Many believers live their lives walking on eggshells. What I mean by that is that many believers are more often than not motivated by fear in reference to their Christian life. To them the Christian life is made up of jumping through spiritual hoops in some effort to please God or to gain His approval. The natural question is: if this mentality is incorrect, then what causes believers to be so misled?
This answer is found in the fact that many believers do not know the difference between their “Position in Christ” and their “Condition in Christ.” When we come to Christ, we relate to God in two spheres. One is our position or standing before Christ. Some would call this our relationship with Christ in contrast to our fellowship with Him. The Bible is clear. We have been given a position or standing before God that is complete. In Ephesians 1 we are told that God has Ablessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.@ Heavenly places could easily be translated “from God’s vantage point or view.” Because Christ went to the cross, we are now blessed with all of the riches of divine grace. In terms of our spiritual bank account, we are made spiritually rich or wealthy. The Greek tense that is used in Ephesians 1 gives the idea that this blessing is a “once and for all” blessing. There is nothing that we can do that can add to what God has already provided for us in Christ who went to the cross to purchase our redemption.
Here’s the deal: God desires that Christians walk with Him with confidence based upon an understanding of their “position in Christ.” Such confidence does not engender fear but rather a heart of love and appreciation for all that Christ has done for us on the cross. Positionally (or in terms of our relationship in Christ), we are accepted and loved unconditionally. Nothing can change that. Even when we sin, in terms of our position (and relationship) we are still accepted by God – in Christ – even though God does not accept our sin. This helps us to understand what the Psalmist meant when he said, “He leads me beside quiet waters.” These are waters of rest where we can rest in the assurance that our position in Christ is secure.
This brings us to the other sphere in which we connect with God: our condition in Christ. This condition has to do with whether we are “in fellowship with Him” or “out of fellowship with Him.” As parents we have a relationship with each of our children that is established at the point of their birth. They are “our children.” Nothing can change that even if we disowned them. They would still be our (biological) children. But our fellowship with them may or may not be strong. There are some adult children and parents who have not spoken for years; they have no fellowship. There are others that have occasional fellowship. The same can be true of the believer. (I John 1:6)
Fellowship comes by walking in the Spirit or being filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). In that fellowship we experience the fullness of our relationship with Him, that is, the fruit of the Spirit. This means we are habitually confessing our sins (I John 1:9) and walking by faith trusting God to empower us.
There is much more we could explicate, here but the point is that so many believers live confused lives – often joyless lives – because they do not understand the mechanics of the Christian life that I have just unpacked. When one fully understands the difference between our position and our condition in Christ, one is motivated more out of God’s grace and love – not His wrath or displeasure.
Anyone who has been a parent will remember those first days of teaching their young child to walk. Often one parent will hold the child up and the other will stand a few feet away with outstretched arms beckoning the child to walk to them. What happens? Usually the child will take just a few steps and then fall. What does the parent do at that point? Does the parent scold the child for falling? Absolutely not! No, they pick the child up and start cheering again for the child to take more steps. Such is our Heavenly Father’s heart toward His children even when we fall in our daily walk with Him.
What motivates you? Do you have a clear understanding of God’s grace and your “position in Christ?” Is your Christian life one that is based more on fear than on God’s grace and forgiveness? An accurate understanding of one’s position in Christ can be tremendously liberating from guilt and fear. Thus, you are free to live in a way that brings great glory to Christ – and great peace to our hearts.