Have you ever had to fill in for someone else? Occasionally, I help out by answering the main phone line here at the church, and I’m always a little nervous. There are a few things I know a lot about and a lot of things I know very little about. What if someone asks me something I can’t answer? What if I don’t even know who to ask when I can’t answer? What if multiple lines ring at the same time and I can’t even answer all the calls?!
While I am not the best at filling in for others, God has allowed Jesus to fill in for me—and you! Jesus has taken our place so God can see us as righteous. We are justified when we believe and choose to follow Jesus. That means God sees us like He sees Jesus, as righteous and fully forgiven. When we choose to follow Him, our name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and Jesus begins preparing a place for us in Heaven.
In the same moment we’re justified, we step into a lifelong process of sanctification where the Holy Spirit transforms us and we grow to look more like Jesus. We often mistakenly think the key to letting go of our sin and becoming more like Jesus relies on our good works or our willpower, but really, it relies on us abiding. As we spend time with the Lord in prayer and in His Word, as we abide in Him, He does the work, changing us and our desires from the inside out.
Have you been working to earn your righteousness? Ask God to show you where you need to release control and allow Him to transform you. Start by reading this passage in John 15 about abiding in Christ.