Friday, December 12, 2014

Righteous in Christ

Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1 HCS)

Righteous in Christ
Stephen was born in a Christian family and grew up thinking that God is an angry God. Since young, he was afraid of failing because he did not want to anger God, so he started confessing every wrong deed he had done. Finally, he told himself he would do what he wanted to do first and come back to God later. Before long he was led astray and his life became bitter as he indulged in all kinds of sin—smoking, drinking, drug use and many other stuff.

A year after he thought he was going to die due to drug overdosed, Stephen came to the end of himself and wanted to return to Jesus. Hearing a sermon by a pastor about the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, he took hold of that truth as his armor against his sinful ways. Within two weeks, God delivered him from all his bad habits. Today, Stephen reigns over them. Two years has passed since, and the work of God in his life continues to amaze people around him. God has also been opening doors for him to preach the good news.

The story of Stephen Zechariah Christopher was written by him as a testimony, shared at NewCreation.org.sg. Like Stephen, many of us have our own stories to tell about our adventures with God. Although some of our testimonies may not be as spectacular as that of Stephen’s, each of us surely have experienced the goodness of God in our lives, even if we may have gone astray from Him.

Jesus, in the parable of the lost son, told a similar story of someone who chose to leave his father to explore the world. He squandered his estate in foolish living and after he had spent everything and worked in the fields feeding pigs, he came to his senses and decided to go back to his father. While the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran and threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. He then celebrated the return of his son with a feast (Luke 15:11-24).

This is how our heavenly Father is like. Even when we have walked away from Him, if we choose to return, He would run toward us and throw His arms around our necks and kiss us. He would celebrate our return with much joy. 

Today, we are able to experience and receive God’s unmerited favor only because we have been declared righteous by faith and justified through faith in the finished work of our Lord at the cross and in His resurrection. We are now able to live victorious lives because we have peace with God through Christ Jesus our Lord. Our lives can continue to impact and amaze the people around us if we live to show out Christ in us. Our God will open doors for us if we let Him lead in all our ways (Romans 5:1, 9).

Now to Him who is able to keep us from stumbling and present us before His glorious presence, blameless and with great joy—to the only God our Savior—be glory, majesty, power, and authority through Christ Jesus our Lord before all time, now and forever. Amen (Jude 1:24-25).

Dear Lord, thank You for loving us so much that You would run toward us and place Your arms around our necks and kiss us even while we are still a long way off. Your unmerited favor and overflowing love overwhelm our hearts, and we cannot help but declare Your praises and worship You. Our lives we now willingly place before You to do whatever You would have us do according to Your will, for only in You we can truly be satisfied and completely set free from our unrighteous ways. To You O God our Savior be all glory, majesty, power and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen.    

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