Today's Foundations Devotional: Life because of righteousness

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Memory verse:

Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that

as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too

might walk in newness of life.

(Romans 6:4)

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Yesterday we’ve seen how Paul affirms that we must reckon ourselves as dead for sin, and live for righteousness. Peter presents the same truth with equal clarity. Speaking of the purpose of Christ’s death upon the cross, he says:

Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed (1 Pet. 2:24).

Peter also presents the two complementary aspects of the transformation that takes place within the believer who accepts the atoning death of Christ on his behalf: 1) death to sins, 2) living for righteousness. In fact, Peter states this as being the supreme purpose of Christ’s death on the cross: “that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness.”

The condition of being dead to sins and living to righteousness is something far beyond the mere forgiveness of past sins. In fact, it takes the believer into an altogether different realm of spiritual experience. The majority of professing Christians in almost all denominations have some kind of belief that their past sins can be forgiven. In fact, this is probably the main reason why they attend church – for the purpose of confessing and obtaining forgiveness for the sins they have committed.

However, they have no thought or expectation of experiencing any inward transformation of their own nature. The result is that, having confessed their sins, they leave the church unchanged and continue committing the same kind of sins they have been confessing. In due course they are back in church again, confessing the same sins.

This is a man-made religion on the human level to which some of the outward forms of Christianity have been attached. It has little or nothing in common with the salvation God offers to the true believer through faith in Christ’s atonement.

God’s central purpose in Christ’s atonement was not simply that man should be able to receive forgiveness of his past sinful acts, but rather that, once having been forgiven for the past, he should be able to enter into a new realm of spiritual experience. Henceforth he should be dead to sins but alive to God and to righteousness; he should no longer be the slave of sin; sin should no longer have any dominion over him.

This has been made possible because Christ, in His atonement, not merely took upon Himself the guilt of our sinful acts and then paid the full penalty for all those acts. Above and beyond this, Christ made Himself one with our corrupt, fallen, sinful nature; and when He died upon the cross, according to Scripture, that old nature of ours – “our old man,” “the body of sin” – died in Him and with Him.

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Prayer:

Lord Jesus, thank You for that glorious truth that my old, sin and

disease-stricken human nature died in Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, and that,

as a result, I am no longer a slave to that 'ruler' but that I’m now free every day

to surrender to Your law! Amen.

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