What Judgement? - Jim Cooper
I was reading in 1 Peter this morning, Chapter 1. Peter states here that we are to live a holy life. The word holy has the basic meaning of “set apart; sanctified.” It is living our life in such a way that we don’t offend Holy Spirit. Yes, we can offend Him. We do this by our actions, words and heart intents. What does this mean? This is straight forward. Are we living out our lives in a reverential fear (awe, wonder and gratefulness for what Jesus did for us in His suffering, death and resurrection,) or do we take His grace-gift for granted? Part of the problem is that people get hi-jacked in their thought life because of a theology that has been pervasive in the church (a lot of what follows is taken from what I have learned from others but needs to be connected to the above).
We have been taught that we are “sinners saved by grace.” This is erroneous and demonic at its core because it steals our true identity as to who we are and Whose we are in Christ! More than 40 times in the Book of Romans, it says, “we are dead.” Dead to sin, dead to our old sin nature. Dead, dead, dead…you get the picture! It further states that we are saints. We cannot be a sinner and a saint at the same time. We’ll hurt ourselves trying to do this! So, can a saint sin? The obvious answer is, “yes,” but it is no longer in our redeemed nature to do so and this is where grace comes in to invade our present circumstances. So, does grace give us permission to sin so that grace can be more active (abound) in our lives? Certainly not! Grace gives us the ability to not sin. How? By the saving grace of Jesus, Holy Spirit indwells us and it’s His presence in our lives that gives us the power over the sin nature to which we are now dead.
So why am I writing about Romans when I started talking about 1 Peter? Great question! It is because the subject of judgement is mentioned. Wrapped around this subject, a great many believers in the church are fearful of what awaits them because they have been taught wrong theology. Let me make this as plain as I can. If we have been born again, bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus, our judgement (yes, we will be judged) will not be for punishment but for rewards (or the lack thereof). However, this brings up another argument. Do we serve God so that we can receive a greater reward? I suppose the answer would be “yes and no.” Does it feel like you might get whiplash with that answer? It does to me. But let me explain. Yes, we do because He is a rewarder of those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6) and no, because we should do so out of love for Him and all He’s done for us.
Once we get out hearts and heads wrapped around these truths, I believe that we, as followers of Jesus, will have a far greater understanding, not only of our future, when Christ is fully revealed to us and we are able to walk in the full measure of grace that He has for us, but also in our present circumstances.
Jim is a former student of IHRSOT.