Thursday, March 5, 2009

Our Identity in Messiah

James 1:22-25, "But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does."

I love this passage because it reminds me of who I am as one who has faith in the Messiah. The words "the law" here are translated from the Greek word "nomos," which is in reference to the Mosaic covenant instructions found in Genesis - Deuteronomy. Christ was a DOER of this law, and in Him, so should we be, if we are to imitate Him. James is teaching us that when we are likewise doers of the instructions given in the Mosaic covenant, we will be blessed in what we do.

1 John 3:4 says that "Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." This is the same law ("nomos") referenced above: the instructions of the Mosaic covenant. Because our burdens have been lifted through our faith in Messiah, we would be wise not to attempt hanging on to those burdens! They will only weigh us down anyway. Without the burdens of these fleshly sins, we can partake of the blessings of the Lord.

It is a common interpretation that when we are saved, we become "clothed" in the righteousness of Christ. This idea behind this interpretation is correct, but it also implies that our inner man is still sinful, and this implication leads to many feelings of guilt and frustration among believers. When we believe in the Messiah for our salvation, we ARE righteous. We are not merely "clothed" in righteousness; we are made FULLY righteous, inside and out. We are a completely new person, regenerated and born again. Romans 5:1 teaches this as well, "Because we have come to be considered righteous by God because of our trust, let us continue to have peace with our God through our Lord Jesus Christ." We can have peace in knowing that we are already righteous and thus we should not forget who we the man who looks into the mirror, then turns away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

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