Are You Righteous or Sinful?
by Dan Stone
There's a deep rut in the Christian faith, as most believers experience it. It's like a ditch that you run your car into and can't get out of. Unless God tows a believer out of the rut, he or she will never fully live out of their union with Christ.|
The rut is this: most of us believe that in the depths of our being we are both good and bad. Or, to put it in theological terms, we are both righteous and sinful. Using a common illustration, we believe that we have within us both a white dog and a black dog, a good nature and a bad nature, that are fighting for control.
But that is not true. It is vital that we know it's not true, because if we believe that we are both righteous and sinful, it will be impossible to live out of our union with Christ and to rest, trusting that He lives through us moment by moment. Instead, we will be focused on ourselves, on getting our act together, on winning the war that supposedly rages within us, trying to suppress the bad part of us so that the good part will reflect the character of Christ. This endless self-effort is the complete opposite of what Paul wrote:
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God... (Galatians 2:20)
The only way out of this dilemma, of believing that we are both good and bad, is to understand that the realm of the spirit, above the line, is singular. It is one. The realm of appearances, below the line, is a duality. It is two.
In the realm of appearances, there is constant evidence of good and evil, both outside and inside us. If we judge by appearances, we arrive at the logical conclusion that we are both good and bad. That looks entirely valid. Christians have believed this for centuries. Except for a small minority who have come to know their true identity in Christ, the whole Christian world accepts the lie. Unfortunately, although something may not be true above the line, if below the line we think it is true, it still controls us. We must choose to live out of what is singular, rather than what is dual.
The realm of the spirit, the singular realm, is eternal reality. That is where our spirit being lives, and where our true identity is settled forever. The realm of appearance, although we must live in it in the here and now, is false as far as our identity goes. All of life depends on which realm is ultimate reality to you: the realm of spirit or the realm of appearances. That's going to determine what you believe and how you live.
Choosing to believe that you are not both good and evil can be difficult. All of the external proof, all of the apparent evidence, all of the sight, supports the opposite: that you have two natures. "You are good, yes, a little good, but boy, you are still wicked; you are still evil." Only the Holy Spirit can reveal to you that you only have one nature, not two. In the core of your being you are not both righteous and sinful; you are only righteous.