[Part 4, Chapter 25]
Favour removes condemnation, judgement, and rejection from our life, granting us access to acceptance, pardon, and freedom through adoption—all gifts from Father’s heart.
Having access is a potently powerful gift.
Sadly, many Christians aren’t living fully in the potency of what is already theirs.
It’s as if some people presume that thinking about sin is the most holy activity they can be involved in. We are constantly asked about our sin, reminded of our sin, urged to confess our sin, and constrained to live free from our sin—all to the point we can become sin-focussed.
- Who is Jesus to you? “Oh, he’s the one who forgives my sin.”
- What does it mean that you’re a Christian? “It means I get forgiveness of sins.”
- How do you define yourself? “Who, me? Oh, I’m just a sinner.”
- What does it mean to be holy? “I suppose it’s about living free from sin.”
The problem is, whatever it is we focus on, we enlarge and give life to.
The favour-message announced by the angels is that a Saviour is born. On the cross Jesus, our Saviour, dealt with sin. And because sin has been dealt with, we can be favour-flourishing rather than sin-focussed.
Our access, and the favour it releases, means our starting point is never our sin. Nor is it our human nature, our old Adam, our sinfulness, or our flesh. It is not that sin is inconsequential. Rather, Jesus has completely dealt with both sin and its consequences.
The reality of the cross is that despite our sin, he is well-pleased with us.
I can’t confess my way into favour. It doesn’t work that way. It is always the other way around. My starting point is the favour Father has toward me. I no longer need to live worrying about my sin or sinfulness. That has been taken care of.
Favour gets even better. Paul writes that where sin increased, grace abounded all the more (Romans 5:20).
It is called the abundance of grace, which freely puts us right with God, so that we prosper in life rather than drudge our way through it (Romans 5:17).
How does Paul start his letters? To the sinners who are in Ephesus or Philippi or Colossae?
No, to the saints! And then, he blesses them with a combination of grace, mercy, and peace.
If Paul can call them saints, he would be calling you a saint today.
Why? Because the Father is well-pleased with you. You have access.
So, every time we hear the voice of condemnation, judgment, or rejection telling us we are a sinner, we take that thought captive and declare aloud (and I actually do this, out loud):
I am a saint.
I stand in favour.
I am a son/daughter.
I sin, but I am not defined by my sin.
With Jesus, I have passed through the cross.
The curtain is torn in two.
I have access.
Jesus, help me to see myself through your eyes.