Jesus put all of heaven on the line when he came down to earth and took on humanity to set us free from sin and death. He could have chosen at any time to walk away from the will of the Father and forego the cross but he showed how committed He is to the Father, to us and to the Father’s plan for mankind as well as how much He loves us by following through. In fact, Hebrews 12:2 lets us know that it was for the joy set before Him that he endured the shame and anguish of the cross.
Let there be no confusion: If you are a reborn believer in Jesus Christ, you are a completely new creation. Jesus Christ has purchased us and we are brand new when we are reborn into Christ. Paul makes it abundantly clear that anyone who is in Christ is a new creation. Not only that, but he goes on to say that the old is gone and being new is now a present reality (2 Corinthians 5:17). That is awesome! However, I can’t believe the number of Christians I’ve run into over the years who think that they are still sinners. We’ve all heard it: “we’re just sinners saved by grace…” I was so grieved when a brother I recently met said to me that he has finally accepted the fact that he will always be a sinner and that there is nothing he can do about it. What?!?!?! Isn’t this exactly what Jesus accomplished through His death and resurrection? I responded by telling him that I was unaware someone could be a reborn believer and a sinner at the same time. I am no longer a sinner! I was a sinner and then I was saved by His amazing grace. Does that mean I am incapable of sinning? No, of course not. But I don’t identify as something simply because I have the ability to be that something. I have the ability to be an alcoholic so if I have a glass of wine now and then, does that make me an alcoholic? If I play catch with my son in the front yard does that make me a major-league baseball player? Of course not. I am neither of these things so I don’t identify as either of them. Likewise, the fact that I might sin from time to time doesn’t make me a sinner any more than drinking a glass of wine makes me an alcoholic or playing catch with my son makes me a professional baseball player.
Why is this important? Because seeing ourselves as sinners after we’ve been reborn into Christ dramatically impacts our self-identity in Christ and prevents us from fulfilling our calling as believers, not to mention, it minimizes the significance of what Christ did on the cross and the gospel of the kingdom. A believer who’s identity is consumed with sin is focused more on the tragedy that occurred in the garden instead of the victory that occurred at the cross. We will cover this in a follow up post. For now, it is important for us to let Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 5:21 be our firm reality concerning who we are: “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” We are completely new creations!