5 Minute Read + Scripture readings
TODAY’S BIBLE READING:
2 Chronicles 35:1–36:23
1 Corinthians 1:1-17
TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):
1 Corinthians 1:2 (CSB): “To the church of God at Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called as saints, with all those in every place who call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord — both their Lord and ours.”
REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):
Within the human heart is the notion that we must work for what we receive. While there is certainly a segment of society that ungratefully receives (expects) the rest of us to take care of them (I’m talking about those who could work but don’t), most of us find it difficult to receive something that we did not work for.
Why do we desire to take care of ourselves? Because we want to be self-sufficient. We don’t want to be the object of someone’s charity and certainly not someone’s pity. So, we work for what we receive and it is difficult to receive something freely from others.
But, the message of the Gospel is that we can freely receive the gift of forgiveness, the life of God’s Holy Spirit who comes to dwell within us, and an infinite number of other blessings. We cannot earn it or deserve it. We simply receive it as a free gift by faith.
Ephesians 2:8–9 (CSB): “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift — not from works, so that no one can boast.“
Yet, while many of us would acknowledge that we receive salvation by faith as a free gift (without any effort, work, or contribution on our part), we may feel like we have to work to maintain God’s favor. We may suspect like God’s feelings toward us are based upon how we are performing.
Nothing could be further from the truth!
When you look at our Verse for Today, you see that the Apostle Paul wrote “to those sanctified in Christ Jesus” (past tense) and who were “called as saints” (past tense).
Simply put, when those Christians in Corinth trusted in Jesus for eternal life, they were not only forgiven of their sins, they were also declared righteous. Their sins were placed upon Christ on the cross and the perfect life that Jesus lived was credited to their account.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (CSB): He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
This is the Divine Swap that happens at the moment we are saved: Jesus takes our sins and He credits us with His righteousness. Saved people aren’t simply forgiven – they are also declared to be perfect saints.
Which brings us back to our Verse for Today. The word “sanctified” is the same word for “holy” or “saint.” Christians don’t have to die and go to Heaven to be saints. No! Christians ARE saints because Jesus has credited them with his righteousness. When God looks at a Jesus-follower, He sees the righteousness of Christ and He smiles.
So, my friend, while it is true that God desires obedience from us in this life, that obedience is not for the purpose of gaining His favor. Our obedience shouldn’t be something we do to try to keep God happy with us.
Instead, our obedience should be a natural response of who we already are. Since we are declared righteous when we are saved with the righteousness of Jesus, our obedience to God is simply acting like who we already are.
Friend, if you are saved, you ARE a saint.
As you read this!
You ARE a saint!
You ARE holy!
You ARE sanctified!
When God looks at you, He sees Jesus and He smiles.
So, today, simply act like who you already are!
1 Corinthians 1:2 (CSB): “To the church of God at Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called as saints, with all those in every place who call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord – both their Lord and ours.”