What in the world is a justified sinner?
This morning I listened to a podcast about how to live as a justified sinner. 'What in the world is a justified sinner' you might be thinking (at least that's what I was thinking when I hit the pause button)? Hmmmmmmmm....
How can someone full of sin be seen by God as someone having no sin?
Well...that's the million dollar question...and it's answer is the foundation of the Christian faith.
Here it is in a nutshell. Because God is holy, he can't look upon sin. But because God is all-loving, he had to make a way to see us without seeing our sin. Enter Jesus. Jesus satisfied the need for sinlessness in God's sight. Because Jesus willingly took away our sin on the cross, God sees Jesus in us instead of seeing our sin. Romans 5:1 says it this way: Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith [we've been justified], we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.
This is absolutely astounding news, wouldn't you agree? This is how sinners like you and me can have PEACE with Almighty God. It doesn't mean we're no longer sinners; we were born sinners and we'll die sinners. It means that, because Jesus paid the price for all this sin - a price we could never pay on our own - God sees us as if we've never sinned (IF we've accepted Jesus' sin-payment on our behalf). Again, astounding news AND the answer to the million dollar question.
But back to why I hit the pause button: What does it look like to live as a justified sinner? Here's what I'm learning. A justified sinner understands the depth of his sin AND the depth of God's love. This changes the way he goes about life. Rather than wallowing in shame, fear, false arrogance or self-loathing, the justified sinner repents quickly and often of his treason against a holy God. But he doesn't stop there. The justified sinner then immediately rejoices that he has peace with this holy God through his faith in Jesus. And why is he at peace? Because in God's eyes, he's "just-as-if-he'd" never sinned! So, the two actions, the repenting and the rejoicing, simultaneously create a person who is both humble and happy. And that's a winning combination; a million dollar combination.
Are you living as a justified sinner? Try it...it's refreshingly freeing. And because it's a supernatural work of God, it's not an oxymoron at all.