“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21 ESV)
Numerous are the doctrines that many well-meaning Christians say, “What does this have to do with everyday life?” It’s a valid question. It’s an important one, something all Christians should think about.
With that being said, it is inaccurate to state, like some people do, that this doctrine—among others like the Trinity—don’t have any real impact on our lives. These doctrines, whether you know it or not, make a huge impact. These are not inapplicable or abstract doctrines; they are not just food for the mind, but they stir up the heart as well. This is why we study doctrine.
Resting over Performing
Frequently, Christians fall back into pre-conversion mode by attempting to gain God’s favor by performing various tasks. We revert back to our sinful ways by doing this in order to earn God’s grace. But we can’t earn something that is freely given.
The doctrine of imputation flattens the need to earn God’s favor (you can’t earn His favor anyway). Jesus earned it for us, friends. We don’t have to live every day attempting to perform for God’s pleasure! If you are in Christ, you already have it!
Because of imputation—because Jesus’s perfect righteousness was credited to our account and our sin was put upon Him—we can live without the nagging itch to perform. We don’t have to feel like we’re a defeated all the time. When we fail—even miserably—we can get back up knowing our salvation isn’t by works but based on the life, death, and resurrection of Christ which was given to me freely. We can live freely in Christ and obey His Word because of—not for—our salvation.
When God looks at us—even at our weakest moment—He sees no sin. Our sin was dealt with at the cross. He sees Jesus’ perfect righteousness.
Do you understand this, saint? Let’s get more practical. Our motivation for reading Scripture, praying, witnessing, fasting, etc.—all of the Christian disciplines—isn’t to earn God’s favor, but is in response to it! This distinction separates the Christian from every other religion. We don’t proselytize to earn God’s blessing; we proselytize because we already have it.
We have been saved by grace (Eph. 2:8), and God has given us the ability—through and in Christ—to obey by grace. Let us take hold of that precious truth!
Soli Deo Gloria