August 4: “Act Like Who You Are”

9 Minute Read

Be Still

To the best of your ability, get rid of all distractions. Take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply, to quiet yourself in the Lord’s presence. Then, prayerfully ask the Lord to speak to you in this time and let Him know that you will be listening and will make whatever adjustments He will reveal to you.

Today’s Bible Reading:

2 Chronicles 35:1–36:23
1 Corinthians 1:1-17
Psalm 27:1-6
Proverbs 20:20-21

Listen to the Lord

Slowly and reflectively read the following verses and listen to what God will say to you through them. Then, consider writing down any insights He reveals to you.

1 Corinthians 1:2 (NLT): “I am writing to God’s church in Corinth, to you who have been called by God to be his own holy people. He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus, just as he did for all people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.” 

Reflections from Scripture:

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 expects the rest of society to take care of them, most of us find it difficult to receive something for which we did not work.

The reason for this is a healthy sense of pride. We want to be self-sufficient and have a good work ethic so we can take care of ourselves. 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 (Ephesians 2:8-9). We simply receive it as a free gift by faith.

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 feel like God’s feelings toward us are based upon how we are performing.

Nothing could be further from the truth!

When you look at 1 Corinthians 1:2, you see that the Apostle Paul wrote “who have been called by God to be his own holy people” (past tense) and who were “made … holy by means of Christ Jesus” (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 (see 2 Corinthians 5:21Philippians 3:19; etc.). Their sins were placed upon Christ on the cross, and the perfect life that Jesus lived was credited to their account. 

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 1 Corinthians 1:2. The word “holy” is the same word for “sanctified” or “saint.” Christians don’t have to die and go to Heaven to be saints. No! Christians ARE saints because Jesus has credited us 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 an outflow 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. Right now! 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 (NLT): “I am writing to God’s church in Corinth, to you who have been called by God to be his own holy people. He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus, just as he did for all people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.” 

Spend Time in Prayer

Lord Jesus, all too often, I feel as if I am a child of the King who acts like a pauper. Help me, Lord Jesus, to realize more and more just how much is true of me because I am trusting in You. Then, out of the overflow of a grateful heart, depending upon You, help me live a life worthy of my calling. I pray this in Your Name, Amen.


Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Photo by Bruno Adam on Unsplash

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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