In God’s Sight
YCBC 14th October 2012
Consider for a moment: what is your opinion of yourself?
Now take a moment longer and consider: what do you think is God’s opinion of you?
Usually the opinion we have of ourselves influences the way we think God views us.
If I think I’m a dirty sinner, God must think I’m a dirty sinner.
But what does the Bible say is God’s opinion of us?
I sometimes make furniture. When I’ve finished a piece, I’ll put it in its place in the house and then I’ll stand in front of it and just look at it.
“Wow,” I say to myself, “I made that!”
Over the next few weeks my wife will catch me standing in front of the piece of furniture with the same amazed look.
“Look what I made!”
I’m delighted in my creation.
GOD ALSO DELIGHTS IN HIS CREATION
God has the same reaction to his creations.
In Genesis Chapter 1 God does the same thing at the end of every day of creation except for one – the second day.
And at the end of the sixth day Genesis says:
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. Genesis 1:31
Just like me when I make furniture, God stands back and looks at what he has made and goes “Wow, look what I made!”
God delights in his creations. God delights in you because you are his creation. He stands back and looks at you and goes “Wow, look what I made! Isn’t he/she wonderful!”
So at the most basic level, you and I have an inherent value which delights God just because he made us. Right from the beginning we are delightful to him. So that’s our starting point. We start off in a good position.
Yes, our sinfulness causes him grief, but still at the most primitve level, we are delightful to God because he made us. But for those of us who have accepted Christ’s over of salvation the news only gets better.
HOLY, BLAMELESS, ABOVE REPROACH
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. Colossians 1:21-23
Two things we need to explore in that passage.
1) The word before there is translated from the Greek κατενώπιον which can also be translated directly in front of, or in the sight of.
So IN GOD”S SIGHT we are holy, blameless and above reproach.
Holy – we are set apart for God
Blameless and above reproach – God can find no fault in us, no blame, nothing to correct in us, nothing to disapprove of.
This is an important concept. From God’s point of view we have a standing which is different to our own self-image of ourselves.
In God’s sight, we have taken on the attributes of Christ.
When we believed in Christ, he took our sin and we took on his attributes. A swap happened which left us looking wonderful in God’ sight.
2) The second thing we need to explore is the fact that in order to stay looking wonderful in God’s sight, we need to continue in our faith in him. As long as we remain in Christ, actively living out our faith, we can be assured that we have good standing before God.
And that good standing is wonderful.
We all know that through faith in Christ we are loved and forgiven.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. 1 John 2:12
But there is more:
WASHED, SANCITIFIED, JUSTIFIED
But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. Romans 5:1-2
Sanctified – separated unto God, set apart for a holy purpose.
And there is more:
Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. Romans 4:4-5
This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. Romans 3:22
But wait there’s more:
And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. Romans 8:30
Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:17
Stop for a minute and think about this, because this is incredible.
So these verses are telling us that we will be glorified, in fact we have already been glorified, but specifically, if we share in Christ’s sufferings, we will also share in his glory.
Is that for real?
I’ve done nothing to deserve forgiveness and salvation. How then can I be eligible for sharing in the glory which Christ receives? I don’t deserve that. Do you deserver to be glorified with Christ? When I first read this and realised what it was saying, my jaw dropped. It is jaw-dropping stuff.
But there is still more:
IN THE ROYAL FAMILY
In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will… Ephesians 1:4-5
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13
Being part of the royal family means we are given an inheritance in the Kingdom of God.
In him we have obtained an inheritance… Ephesians 1:11
In him you also … were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13-14
So not only do we become God’s children, promised an inheritance in heaven, but we are told that there IS NO DOUBT that we will receive this inheritance!
NO DOUBT – it is guaranteed! If we have accepted Christ’s offer of salvation and we have received the seal of God’s ownership – the Holy Spirit – then we are GUARANTEED that we take possession of our inheritance. We are guaranteed that we will go to heaven.
Right there is another jaw-dropping moment!
We have hope that we will go to heaven. We have faith that we will go to heaven, but this verse tells us we are absolutely guaranteed to go to heaven. No doubt, no uncertainty, no ifs or buts. We WILL go to haven to receive our inheritance! As long as we remain in Christ, of course.
But wait there’s more:
Here’s another jaw-dropping verse: In Christ we have perfectly fulfilled the O.T. Law!
By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:3-4
So in Christ, we have never eaten bacon, we have sacrificed doves and sheep and goats at the temple in Jerusalem,as required by the law, we have observed all of the festivals and the periods of cleansing, we have been circumcised, we have brought the firstfruits of our produce as tithe, and we have perfectly observed all of the commandments of the law.
Being in Christ has incredible benefits!
To sum up then: IN GOD’S SIGHT we are:
Holy, Blameless, Above Reproach
Washed, Sanctified, Justified
In summary, we are Perfect!
When God looks at us in Christ, he sees perfection in us.
There is no longer any sin, no fault, no blemish, nothing to accuse us of, no imperfection, no guilt, no weakness.
We are perfect, complete, holy and delightful in his sight.
CHRIST PERFECTS US
In fact there was a preacher who said exactly the same thing 114 years ago.
This is a small part of what what he had to say:
When Jesus died, each one of us who believe in Jesus died in Him. And when He suffered, we suffered in Christ. Our sins were laid on Christ’s head and now, Christ’s merits are laid on us… Believers are, in Christ, perfect—every one of them!
I tell you, Christian, you are complete in Him, you are perfect in Christ Jesus! Having been washed in His blood, clothed with His righteousness, united to His Person, you are, this moment, perfect in Him!
From the Sermon ‘Perfection in Christ’ by C.H. Spurgeon JULY 31, 1898.
I’ve borrowed a point from his sermon to demonstrate that what God thinks of you is not influenced by what we think about ourselves. What we think about ourselves does not matter. It does not influence what God thinks about us. His opinion of us is formed independently.
The first chapter of the Song of Solomon demonstrates this:
She: Do not gaze at me because I am dark,
because the sun has looked upon me.
My mother’s sons were angry with me;
they made me keeper of the vineyards,
but my own vineyard I have not kept!
Song of Solomon 1:6
The woman (the church or an individual Christian) doesn’t want the man (Christ) to look at her because she is sunburned and wrinkled and dirty. I am unpleasant to look at, I am not beautiful, she says. The man though, couldn’t care less what she thinks of herself. To him she is simply beautiful.
He: Behold, you are beautiful, my love;
behold, you are beautiful;
your eyes are doves.
Song of Solomon 1:15
He’s smitten, hard core. Just the same way as God is smitten with us.
God says to us, “I don’t care what you say, to me you are beautiful in Christ and will always be beautiful.”
All of this is astounding information, but what practical use does it have for my life?
These are just words, big theological ideas, concepts.
Well, there are lots of ways this knowledge can be useful to us.
I want to touch briefly, though, on just three points.
Firstly we need to think about what we’ve learned here today. We need to meditate on it. We are perfect in God’s sight. Without stain, without sin, without guilt, to God there is no fault in us.
And this is all because of our faith in Jesus Christ. Keep this in mind as we look at three points arising from this fact.
FLOW ON EFFECTS
So we’ve got to this point based on our faith. Now let’s think about some of the flow on effects.
Let’s apply some logic to what we’ve learned. For example :
By faith we are righteous in God’s sight, therefore…
God hears our prayers
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer… 1 Peter 3:12
The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James 5:16
The LORD is far from the wicked but he hears the prayer of the righteous.
Our righteousness in Christ means we are assured that he hears us when we pray. So we should be encouraged to pray more!
In Ancient Israel the temple of God had a Most Holy Place. It was the place where the Ark of the Covenant was kept and it was God’s special dwelling place amongst his people. No one was allowed into the Most Holy Place except the High Priest and then only once a year. It was separated from the Holy Place by a 2 inch thick curtain. When Christ died, the curtain was torn in two.
So that now, because we are righteous in Christ we can enter the Most Holy Place, walk with confidence right up to God and whisper our prayers into his ear. And we know that he hears us.
We need to take advantage of this position we have with God and pray on the behalf of others. We have a place of privilege before God and he wants us to approach him boldly and with confidence when we pray.
CHANGE OUR WORLD VIEW
Roman Bath in Caesarea
Over 2000 years ago, some Roman workers built formwork for a bath in Caesarea in Ancient Israel.
They poured concrete into the formwork, all runny and sloppy, but before long it started to set. It set so rock hard that the ruins for that bath still exist in Israel today. Once it was set, that concrete could not be moved, not by wind or weather, not by anything.
God wants us to set our minds on things above in the same way that concrete from Ancient Israel set.
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. Colossians 3:2
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.1 Peter 1:13
God wants us to change the focus of our lives so they are centred on him and his kingdom.
In Chris we are perfect in his God’s sight. Our future is wholly assured. We know where we are going once we die In fact we are guaranteed of a place in heaven. Heaven is our superannuation scheme . We need to start adding voluntary contributions to that scheme.
Tim and Jo are going to Russia in 14 months, but already they are preparing for the trip. They are learning the language, setting up support networks and setting their minds on where they will be in the near future.
We are going to heaven anywhere between now and 90 years from now. We don’t know when. But we also should also be getting ready for it right now. We’ll be spending the rest of forever there so any investment we make now will be well worth it.
We need to change our view of the world to put our present lives into perspective. We need to start thinking more about our amazing future and investing our time and effort into it.
I’ve been a Christian for over 30 years now and I’ve thought before about the way God sees me as perect in his sight. My response has been to worship him, to praise him and to give thanks him. But there is one thing which the Bible tells us to do which I have hardly ever done.
I hardly ever rejoice.
I guess I have always just expected joy to rise up automatically from somewhere inside me with no effort on my part, but that’s not the way the Bible describes how we should rejoice.
In Scripture we are told to rejoice as an imperative. In other words it’s delivered as a command.
So to obey the Bible’s call to rejoice, we need to make a party in our hearts where there isn’t one. We need to rejoice on purpose, as a deliberate choice.
And when we look at the way God looks upon us, rejoicing seems to be the most natural response.
So, let’s finish with Paul’s words from Philippians:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Philippians 4:4