In the twenty-sixth chapter of the book of Acts we find Saul/Paul standing before Agrippa, recounting his journey to Damascus to rage fury against the believers there. It is on this infamous journey that Jesus fell upon Saul as a bright light, knocking Saul to the ground and blinding him for three days. Toward the end of the conversation between Jesus and Saul, Jesus had these words for him:
But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles — to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ – Acts 26:16-18, ESV
This week, we are focusing on the last phrase in the passage above. In turning from darkness to light, from Satan to God, we have received forgiveness, and a place among the sanctified through our faith, our allegiance to Christ. This is not a theoretical matter. This is an astonishing fact for those who have chosen to align with Christ.
Sin Pardoned – Cast Away
In Christ, our sin is pardoned, it is removed – blotted out, it is cast away and forgotten. Feel the force of these statements from God’s prophets and get a sense of God’s earnest desire to be done with our sin.
Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity
and passing over transgression
for the remnant of his inheritance?
He does not retain his anger forever,
because he delights in steadfast love.
He will again have compassion on us;
he will tread our iniquities underfoot.
You will cast all our sins
into the depths of the sea. – Micah 7:18-19, ESV
Remember these things, O Jacob,
and Israel, for you are my servant;
I formed you; you are my servant;
O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.
I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud
and your sins like mist;
return to me, for I have redeemed you. – Isaiah 44:22, ESV
Feel the strength of those proclamations. Pardoned, trodden under foot, blotted out, redeemed.
But it is more that removing the bad, the evil, the destructive. Jesus has removed our old and made us new. He has traded our evil for his good, replacing our sin with his holiness.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17, ESV
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. – 2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV
That most recent quote is one of my favorites, and I am certain I have said this in previous blog posts, but I want you to get a firm grip on what this verse is telling us.
The reality proclaimed by 2 Corinthians 5:21 is not that we have Christ’s righteousness, or that we are covered by or in his righteousness. This verse boldly states that we have become the righteousness of God. We need to get comfortable with that reality. You ARE the righteousness of God. Let that roll around in your mind today.
Not only has sin been pardoned and thrown far from us … not only has evil within us been replaced by the righteousness of Jesus Christ … sin, with regard to us, has been emptied of its power.
Jesus Christ has given us the victory over sin.1 Sin and death no longer hold sway over our lives in Christ. Through our faith in and allegiance to Christ, we are able to extinguish the fiery darts of the evil one.2 Thus, “sin will no longer have dominion over [us].“3
Recalling that we are the righteousness of God through the gift of righteousness given us, we can and do walk in victory through life as righteousness reigns in us.
For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. – Romans 5:17, ESV
Walk victoriously in Christ.
1. 1 Corinthians 15:56-57
2. Ephesians 6:16
3. Romans 6:14