This doesn’t negate the need for a Christian to obey God’s word (Romans 6, 1 John, etc). However, it transforms the way that we view obedience to God as His kids. On a Tuesday you don’t have to earn a happy status with God, even with all of the garbage you did on Monday. You can not fall in and out of a state of grace. Because of Jesus’ obedience, even our feeble obedience brings pleasure to God (when done in faith), because His obedience makes our obedience acceptable. Think about how free this makes us!
Christian, raise your hand if you have been there before. You know that the bible repeatedly says that God loves his children, but in light of your constant struggles, you still struggle to believe He is happy with you or pleased with you.
None of us can ignore the fact that we fail, even after becoming a follower of Christ. We often ask a scary question: God loves me, but is He honestly pleased with me?
The Uncomfortable Answer
For a perfect God to be pleased with you, you need to perfectly carry out his will. You likely already know this, which means that you already know the bad news: you can’t live like that.
We aren’t sinless. We aren’t perfect. We still don’t have what it takes to live perfectly, even if we have been walking with God for decades.
So we are left asking ourselves: how can I know that God is pleased with me? How can I know that I am good enough? How can I know that he still calls me his kid?
The crushing answer: be perfect.
Our good news: Jesus answered for you.
Jesus’ Work Is For More Than The Altar Call
If we forget that Jesus answered on our behalf, we will slowly creep into a legalism that tells us we need to earn God’s favor, even after coming to him by grace through faith.
We rightly remember that Jesus’ work on the cross is the only way for God’s wrath to be satisfied. We forget, however, that Jesus didn’t just die for us–He lived for us. This important fact is referred to as Jesus’ active obedience.
We Needed More Than A Reset
Jesus’s death on the cross means that God’s wrath was absorbed, but that isn’t enough. You and I need more than a reset with God. Being neutral before God is not the same as being pleasing and holy before God.
Jesus pointed out that we need a righteousness that surpasses that of the Pharisees. He said that we need to “be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) Again, this leaves us with a problem; we can’t muster up that obedience.
God didn’t send Jesus to earth on Good Friday and say, “Die for the sins of your people and that will take care of it.” No. Jesus not only had to die for our sins, but He had to live for our righteousness. If all Jesus did was die for your sins, that would remove all of your guilt, and that would leave you sinless in the sight of God, but not righteous. You would be innocent, but not righteous because you haven’t done anything to obey the Law of God which is what righteousness requires. (RC Sproul)
We need Jesus to do more than merely put us back to square one. We need Jesus to “fulfill all righteousness.” (Matthew 3:15) We need Jesus to do more than take away our punishment for sin; we need Jesus to accomplish the perfect obedience to God that we owe.
He did. Perfectly. Completely. Fully.