When John wrote, “Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17), what did he really mean?
Surely he didn’t mean that last part when he said: “as He is, so are we in this world”, right? After all Jesus wasn’t a sinner, and as Believers we are only sinners saved by grace, right? Well, actually, no… not really.
I believe that the average Christian spends so much of their life trying to become something that they already are.
You see, who you are, is not what you do and what you do is not who you are. But who you believe you are will influence what you do.
When we come into Christ, who we are is completely and permanently changed. We are given a new, pure and incorruptible spirit, and that is how God relates to us.
So why do we struggle to walk in our new, pure and incorruptible spirit? Because our mind still operates in the human default mode and still has to be renewed. We still have to learn about our new identity. We still have to grow in our “right believing.” This is why Paul instructs us in Romans 12:2 to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Notice, transformation occurs after mind renewal. (More on renewing the mind in another blog post.)
The key here is that our transformation has nothing to do with us becoming more “right” in the sight of God, nor does it have anything to do with changing “who we are.” I believe that the transformation Paul is talking about here is what occurs after our thinking comes into alignment with our true identity.
Who Are We?
You see becoming like Christ has nothing to do with what you or I do, other than the singular work of believing. And even that work is a work of the Spirit. In John 6:29, Jesus himself says: “the work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent”.
So my point is that we come to be like Him in an instant. And this takes place through the supernatural transaction that occurs the very moment we BELIEVE. At that instant, our sins are imputed (transferred)to Him and ALL of His righteousness is imputed to us. This is summed up well in 2 Corinthians 5:17 and 2 Corinthians 5:21.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Cor 5:17
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Cor 5:21
So when we come into Christ through the work of believing in Him, our “old” passes away. Jesus took our sins and made us the very righteousness of God so that we can boldly and confidently declare that As He is, So ARE we in this world!