I am not what I was but I am what I will be.
Chances are that you have heard that line differently. We are usually told, “I am not what I was and I am not what I will be.” But where does that leave us? Many believers accept that they live in some kind of “no man’s land” between what they were and what they will be. They believe that they are no longer lost in sin, because of Jesus (or their participation in the church), but that they are still broken sinners waiting to be forgiven and redeemed and accepted when they die. There is no victory, no righteousness, not even any joy for them because they have not arrived at their goal.
We understand this, of course. We still suffer the limitations and indignities of earthly life and we trust that will change. We still do things we don’t want to do and we look forward to a time when that will no longer be true. In other words, we don’t feel like saints and we don’t act in the way we think saints should act, but we expect that we will someday. Our present may not be as bad as our past was, but it isn’t as good as we believe our future will be.
Now, if you promise to read the rest of this post, I will concede that there is an important point here. I don’t know what it will be like to live without the influence of sin, but I long for the day when sin is out of my world and my life forever. I believe that will be a wonderful day—and that it will be quite different from today. My thinking will be completely uncompromised. My choices will always be right. My heart will respond only to Jesus. What a day that will be!
However, the only things that will be different in that day are that sin will be gone in you and in me and that we will finally know who we are. In a sense, the only differences will be in our behavior and in our understanding. We will finally think like saints and act like saints, because we will finally feel like saints. Our experience will catch up with the truth about ourselves.
You see, nothing spiritual will change in those who belong to Jesus when they die. We are as saved right now as we will be when we stand in Heaven. We are as clean and forgiven and righteous today as we will be then. Our thinking will catch up; our environment will certainly change; but there will be no substantial difference in us.
This is the wonder of Paul’s words to the Corinthians:
And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11
The work that was necessary for you has already been done for you and in you. When you came to Jesus, you accepted the work of Jesus on your behalf. Nothing more needs to be done. You can’t add to what He has already done.
So the proper Christian goal for the New Year is not to be a better person. You can’t make yourself better than Christ has already made you. The proper Christian goal is to become what you are, to think according to the truth about you.
I believe that learning to live in His presence, to walk with Him through the day, is the best way to begin thinking in the right way. They claim that you begin to think like the people you are with. How does Jesus think of you? He loves you and values you. He knows what He has done in your life and who you really are. If you and I can begin to think of ourselves in the way He thinks of us, our lives will be full and free.