Sometimes status is earned, but sometimes it’s given. Think about when someone is said to be a ‘role model’ or ‘icon’ by people. This is a status which is earned in the eyes of others.
But what about when someone is given the rank of captain in the army? That is a status which is simply given. You receive it from someone and your status at that moment changes. Which one of these statuses is like being a Christian?
During our recent Easter period a thought I’ve enjoyed before came to mind again: Jesus’ death & resurrection happened, it happened in history, which means it can’t ‘un-happen’. Therefore my sins can’t somehow become ‘un-forgiven’. My status is secure.
However, to think like this is, I suspect, a struggle for many Christians if not all. Somehow we know the truth of the gospel in our heads but not really with our hearts, and therefore in day-to-day life the temptation exists to judge what we think our present status is with God, by how well we think we’re doing. This way of thinking is like the ‘earned’ status. But actually, this is the wrong way to think for Christians, because the status of Christians is actually given to them, like the rank of captain.
I was struck recently in reading a book by Christian pastor & author Terry Virgo. He describes this truth by thinking about travelling abroad and the clocks changing as a result (however annoying this might be for those of us who really value sleep!). When someone arrives in Spain, it would be pointless to get there and insist it was still 3pm when in fact the time in Spain is 4pm. The time for someone newly arrived in Spain is now also 4pm, whatever it was before they got on the plane.
So it is with the new status Christians have. Through the life, death and resurrection of Christ in history – something which can’t be undone – and through the work of his Holy Spirit bringing us to faith and new life, we become forgiven and adopted children of God who no longer need to try and rely on performance for our status.
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1, NIV). It’s no longer 3pm, it’s 4pm. Let us seek to know our status, and to live it out.