Weekly Newsletter

Pastor David’s Weekly Devotional
True freedom in Christ is not the freedom to do whatever we want, but the freedom to do whatever Christ wants (see Gal.5:1, 13; 1Pet.2:16).  This freedom occurs the moment of true conversion.  For all who are unsaved are enslaved to sin, and unable to please God (Rom.6:17-18; 8:7-8).  This glorious freedom in Christ can be expressed with three salvific words:

1)   Justification ~ Freed from the penalty of sin!
      In justification, the believer is made righteous by God through the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.  That is, since Christ bore the full penalty of all our sins on the cross, we stand before God free from any consequence or condemnation from our sin.  Sound too good to be true?  It certainly does.  But is it true nonetheless.  Scripture assures us that “For our sake [God] made [Christ] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2Cor.5:21).  Though completely sinless, Jesus Christ died as if He lived our unrighteous lives, and in Him we stand before God as if we lived His righteous life (apart from any work of righteousness on our own; see Eph.2:1-10).  Christ was punished for our sins, so that we could receive His righteousness.  Some have defined justification as “just as if you never sinned.”  While this definition is simplistic, it does well to capture the essence of the believer’s justification in Christ.  Namely, those who have truly received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior have been forgiven by God of all their sins, and stand before God in the righteousness of Jesus Christ; completely and eternally free from the penalty of any sin.

2)   Sanctification ~ Freed from the power of sin!
      The word sanctified means “to be holy or set apart as holy.”  In the Bible, Christians are called “saints” or “holy ones.”  This is because those who have been justified by Christ are also sanctified by God’s Holy Spirit.  In fact, it is only because we have been justified by Christ that we can be holy.  God has called us to be holy to reflect His holiness (1Pet.1:15-16).  But we cannot become holy in and of ourselves, for apart from the justifying work of Christ we are enslaved to sin (Tit.3:3) and unable to obey God’s law or please Him in any way (Rom.8:7-8).  Sanctification is God’s work in us to make us (practically) into what He has already declared us to be (positionally): righteous.  When we put our faith in Christ Jesus, we are freed, for the very first time, from the power of sin – free to be as holy as God has called us to be.  “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? … And such were some of you.  But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1Cor.6.9-11).

3)   Glorification ~ Freed from the presence of sin!
      Glorification is the culmination of the believer’s salvation, the time when believers will be gloried in order to be in the presence of God’s glory for all eternity (1Cor.15:53).  “And those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified” (Rom.8:30).  Notice that in this verse the word “glorified” is speaking of a future event in the past tense.  That is because our glorification is assured, even though it is not yet realized.  Because God’s promises are always true, our hope of salvation is not some wishful thinking but rather a concrete assurance that one day we will be with God – freed from the presence of sin – forevermore.

Together in and for Christ,
Pastor David

Scripture Readings for the Week (Monday – Sunday ~ Week #14):
Exodus 1-4; 1 Samuel 16-20; Psalm 39-41; Job 27-28; Jeremiah 7-11; Mark 7-8; 1 Corinthians 11-12
Recommended Reading: “Our Great God and Savior” by Eric J. Alexander

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