Last time, I wrote about the sacrifice that Jesus made for us, a perfect sacrifice that made us holy and righteous with God once and for all. Now we can go to God with open hearts, trusting in His grace and mercy.
People hear this Good News and they are incredulous. They ask, “So this means you can just do whatever you want and God’s okay with that?”
It doesn’t mean that! A question like that comes from the flesh. The flesh thinks about “doing whatever it wants to do” because it’s thinking about what it wants to do. The flesh thinks, “I have fire insurance. I can literally do whatever I want, with literally no consequences! That’s what it means when you say I’m saved!”
I can see how the message of grace might sound that way, but that’s not the message. We need to think about this using a different mindset. Don’t think from your flesh. Instead, think from within God’s family and kingdom, because that’s where you live now.
In the world of the flesh, doing whatever you want seems fun at the time, but there are a lot of unwanted consequences. The desires of the flesh can cause a lot of pain. People can get hurt when we let the flesh do the thinking.
At the very moment that you recognize what Jesus did, you are saved by the Spirit of God. At that very moment, your identity isn’t in your flesh any longer. Your identity is in Christ. That identity is holy and righteous.
You see, that’s what God does, man. He changes your identity. He goes into you and He transforms you. He makes you a new creature in Christ. He creates within you a new Spirit, and Spirit thinks with the mindset of God’s kingdom, which is grace and mercy. So that’s what we reflect. We reflect grace and mercy into the world, not fleshly desires like lust or envy.
Holy and righteous simply loves its neighbor.
The way to do that is to serve. Kingdom mentality is a servant mentality, so we reflect God by serving. We love our neighbors as ourselves.
That’s how I understand my identity in Christ. This is who I am. I don’t perform acts of service in order to receive acceptance from God. God has already accepted me. I serve because I’m a member of His family. I can trust that I am holy and righteous.
Knowing that I am holy and righteous in His eyes, I am free. I can serve because I want to serve, not because I’m trying to earn His favor. There’s no point in trying to earn God’s favor, because Jesus already did that for me.
Now, in my freedom, I can feel good about the good works that I do. Loving my neighbor comes from the identity God gave me. In my freedom, He makes me who I am.