1 Corinthians 15:3-4 – Knowing and believing the truth about God and what He does sets us free to be the real version of who we are, and then we get to live in the good of that. Being a disciple of Jesus is the process of moving from unbelief to faith in every area of life. The Bible tells us what God says about
us. It tells us is that we are accepted in Jesus, as Ephesians puts it : “… to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:6 NKJV)
How do you know that God loves you? Romans 8:37, John 3:16, 1 John 4:9-10, Romans 5:5
How does the Spirit give us confidence in our hearts that we are accepted in the Beloved? He opens our understanding to our need of a Saviour. (Romans 5:6-7)
The cross is the demonstration of the love of God for us. When did He die for us? When we were powerless and ungodly – He loved us at our worst and so there is now nothing that could happen that will separate us from His love. There is nothing that could make God stop loving you – we are ‘accepted in the Beloved’.
Love in action
The cross is more than a demonstration of the love of God: it is the love of God doing something to bring about real and eternal change on our behalf (Romans 3:25-26).
We are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners. Our nature produces fruit. God’s justice demands perfection and our nature can’t deliver that. But God’s love makes a way. Jesus – God the Son – the only perfect person ever becomes our sacrifice. God Himself meets His own standards on our behalf (Romans 8:1-4).
We are united with Jesus – In Christ – so His death becomes my death, His life becomes my life, His righteousness becomes my righteousness, His victory becomes my victory. Now we get to live differently.
Power to live differently
Ephesians 1:18-21 – Death is the one force that no one can escape or overcome. But on that first Easter Sunday Jesus overcame the power of death for us. Ephesians 1 talks about His incomparably great power. If the cross is the demonstration of God’s great love for us then the resurrection is the demonstration of God’s great power that is for us.
The power of the resurrection brings freedom. Because we are united with Jesus in His death we are also united with Him in His resurrection. In His death our inbuilt bias to sin also dies – we do not become sinless but we are given freedom to live under a new power. Because we are united with Jesus in His resurrection His life is now in us and we are set free to obey God. We are set free and empowered to live differently. Because we are accepted in the beloved we are free to obey God and we get to live His way.
Some people misunderstand this freedom that the resurrection brings and think that what we are saying is that because God has forgiven us, we are free to do as we please and sin does not really matter (Romans 6:1-4). We have been set free to obey, not to sin. Once we were dominated by the power or
bias towards sin in our lives, but when we became followers of Jesus we died to that. God raised us to new resurrection life and placed in us His righteousness, so now we have a bias to obey. We are accepted in the Beloved and we get to live differently now.
‘Get to’ or ‘Got to’
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32). When you believe the truth about who God is and what God does then you are set free to become the real you.
- God is good so I don’t have to look elsewhere for my satisfaction
- God is gracious so I don’t have to prove myself (to God, myself or others)
- God is great so I don’t have to be in control
- God is glorious so I don’t have to fear others
This is all the fruit of knowing that we are accepted in the Beloved. We get to move from unbelief to faith in every area of life. We get to believe the truth of what God says about us instead of the lies that we believe about ourselves.
“The revolutionary new world that begun in the resurrection of Jesus, the world where Jesus reigns as Lord having won the victory over sin and death, has it’s front-line outpost in those who in baptism have shared in the death and resurrection of Jesus.” (Tom Wright )