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One of the first steps toward becoming a Christian is repentance, or confession that we are sinners. To admit to God and to ourselves that we are sinners is to put aside our human pride and confess the truth of what we really are.
But we don’t make that confession blindly, and we don’t make it out of any sense of humiliation. We make it knowing that the God to whom we are confessing our sinfulness loves us completely, unconditionally and eternally. And we make it knowing that he has already made atonement for us in Jesus Christ even before we were born.
By knowing God loves us in this way, we are free in Christ to honestly acknowledge our sinfulness before him without any fear. We can trust ourselves to him fully and without reservation. Knowing we are safe in his love, we can confess to him and trust him with even the most crushing burdens of our darkest sins and fears. That is freedom indeed.
But how do we break free of our sinfulness? How do we enter into that new life of righteousness and obedience? When we try to do that on our own, we find ourselves failing. We fight against our old ways using all our willpower and devotion, but we lose so often that we can easily fall into despair.
But there is no need to carry such burdens. That’s because God not only forgives us, he transforms us into a new creation in Jesus. Jesus is not only our Redeemer; he is our Righteousness and our Life!
The Son of God became one of us, human as we are, to do everything for us that we could not do for ourselves. During his life, he obeyed the Father perfectly in our place. In his death, he took the consequences of our sins in our place.
In his resurrection he conquered death for us. And in his ascension, he places us with himself at the right hand of the Father. He represents us before the Father and he substitutes for us before the Father. He paid for our sins, and he is our life and our righteousness. In Jesus, we are a new creation.
We still often fail to live up to who we are in Christ, of course. But we also live by faith, trusting God to be who he says he is for us, the One who forgives us and who makes us new in Jesus. And we look forward to the day when we will fully experience what we for now, only experience in part.
The apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
No longer must we live in opposition to God, ourselves and our neighbors. God has broken the chains of darkness and sin, freeing us to be a new creation, a new person – redeemed, healed and complete in Jesus Christ.
I’m Joseph Tkach, speaking of LIFE.