Saturday, November 02, 2013

Before I formed you...

 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
And before you were born I consecrated you; - Jer. 1:5
These familiar words were spoken to Jeremiah when God was calling young Jeremiah to be a prophet. And Jeremiah responded like a lot of us do when we think of doing anything great.

My pastor read those verses a few Sundays back, and the instant he did, the Lord asked me a question.

What is the significance of that statement? Why is it important for you to know that I knew you before you were conceived?

I acknowledged that I had never thought about it much beyond the fact that this was only possible because He exists outside of time. And in that moment, God opened my mind to understand something amazing.

He reminded me of another verse we know very well.
“Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.” - Ps. 51:5

David said this when he was confronted with his sin. He knew this to be a reality – that every aspect of his life was touched by sin in some way or other.

We're no different. When we think about ourselves, we usually think primarily of our faults and failures. We look in the mirror and we see our wrinkles and zits and scars... the physical effects of age and time and mistakes. We look deeper and we see our weariness and weaknesses. We see the things that others have done to us that have wounded us. The devil reminds us of a host of sins that are part of our history.

These things are our reality, for this is all we have known since our earliest memory. Why? Because of sin – our own sin, sins committed against us, and the side effects of sin that began during the generations before us.

This is who we have been since the day we were born. Not only were we born into a world of sin, but even when we were conceived, we were still “in” sin. Surrounded by it so much that we can't get out of it.

But God knew us before that moment of conception when we entered this world of sin.

He knows the you without sin!

He knows exactly who you are without all those failures of yours. He created you before you were conceived, when you were perfect in His thoughts and intentions, and that is the you He knows.

Yes, He's aware of this sin-filled and sin-scarred version of you. That's why He sent a Savior! Because this version of you that you knows is not the same one that He knows. Yes, I say “knows” and not “knew,” because to Him, that version of you exists again!

This is the whole story of redemption. It is not about merely saving us from hell. It's about restoration!  And not restoration to some unknown quantity that doesn't yet exist. God is restoring you to the you that He created and knows, though it is entirely a new creation to us, since we're locked into Time in a world where we have always been in sin.

Romans says we are dead to sin now... not that sin is dead in us, but that we are dead to it. Paul talks about the self we have known all our lives before we accepted Jesus's sacrifice. He says, “Our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.” When we accept what Jesus did, His death becomes our death... the death of the sin-ravaged version of us that we've worn since we were conceived.

But here is the glory and the promise...
“But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.” - Rom. 6:8

Did Jesus live in sin? No! He is the only One ever born into this world of sin who was not in sin. He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. Yet we now live with Him.

This is the miracle of Christ's death and resurrection!

The you without sin that God knows, exists again. In Christ.

Yes, we still see in a mirror dimly (1 Cor. 13:12), so this isn't something that we can see in ourselves the moment we accept salvation. Yet we are being changed from glory to glory. This is what Galatians 2 talks about when it says, “Christ in you, the hope of glory!”

This is who God has called.

He hasn't called the you that you know. He's called the you that He knows! The one that He sanctified and glorified. The one that exists in Christ.

Isn't that an amazing thought?

Can I encourage you to thank Him for what He's done, even if you can't see the reality of it? Seek Him until you do begin to see Christ in you, the hope of glory!  (Gal. 2:20)

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