24th May 2018

Simul Justus et Peccator 

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Galatians 2:20 (RSV)

Today’s headline is in Latin because it sums up a unique Christian truth. It means “simultaneously wholly righteous and sinful.” It is an old protestant reformation doctrine associated with Martin Luther but it has a benefit for us today, because one of the hardest things to understand about Christianity is that sin is not the problem. The consequences of sin are a problem and hurt many people, but as hard as it may be to accept, sin has been dealt with.

The whole purpose of Jesus Christ coming to earth as God in the flesh was to live a perfect sinless life, then offer himself as a perfect sacrifice to pay the death penalty for all humanity’s sins. So our sins and the sins of all humanity, however evil and unpleasant, have been forgiven through Jesus Christ (Psalm 103:12). The consequences of our sins may still blight our life or the lives of others, but the actual sin is forgiven.

When a person surrenders their life to God and becomes a Christian, a remarkable thing happens—through the Holy Spirit, Christ comes to live in and through that person. Since Christ is wholly righteous, through Christ that person becomes wholly righteous in God’s sight. But that person can and still does sin because the old carnal, human person is still present.

So we have the amazing situation that a Christian can be both wholly righteous through Christ dwelling in him or her, and yet still sin. That is the challenge that the Apostle Paul talks about in Romans 7:7-25. While we want to live a righteous, sin-free life, our humanity means that we can not. That’s why we need Christ’s sacrifice for our sins and his intercession on our behalf with the Father. It’s an incredible, awesome and wonderful truth that God’s love for us is beyond any measure we can imagine. That’s why the gospel is good news and why we are motivated to share it, hopefully with wisdom and grace.

God of grace, thank you for your incredible love for and patience with humanity as we struggle to appreciate all you have done for us through Jesus Christ.
In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by Keith Hartrick


About the Author:
Keith Hartrick is an Elder in Grace Communion Church – Leeds, and serves on the Church Council there.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion – Leeds
Garden Village Welfare Association Community Centre
Pendas Way
LS15 8LE

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2PM

Local Congregational Contact:
Malcolm Arnold
Phone: 01484-312347
Email: malcolm701@googlemail.com


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