One of the elements of CIT targets spiritual development. We’ve been building a solid foundation for life and ministry on one thing: the Gospel of Jesus. At first it seemed simple – almost too simple to spend weeks studying – but it has been one of the most life-changing subjects ever studied.
The Gospel according to the Bible is that man is, and has been since the fall of Adam, sinful by nature. We’re born with it and dealt a losing hand from the beginning. It also says that God is holy and will not have sin in his presence. Bad news for us. That means that we’re locked and loaded on not only eternal life apart from him, but a life here on this earth living at odds with the Creator. The only remedy is being perfect, but it’s in our genetic makeup to live otherwise. The amazing part is that God, because of his incomprehensible love, came looking for us! This is where it get’s confusing and great. He sent his son Jesus to live a perfect life and die to pay the price for all sin. What’s more is God raised him from death to show his power over death and that eternal life can be ours through him! Now, in God's sight, we are perfect!
We have two choices: we can choose to be presented to God through our own workings or through the workings of Christ – through the feeble efforts of sinful man or through the perfect life and death of God’s son.
And that’s it.
That’s all. It’s one or the other. Not both. We don’t choose to be presented through Christ and do our best to uphold our end of the deal. There is no deal. It’s done, bought, and paid for. We’re not in some sort of agreement that we can botch. It’s paid and over. Our “part of the deal” (if you will) is to live it and enjoy it! How about that!?
Where it becomes "the most life-changing stuff ever" is that it’s made us realize how much we still think we’re doing our part. We read a great article by Martin Luther (his preface to his Commentary on Galatians) where he talked about “passive righteousness”. We’re made righteous and clean by simply accepting this truth. We can’t earn God’s favor, and no matter what we do, we can’t lose it. That is awesome. That should overwhelm us with peace. Like Luther said, “Nothing gives peace like this passive righteousness.”
Assuming we believe this to be true, it should be found in everything we do: how we relate to God (overwhelmed with gratitude and see ourselves as forgiven!), how we relate to others (relentlessly forgive others and extend the grace that was so freely given to others), and how we see ourselves (no matter what we do, we are forgiven and shouldn’t tolerate guilt or feelings that we need to earn Gods approval – we have it!). There’s no area of life that should go untouched.
Galatians 5:1 says “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” He didn’t free us from sin to earn anything. He freed us to be FREE.