[quote]Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. Romans 3:24, New Living Translation (NLT)[/quote]
Often times the simplest things to do become the hardest. For example, living out what we believe is hard, especially when we deal with the issue of sanctification or righteousness. This verse in Romans 3:24 is special in that it makes it clear that we are righteous, although undeservingly, and only through salvation. We understand this happens following God’s invitation, our response, and finally God’s response to our response. The story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10 come to mind.
Jesus, as he was making his way through town, sees Zacchaeus (who was a well known and despised tax collector), up on a tree, calls him by name and invites himself to dine with him. A simple encounter turns this man’s life around. The scriptures do not give us details as far as the conversation Jesus had with Zacchaeus while they dined. All we know is that somewhere between the tree and supper, transformation took place. My favorite part of the story is when the town’s folk begin to murmur about Zacchaeus unrighteousness, He repents before all, and Jesus makes the amazing statement, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” (Luke 19:9-10)[quote]Millard J. Erickson states: “The Christian life, as we have seen, is not a static matter in which one is saved and then merely reposes in that knowledge. It is a process of growth and progress, lived not in the Christian’s own strength, but in the power and by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And it is a process of challenge and satisfaction.” (http://lindeenfamily.com/tag/millard-erickson/)[/quote]
By people’s standards, Zacchaeus would have to undergo some sort of sanctification step program, but instead, Jesus not only declares him saved, but he also gives him the highest honor of being called a true son of Abraham. This was huge! Perhaps, Jesus made this statement publicly because he knew Sanctification would require a continuing work of God in this man’s life as well as patience and compassion from the people around him.