What does it mean to be “born again” or “saved” as a Christian? We use the word “justification” to explain this. Justification is to be born again, saved, declared “not guilty” and forgiven of your sin. You are justified before the Lord. The problem is there is no one righteous and no one can stand before a holy and perfect God. We are all doomed to wrath, punishment, and hell because of our sin. There must be payment for sin to be in His presence, and you can’t pay that yourself. God, in His goodness, grace, love, and mercy, paid the price Himself, through Jesus, on the cross. If you claim Christ as your Lord and Savior, that He died for your sins, then you are justified, born again, saved. You are a new creation with no red in the ledger. He has paid your debt and you can boldly stand before the throne. He declares you “not guilty” and you owe Him nothing for your penalty. “My sin – oh the bliss of this glorious thought – my sin not in part but the whole, has been nailed to the cross, and I bear it nor more, PRAISE THE LORD, PRAISE THE LORD, oh my soul!” Is this you? Are you justified before the Lord?
BUT THEN the process of sanctification, growth in Christ, and making progress, begins. Just like a child is born and grows, the Christian must grow up and mature in Christ. This is often two steps forward and many back. It is daily denying yourself and picking up your cross to follow Him. It is putting on the spiritual armor and warfare, walking in a worthy manner, the fighting the good fight. It is ongoing, never-ending, relentless. We put off the old and put on Christ and prune the bush, as He is doing the pruning in us. There is victory to be had and defeat will be experienced. It’s a life-long haul and won’t be finished until you die or He comes back. Steady on! Are you growing in Christ? Can you point to victory in Christ since you’ve known Him? Do you see evidence of His working in you for His will and purpose? This is sanctification.
Maybe today you feel like you’re barely hanging on by a thread, but hang in there! “God will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul He will replenish (Jeremiah 31:25).” Don’t give up! Get back into the Word. Are you going to church? Involved in a small group? Reading and listening and watching His Word? How’s your prayer life? The spiritual disciplines and ordinary means of grace (prayer, Bible, church, communion, service) are key. God has not abandoned you, God’s grace is sufficient, He loves you. Go to church, not stream it, meet with someone or people in person, let His Word wash you and fill you. Turn off the junk, whatever that is in your life. I’m praying for you – what are you prepared to do?