteousness which always fails and leads to condemnation. That sets us free to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit who leads us into all righteousness. (Romans 8:10, Romans 9:30-33, Romans 14:17, Galatians 5:4-6, Titus 3:5-8)
Manís way says, do not sin, but it leads to condemnation when we fail and keeps us slaves to sin. Godís way is to say, you are forgiven and righteous, so there is no longer any condemnation and now you are set free. Similarly Satan uses fear and death to manipulate us. But Godís way is to declare in advance our forgiveness and righteousness and so to guarantee our entry to Heaven. This removes Satanís strongholds.
Donít let anything take your sight off the fact that Jesus has already won us both forgiveness and righteousness via the Cross. Satanís ways and manís ways draw attention off the Cross and what God has already done and tries to put the requirements back on us because we will always fail. Itís only in Godís faithfulness and in what Jesus has done that we can truly trust and rest and place our faith.