How often do we focus on the fact that we are "being saved"? That Jesus' work continues on in us and through us. And thankfully, it goes on in spite of us!
I know I tend to think of Jesus simply having saved me from my sins. But our faith is more robust than that isn't it? Jesus has now taken up residence within us! My guess is he hasn't set up his Blue-Ray player and is busy watching re-runs of Dukes of Hazard. My guess is he's wanting to do stuff!
So here comes the mystery of our "being saved." NT Wright has done some shuffling of categories in regards to justification and sanctification, and I find his thoughts, while not authoritative, helpful. For, if I understand him correctly, he says that God's work in Justification, giving us Christ's righteousness, is an ongoing process. This seems to echo the verse above and the verse that encourages us "to work out our salvation with fear and trembling."
God's justifying work in us is dynamic! It spreads out into every area of our lives. It brings righteousness, right God-life, into all of our mess. And it spreads God-life into the lives and situations of others.
I find this really encouraging. Whether you call it sanctification or consider it the working out of God's justification, I believe that the Good News, which can't ever get any better, gets better and better for us experiencially as we receive the grace of "working it out" in our various lives and struggles. How's that for a riddle?!
The fact that we are currently covered by Christ's righteousness out-trumps the idea that Jesus only died for our sins way back when. Jesus' reality is our present reality. It's the only real thing for us.
This has all sorts of ramifications. We can be profoundly encouraged that we are always "in Christ." Whether we're out sinning or doing the good works he called us to, we're in Christ. Whether our lives feel like a complete sham or feel great, we're in Christ. Whether we feel like we're on top of the world or we feel like we are the refuse of the earth, we're in Christ.
Jesus' reality strips us of both pride and shame. We find ourselves as not worthy, but worthy in him. We have nothing to boast of besides him, and all of our shame is wrapped up in him.
It's taken me years to understand this. I'm motivated by both pride and shame, they're the way of the world. "The Way," Jesus' way, goes the opposite direction. As someone said "I am no longer the terd at the center of the universe."
It's from the ways of the world and self that we are being saved. Our home in the world. We are being saved from lies about self, God and others. And we are being brought back into the real world.
So here's to Aslan's country, God's reality. Let's not just be visitors with nametags that read "saved," but daily find our home in Christ. May we cling to this hope. For this hope is the realest thing about us.