Thursday, July 14, 2011
We all have dirty clothes!
I just read Prince our new copy of The Priest with Dirty Clothes by RC Sproul. What a delightful story. In it, RC successfully explains the doctrine of imputation to children. It's a captivating story, as well, not dry and boring like Daddy's sermons or Mommy's speeches : ). Prince followed the story line closely and when I asked him who had arrived at the apex of excitement he yelled, "The Prince, the Prince!!" When I asked him what was in the package under the Prince's arm he yelled, "His clothes, His clothes!!" He was so excited that he actually clapped twice on the last page.
The doctrine of imputation is central to the gospel and the gospel cannot be understood without first understanding imputation. To realize that we all have dirty clothes (or as RC explains in the book, dirty hearts) and that there is nothing we nor anyone else can do to clean them puts us in the humble, repentant position to accept by faith Christ's "robe of" righteousness so that we can stand before God. Our acceptance by God is not based on any work or goodness of our own, but only made possible by Christ's righteousness that covers our sins. There is another side to this coin, as well. Christ bore our sins on the cross. This means that even though He never sinned, He "put on" our sins when He suffered the punishment we deserved.
My husband recently received a note in the mail from a woman in her seventies. He had preached two Sundays in a row (while going through Mathew) and then on a Sunday evening about imputation. The note said that the third time she got it. She really got it. For the first time in her life she understood imputation. Gone was her guilt. And oh the bliss of understanding what a glorious salvation we have in Christ.
You might be thinking it's strange that it took this woman three times to get it. Unfortunately, many never understand imputation and this lack of understanding causes big problems in our faith. For instance, if you are actually made righteous when you believe, or infused with the righteousness of Christ, then how can you continue to sin? You can't. It changes your view of man, sin, sanctification, and even justification. This is at the root of why so many who have placed their faith in Christ worry that they have lost their salvation because of some recent sin. In other words, there is no confidence in a secure salvation when that security rests on our own righteousness. We must utterly rely upon God graciously crediting Christ's righteousness to us in order to stand securely before God today and on Judgment Day.
The Priest with Dirty Clothes does a fabulous job of illustrating how Christ took our sins on Himself and in exchange let us wear His righteousness so we can stand in the presence of His Father. I know this will be a classic in our family, enjoyed over and over again for years to come.
- I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.