There are some things I do that really drive my husband crazy! Like not putting things back (especially his things back!) where they belong, how I file by pile… and those piles tend to multiply rather rapidly! And how I’m forever losing things! But the one that tops them all is my penchant to awake in the middle of the night mumbling, “I’m so sorry, Lord!” …repeatedly!
In the past few years the Lord has opened my eyes more than ever before to how much I blow it! How much I fall short in everything I do. Nights are the worst, as I lay down and my mind replays scene after scene of failure ~ and the accuser has a heyday attacking me.
I’ve found if I spend time before bed worshipping the Lord, considering the gospel, confessing those sins it really can help! But it’s one thing to know truth in you mind, another to get it to penetrate into the depths of your heart…
One treasure the Lord blessed me with recently is Jerry Bridges’ new book Who Am I? that addresses our identity in Christ. I decided as part of my nightly time with the Lord to read a chapter each night. It really is a fascinating little book! But when I reached the fourth chapter ~ I am justified ~ I discovered the most helpful treasure where Jerry explains:
“Second Corinthians 5:21 is often called The Great Exchange, and it works like this. Imagine your life as a moral ledger in which every action, every thought, every word, and every motive is recorded. That’s pretty grim because even our very best deeds are like a polluted garment in the eyes of God (Isaiah 64:6). But God takes your sin and removes it from your ledger and charges it to the ledger of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Savior bears the penalty for all your sin.
You are left with a clean but empty ledger, so God does something else. He takes the perfect obedience, the perfect righteousness of Christ from his ledger and transfers it to your ledger. In computer terms you might think of this as “copy and paste” in the sense that the same righteousness, even though it has been given to you , is still available to every other Christian and everyone who will come to Christ in the fiture.
Now you have a ledger that no longer catalogs your sin but instead bears only the record of 33 years of absolutely perfect righteousness. How can God do this? How can a just God completely wipe all sin off your ledger and replace it with the perfect righteousness of Christ?
Because we are in Christ. He, as our representative, stands justly charged with our sin and pays its penalty through his death. And because he is our representative, God can justly credit his perfect righteousness to us. So we can say, as Paul essentially says in Galatians 2:20, that when Jesus died on the cross, we died on the cross. And when he lived a perfect life, we lived a perfect life. Because we are in Him…
There are two plays on the word justified that may help us see this more clearly. You can think of it as meaning “just as if I had never sinned.” That is, it does not matter how vile and long-standing your sin is. When you trust in Christ as Savior, God looks at you just as if you’d never sinned.
To state the same thing in the opposite way, you can also think of justified as meaning ‘just as if I had always obeyed.” That’s the way God sees you because he sees you clothed with the perfect righteousness of Christ.” p. 35-36
Now when I was in fifth grade I started a newspaper at my Elementary school called “Beaver Tales.” That was back in the pre-computer age when cut and paste literally meant cutting and pasting!
So when I read this I thought – hey! I should actually do what Jerry describes. So one night before bed I sat down and drew a line down the middle of a page. Putting “me” at the head of one column and “Jesus” on the top of the other. Under “me” I recorded all the ways I could think of that I’d blown it that day. Sure enough, I filled my side of the page! Under “Jesus” I wrote “Totally righteous! Perfect Obedience! Perfect Righteousness!”
Then I cut out the column of what I’d done, and the column under Jesus’ name and switched them! Then wrote on top of my day’s sin list that was now in Jesus’ column “PAID IN FULL! Debt cancelled completely.” And on top of Jesus’ column that was now mine, I pasted the reminder “Just as if I had never sinned! Just as if I had always obeyed!” and “That’s the way God sees me because He sees me clothed with the perfect righteousness of Christ! Thank you Lord!”
Now that may not seem like much, but actually doing this had a HUGE impact on my heart! …and on my marriage! Not once have I mumbled in the night since!!!