Thursday, August 30, 2012

Made Clean in Christ

To the pure, all things are pure; 
but to those who are defiled and 
unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both
their mind and their conscience are
defiled.  They profess to know God,
but by their deeds they deny Him,
being detestable and disobedient and
worthless for any good deed.
Titus 1:15-16

What makes people worthless (unfit, unqualified, incapable, examined and rejected as useless) for any good deed?  Is it because they are detestable or disobedient?  No, because these are the by-products of the real issue.  Is it because they profess to know God, but deny Him through their deeds?  No, again, this hypocrisy is but a by-product of the root cause.  Is it because their mind and conscience are defiled?  Once again, no, as these are the result of their real condition.  Well, then, what is the root cause that renders one unfit for any good deed?  It is the one fact, the ultimate condition of their being...they are unbelieving...unbelieving in the Gospel, unbelieving in Christ as their sin-bearing substitute, unbelieving in the work of Christ, unbelieving in the person of Christ, unbelieving in the necessity of Christ, unbelieving in the awfulness of their own sinfulness and wickedness, unbelieving in their own personal defilement and its stench before God, unbelieving in God's own holiness and its demands upon them.  

What then does this mean in regards to unredeemed and unbelieving man's place before God?  It means that no matter what he does, it is not good.  It cannot be good.  It will never be good.  Why?  Because man's unbelief has defiled him and rendered him incapable of doing anything good; and, in fact, according to Titus 1:15 everything he touches becomes impure.  Well, what if they are fighting aids in Africa?  Impure!  Okay, what about feeding the hungry and clothing the poor?  Impure!  What if they are doing something to stop the sex-trafficking of young girls? Impure!  What about the person who donates a kidney or bone marrow?  Impure!  Surely, if they give their life to save another that would be good enough?  Sorry, still impure!  Why, you ask?  Because God has said so (Isaiah 64:6...and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment.). Because God Himself is the standard (Matthew are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect). Because He alone is good (Luke  18:19...Why do you call Me good?  No one is good, but God alone.) Because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  

What then makes the believer pure, so pure, in fact, that all things are pure to him?  He is baptized into Christ, and Christ's righteousness has now become his (Romans 6:3-4).  Yes, he now has the righteousness of Christ imputed to him, and he is seen as righteous, just as Christ is righteous (II Corinthians 5:21, I Corinthians 1:30). He has been washed and made pure by Christ (John 13:8,15:3, Ephesians 5:26, Hebrews  10:22, I John 1:7).  This is the reality of being united with Christ.  We are now capable of performing good works (Titus 2-3, James 2), whereas before, nothing we did was good because we were incapable of doing anything good.

Once again we see the wonderful and magnificent benevolence, the gracious favor of God to those who come to Him in faith.  We are now able to please Him, to perform works appropriate to Him, and these works will follow us when we come back to rule and reign with Christ (Revelation 19:7-8).

So, my friends, are you depending on your own good works to save you?  Are you hanging your eternal destiny on what you have determined as meritorious?  Have you determined for yourself what is good? If so, how good is good enough?  How many deeds will it take?  Where is the bar of righteousness set?  How will you know if you have hit the mark?  Don't be blinded by your own self-righteousness.  Obtain the righteousness of Christ, the only Righteous One, by placing your faith on what He has done in your stead, by placing your faith in Him instead of yourself, by confessing that you are a sinner who can never be not just good enough, but good at all in the eyes of God.  Come to God acknowledging your own defilement, and ask Him to cleanse you and give to you the righteousness of His Son, which He will gladly do.

If you have already done this.  If you have already been made clean in Christ.  Then take this time to praise Him and thank Him for the Holy Spirit who indwells you and the righteousness He has placed you into.

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