“For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was His plan from before the beginning of time – to show us His grace through Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 1:9)
Yesterday, we began talking about God’s purpose for our lives – and about how God, wanting to use us for His work, is not really the fullness of that purpose.
In our verse for today, God gives us two things to grasp about our life in Him…
First, we are called to “live a holy life.” If there is one thing that Christians hardly ever understand… it is holiness. We hear about living holy lives and immediately think of perfection. Perfect thoughts, words, and actions. No mess ups… ever! (Or God will be upset with you, and can’t use you for His purposes).
But this is not what God wants us to understand. The Christian life is not based on our perfect performance… it is based on Christ’s completed work.
When we come to Jesus, to receive what He has done for us, we ARE made holy. Everything we have ever done wrong (or will do wrong) is placed upon Jesus and His death paid the price for ALL our failures (get this: past, present, and future!).
We keep wanting to make it about getting a clean slate so we can (hopefully!) do better in the future (now that we have been forgiven)… but God has taken the slate out of the equation (Colossians 2:14!).
We keep wanting to make it about performance… about new chances to perform better (more Godly), but God has moved on from that (because of Jesus). We are Christians because of Christ’s performance alone. And our life that follows is based on Christ’s performance alone!
Back to our verse… because of Jesus: we ARE holy. Now, because of Jesus, we CAN live holy lives. We are able to do this because holiness is not based upon performance, but status. To be holy actually means “to be set apart.” Because of Jesus, we are set apart as the continual objects of God’s love. And because of Jesus, we are set apart as the continual recipients of God’s love.
God doesn’t just love us when we perform well. God just simply loves us. Case closed. This is really hard for us to grasp, but its truth is liberating… God doesn’t love us more when we get everything “right.” He doesn’t love us less when we do everything “wrong.” His love is constant! Because, now that we have come to faith in Jesus, everything goes back to Jesus’ performance. Jesus is our “standard” of performance – not us.
We did not become the objects of God’s love by our good works. We never earned God’s love. We were the objects of God’s love even before Jesus ever came. But, we become recipients of that love when we come to Jesus to receive what He has done for us. It is by faith in Jesus (and what He has done) alone that makes us “holy.”
Now we are called to live in that holiness (already provided to us by Jesus’ work). Tomorrow, we will conclude the year by talking about what that means…