Tuesday, June 09, 2009

are we ever worthy?

4 Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy.

Revelation 3

The short and ultimate answer to that is, "No." Christ alone as the Lamb slain is worthy (Revelation 5). No human being except Christ (who is the God-Human) is ever worthy in themselves. We are not.

But God through Christ gives us a new standing in grace through faith because of Christ and his work for us in his death (Romans 3). And while we have no condemnation because of Christ and his death (Romans 8:34), this no condemnation in this life is also tied to the work of the Spirit, and is contingent on us by the Spirit putting to death the (mis)deeds of the body. Romans 8:1-17 makes it clear that what we do does matter.

I am not condemned before God because of Christ, and through faith. But I will live in at least a sense of condemnation if I am not dealing with sin and endeavoring to walk in the light.

So those people in Sardis were worthy in status and standing because of Christ's worthiness. But through Christ, the Spirit does a work to make them, and us in Jesus, not only worthy in our standing with an imputed (declared) righteousness, but beginning to partake of worthiness also in their lives with an imparted righteousness through the Spirit. It's not I, but Christ in us by the Spirit who makes the difference, but it's a life we have to live out.

So I take it that God in his grace calls these believers "worthy," who have not soiled themselves with the world (see the entire book of James on what that means). Not because they are perfect, but because they are being perfected through Christ by the Spirit in this life.

So Jesus alone is worthy, but in grace God calls those who believe and follow Jesus in this life, "worthy." And when God speaks this indeed begins to be true, but true only in Jesus, yet true not only in our standing before God, but also in our lives even in this world.

Does this make sense of Scripture, or what thought would you like to share here?


Lanny said...

So are you saying that that the key is to turn our spirit so completely over to Christ who alone saves us, that we have a willing, grateful, open, teachable spirit rather than having a irritated, reluctant, edgy, excuse filled spirit?

Ted M. Gossard said...

Yes, you're right. Good application!

Jesus isn't the means by which we save ourselves; he is the Savior. But by the Spirit we still have to put to death the (mis)deeds of the body/flesh.

Thanks. And good to see a comment from you again!