A few years ago, my little cousin was misbehaving and to reprimand I told him to sit in the naughty corner. After he served his time, I lifted his punishment. I noticed his sadness and how it inspired him to keep his distance from me. I called him over to me and he respectfully declined my invitation, he’s rebuttal was ‘I don’t want to come to you because I’m naughty ‘. The interaction reminded me of the uncanny resemblance of how Christians who identify themselves by their sin and cause it to distance them from God was before my eyes.
How Do We Respond To Sin?
This is something we can all relate to as human beings. A liar is branded as a liar because he lies, and his judgment is the fact that everything he says must be taken with a pinch of salt. My cousin expected me to treat him the same way, he believed what he earned was the distance from my presence. I’ll revisit the story and tell you how I responded to my cousin, but first a question.
How many of us can relate to identifying ourselves by our sin and allowing it to create a wedge between us and God? If we were to be honest with ourselves, a vast majority would say we can relate to this. This is the present-day reality for some even reading at this moment. But is the way we ought to respond? That’s the question this article seeks to answer.
He Who Knew No Sin
To identify ourselves by our sin and distance ourselves from God is anti-gospel. This is because the gospel is the good news of not just a change of life but an exchange of life. It’s a Righteous Jesus, dying in the place of sinful Barabbas. The name ‘Barabbas’ means son of the father. We are like Barabbas in that we are guilty deserving of condemnation, but Christ died in our place and by the substitution on the cross we become sons of the Father, taking on the same identity as Jesus.
Paul puts it this way: ‘God made Him who knew sin to be sin that we may be the righteousness of God that’s in Christ Jesus. (2 Corinthians 5:21) Because of what Christ accomplished on the cross we are holy and blameless before God. We couldn’t do it with our works, therefore, we can’t undo it with our works. If we could then Christ would not have had to die and Colossians 1:21-22 would be nullified.
By identifying ourselves through what Jesus accomplished we are ‘making the tree good, so the fruit would be good also’. Jesus said, “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.” Matthew 12:33
We are the tree that Christ made good on the cross, but we must believe that we are now who He says we are because of the cross: Holy and blameless sons of God. Remember your sin cannot change that. If we attach our faith to our identity in Christ, our fruit will catch up.
Back to my story. I responded to my cousin the way God responds to Christians when we sin. I told him he’s not naughty and that he’s a good boy that misbehaved. But his misbehaviour does not define him. I beckoned him closer, hugged and embraced him.