The Bible says that the devil is the father of lies (John 8:44) and that’s how he primarily attacks us: through lies. When you receive one of those lies into your heart, into your belief system, it’s like a virus in a computer. It starts to attack and destroy everything, and it can eventually cause complete destruction. There is a lot of power in a lie, but the power of the truth always wins. You don’t have to believe the lies.
John 8:32 New King James Version (NKJV)
“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
The lies that we believe are holding us in bondage but the more truth we walk in, the more freedom we will experience. One of the lies that we as believers tend to gravitate towards is the law of thinking that Christianity is a continuation of our old life. We tend to think that now that we’re Christians, we need to improve ourselves and do some works in order to become better people. The root of this belief is really the idea that even though I am a new creation in Christ, I am still a sinner. The lie that many Christians gravitate towards is “I’m just a sinner saved by grace”. It sounds like a humble thing to say but it’s not because it is not what God says about you and true humility is agreeing with God and saying what He says about you. This lie is a virus that will affect your life in every area.
2 Corinthians 5:21 The Message (MSG)
God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.
2 Corinthians 5:21 Revised Standard Version (RSV)
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Jesus died on the cross so that we could be righteous. He became sin for us so that we could be made right with God. He has given us His righteousness – this is how God sees us: in perfect right standing with Him. Righteousness means that we’ve been justified: made just as if we’ve never sinned. We’re justified by faith in Jesus and what he’s done for us (Romans 5:1). Every single Christian is justified because of their faith in Christ. A lot of the time we tend to see ourselves in the flesh and not as God sees us (in the spirit). 2 Corinthians 5:16 says that we should no longer judge any man after the flesh; we shouldn’t be relating to other people and even ourselves after the flesh. We shouldn’t judge each other or ourselves according to the natural but according to the spirit – who we are in Christ.
If we tend to focus on our shortcomings in the natural we are focusing on ourselves too much and what tends to happen is our Christianity becomes about self-improvement. It becomes about trying to be holier. It becomes about doing more to be more; we start wrongly believing that “if I do good, I will be good.” But we are not good because we do good, we are good because we believe in Jesus and He has made us good. We are not sinners saved by grace; we were sinners, we got saved by grace and now we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. You cannot improve on that. There is no self-improvement in Christianity. None whatsoever. The more we realize and accept the truth about what happened to us when we got born again – that we are now completely and utterly righteous in Christ – the more we will start to experience it and our lives will start to transform. A lot of people see Christianity as, “I need to try harder and live a better life now because I’ve got an opportunity to start again… I better not mess it up!” You could never mess it up because of grace – undeserved, unmerited, unearned favour. Ephesians 2:1 shows us that we were dead in our sins but now we’re alive in Christ! We need to start thinking of ourselves as God think of us: we are dead to sin and alive to righteousness! and start to live like that. As Proverbs 23:7 says, the way we think determines the way that we will live. We need to change the way we think about God, ourselves and all of life. We need to start thinking more and more according to His Word.
If you see yourself as “a sinner saved by grace” you will live life as a sinner thanking God for His grace. But if you start to see yourself as God sees you, that you were a sinner but now you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, you will start to live free from sin and you will experience righteousness! You don’t have to struggle with sin as a Christian because now you are born of God and you have overcome the world. You are now perfectly righteous in Christ and the more you see that the more you accept that, the more you realize that, the more you will start to transform and change in your life.
I understand that you might be saying, “I’m struggling with such and such a sin…I’m struggling with this or that…” This is liberating news for you: the only reason you’re struggling with something and you’re not flourishing in that area of your life is that you don’t know what happened to you when you got born again or you don’t believe it and you don’t focus on it enough. The more you focus on your true identity the more you’re going to start to live in the fullness of that new identity in Christ. Focus in on who you are in Christ. Christianity is not about self-improvement. It’s not a journey of becoming something that you’re not; rather it is a journey of discovering who you already are in Christ.