I am in RCIA, and my old church, a protestant non-denominational, used to say (i’m paraphrasing).
“We need to see ourselves as God sees us. Since Jesus took the sin upon himself, we (believers) are the righteousness of God because its Jesus who is in us. Therefore, do not look at ourselves as sinners, but the righteousness of God. Thats how God sees us, and thats how we grow in Christ, understanding who we are in HIM.”
Does this make sense? Is there something wrong with this doctrine? Please poke holes in this statement, or share your opinions…
Good question to ask. This statement sounds to me like a variation of the “once saved always saved” doctrine. We as Catholics believe that we are “in Christ” as long as we don’t sin, but it is inevitable that we are going to sin again, so we need to truly be repentant whenever we sin, and then we are forgiven by God. It is truly possible to lose your salvation even after you are “in Christ”, by sinning freely and being unrepentant for it. Hope this addresses your question somewhat.
I understand what you’re saying here. In essence Jesus shed His blood as an atoning sacrifice as the Jews used to do with the animal sacrifices in the temple. Christ was the last sacrifice…the veil that separated the people from the altar was torn the moment Christ died. God sees us thru this sacrifice…Jesus stands between our sinful natures and God the Father making us presentable in his presence.
Ephesians 1:6-8 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight…
Some see this as OSAS but that isn’t what was taught. I don’t say that because Christ’s blood covers me that I can go out and do anything I want. I still have to be in a relationship with Him, read His Word, share Him, be a vessel for the Spirit to do things for others…
Maybe someone else can come in here and help me with the words that I’m trying to find and am struggling with…I hate this brain sometimes!! :shrug:
At one end of the spectrum, we have those who believe so much that they are the righteousness of God that they guiltlessly perpetrate all manner of atrocities in God’s name (see also extreme apologists). At the other end, we have those who believe so much that they are unworthy scum that they huddle in darkness, hating themselves.
Somewhere between those, there is a useful balance of recognising that we continue to fail and that God continues to love us and that we should not forget either of those.
If you want something (admittedly not short) to read on this, the Philokalia discusses it frequently (and a version with an index can save you a lot of time, although I personally recommend reading the entire thing).
My first answer is this…
God sees us as we truly are at any and every instant of our lives. That means the good and the bad - the sin and the holiness.
Now building on that - What does God see in “the believer”?
I would say God sees the struggle and the journey. He sees the believer’s love and desire to be worthy of the great gifts that have been bestowed on the believer.
Of course this is just the tip of what God sees for God sees our very heart - even when we cannot see what is really there. God knows if the believer is true or not…
As for the outlook that you paraphrase in your OP…
It’s too one sided. It does not take into account all of the possibilities and dangers associated with our journey to God. While I think that we can and should be more joyful and confident about our salvation, the teaching expressed in the OP runs the very real risk of presumption - and a falling away.
That’s all well and good, as long as they aren’t making the case that being in Christ is license to sin, what I mean is best touched upon by Colossians I think;
Colossians 3:1If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
5Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: 7In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. 8But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 11Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
12Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. 15And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
We are sinners, that is a fact. To view ourselves as otherwise is arrogance.
We cannot fully appreciate God’s love for us unless we appreciate our sinfulness. We are not worthy of God’s love, yet He loves us unconditionally. We are sinners and unworthy of His love, yet He loves us unconditionally.
To view ourselves as ‘the righteous’ is to believe that we are in fact worthy of God’s love , that we do in fact deserve God’s love. That is an arrogant position.
All sin separates us from God - first off, there is original sin to contend with and Baptism fixes this problem - we are that new creation in Him. Things look good right up until we sin of our own volition (and we all do that, you have a nature that desires to sin) and then we have that sin problem again.
If you aren’t leaving your sin at the cross, through confession, repentance and clinging to Jesus’ promises of absolution, then you are still carting that sin-baggage around like it’s a permanent part of yourself.
Catholics and Lutherans disagree on the exact process of how the sin-baggage is finally removed when you die, but we agree that it is because of Christ’s redemptive death on the cross that we can enter heaven. It is Christ’s righteousness that is seen, and not our own that saves us.
I believe they go a bit too far and misunderstand when they say* “understanding who we are in Him”*. I believe I’m a sinner and I believe God see’s me how I am. I believe I invoke Christ’s name/passion (sign of the cross), so that He looks not upon my sins but upon Christ’s sacrifice for my sins when he see’s me.
I believe the following may also help -
Another way I think I may be able to explain it is with the parable of the unforgiving servant.
I believe the above is like saying “understanding who we are in the kings’ shoes” I believe if we see ourselves in the kings’ shoes, as the king himself, than we never owed a debt, and thus were never forgiven the debt and therefore the fruits of God’s mercy are choked out of us.