There is always the tension in the Christian life between the “now” and the “yet to be.” However, what we are now in the eyes of God is what we shall be in practice when we stand before Him in complete, perfect sanctification in glory.
Even now there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1). He has made us acceptable in the Beloved (Eph. 1:6). Indeed, we are complete in Him (Col. 2:10).
How do we explain this tension in our daily lives between our practical sanctification and our eternal position and standing before God?
The believer’s positional standing before God never ever changes. No believer is less justified than another. You are either acquitted by God or you stand condemned. You are either a child of God by adoption or you are an enemy. You either have eternal life, or you are dead in trespasses and sins.
Our standing before God, once we are His child, does not change. Our sonship does not depend upon our fellowship with Him. It is the other way around. Our fellowship with God depends upon our sonship.
There are degrees in our fellowship, but there can be none in our justification before God. Sometimes we are warm and sometimes we are cold in our fellowship, but our sonship never changes since we were adopted as His children.
Our justification is entirely above the fluctuations of Christian experience. It knows nothing of degrees or the rise and fall of our emotions. You are either justified by faith or you are condemned. We are “in Christ” and He is “the same, yesterday, today and forever.”
Christ alone is our righteousness and results in our right relationship with God. Christ is of God “made unto us righteousness.”
If a right standing depended upon our faith or our faithfulness we would be eternally condemned. It depends upon Christ’s righteousness accepted as His gift by faith. It does not depend upon our endeavors, but upon the finished work of Christ. “You are complete in Christ.”
How can this be true? We know ourselves all too well. We are imperfect and we fail. Yet God’s word says that we are complete in Christ.
Regarding the Christian’s acceptance and standing before a righteous God is concerned, God sees nothing from His throne but Christ Jesus alone and Him crucified. And since the believer is in Him and one with Him, he shares Christ’s place in the Father’s heart. No matter how unworthy the believer is in himself, he may know without a doubt that he is “accepted in the Beloved.”
You cannot be condemned if you are in Christ. Christ is without sin and for us to be in Christ means to be accepted in the Beloved.
Jesus Christ presents us to the Father clothed in the garments of His own righteousness.
Jesus represents us to God. We see God in Christ. God sees us in Christ. God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself. We in Christ are reconciled to God.
The Christian can never pray, “O Lord, look how pure and holy I am; look at me and preserve my soul, for I am holy.” That would be utter nonsense. We can only come into His presence and with humble gratitude accept His grace saying, “Lord, be merciful to me the sinner.”
Moreover, the steadfastness of our joy and the stability of our spiritual growth depends upon our keeping our gaze fixed immovably upon the one Blessed Object upon which the Father’s gaze is always fixed (Heb. 12:2).