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When I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord, God declared me righteous. I didn't look very righteous. I called on liquor stores back then. Alcohol was my business. I sold it and I drank it. But the day I submitted to Jesus, my life changed.

I went back to work the next Monday morning in those same liquor stores. I didn't know a thing about the Bible. I only knew I was different. Soon, I began to tell people that I had two kinds of spirits, alcoholic spirits and the Holy Spirit. "Which one do you want to hear about first?" I'd ask.

I found that many of them were interested in Jesus. They weren't interested in religion, but they were interested in knowing that God was no longer "imputing their trespasses" to them. They were interested in knowing that He had settled the account of the whole world's sins. That was good news!

The sad thing is many believers - people who have already been made righteous in Jesus - don't fully grasp that news. They don't realize God isn't mad at them. They don't realize they can go boldly before the throne of God without shame - dressed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

That's because they've been taught to focus more on how they've messed up than on what Jesus has done for them. They're more sin-conscious than they are righteousness-conscious.

One of the first steps to becoming righteousness-conscious is to learn the difference between having your sins forgiven, and having your sins remitted. Remitted is a word that should never be used in connection with a believer because a man's sin is remitted only once.

When sin is remitted, at the moment of salvation, the Word tells us we become "a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Cor. 5:17).

You see, the problem we had before we were saved was not all those little individual sins we committed. They were only the symptoms. The problem was the condition of our heart. The problem was our sin nature. No matter how hard we tried to be good and act right, that nature kept us imprisoned in sin.

But when we made Jesus the Lord of our lives, our sin nature died and a righteous nature was born in us. Sin no longer had dominion over us. Righteousness set us free!

That kind of freedom wasn't available to people in Old Testament days. Back then, before the blood of Jesus had been shed, there was a "reckoned righteousness" with God, gained through the blood of sacrificed bulls and goats. Those sacrifices covered the individual sins, but they didn't change the hearts of people. People kept on committing the same sins every year because their nature was still the nature of sin.

"For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins" (Heb. 10:4). But what the blood of bulls and goats could not do, Jesus' blood did. "...This man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God...For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified" (vv. 12, 14).

How long will Jesus' sacrifice for sin last? Forever. You are forever righteous through the blood of Jesus.

I know you still miss it and sin sometimes. But even when you do, it's not the same because your heart is different. God doesn't see you the same way He did before you were born again.

Think of it this way. If you're a parent, you may know your child has done something wrong, but as far as you're concerned, he's still your child and he's wonderful. He may need to be corrected, but there's nothing wrong with him. You know he wants to please you. He just needs more training so he can learn to do things right.

Do your children fall out of good standing with you just because they mess up? Certainly not. It's the same way in the family of God. Once you've been born again, your nature is changed. You don't want to sin even when you do.

And when you do sin, you have Someone on your side. "...If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 2:1). "If we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

While remission changes your nature, forgiveness erases your mistakes. And that's the final word on sin. God has taken care of the sin problem forever. When Jesus became sin and put sin away, the sin problem became a closed issue with God.

You can still sin if you choose. God won't stop you. The Holy Spirit will deal with you if you'll listen...but if you won't, you can do what you will. But you don't have to sin. You don't have a sin nature anymore. You have a righteous nature.

God "hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son" (Col. 1:13). You've been translated out of one kingdom and into another one.

People are so worried about the devil. They're fighting the devil and bombarding the gates of hell all over the place. But I like what one author wrote: "If you really understand your righteousness in Christ and your authority as a believer, you will pay no attention to the devil. You'll just go on and do your job."

Jesus said, "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you" (Luke 10:18-19).

Satan has no authority over you unless you give it to him. Jesus has stripped him of all authority and placed it in your hands. As He said in the Great Commission, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore..." (Matt. 28:18-19). That's good news, Church! Let's tell it!

Source: One Word From God Can Change Your Destiny by Kenneth and Gloria Copeland.
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Happy Caldwell
Web site: Agape Church
Happy Caldwell is the founder and Pastor of Agape Church, a strong, Spirit-filled body of believers in Little Rock, Arkansas. He is Founder and President of the Victory Television Network, which operates two full-power Christian television stations in Little Rock and Hot Springs, Arkansas. He is also President of the International Convention of Faith Ministries (ICFM) located in Little Rock Arkansas.

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