If you haven't checked out Frank's T-Shirt with the above slogan - check it out.
A few days ago I wrote a post on my own blog which answered that question for non-Christians who wanted to know "where they were at" with God right now. If you want to have a bit of context for this post you can read that post here.
If you are a Christian however, you are -in Christ- and therefore, as we read in Ephesians 1:6, you are acceptable to God. Yes, you say, thank-you Daniel for pointing out the obvious. I agree - this truth is obvious, but I find that it is the obvious truths that we spend the least time plumbing the depths of. There are Theologians who can tell you the difference between infralapsarianism, and supralapsarianism - and let you know in detail why one is right and the other is wrong - who haven't given much thought to what it means to be in Christ.
So, if you are a believer, let's plumb that depth a bit and see how deep it goes.
In Romans 6:3-5 Paul paints a well rounded picture of our union with Christ. Those of us who were placed into Christ shared in Christ's death, burial, and into his resurrection by virtue of being inside Christ. I say "inside" rather than in - because it is a literal truth. When we say "in Christ" some have the tendency to make a metaphor out of it and in doing so, rob the text of its teeth. The text uses the word "baptized" - but many of us can't hear the word baptize without thinking of being baptized into water. The text however isn't talking about being baptized (immersed) into water - it is talking about being baptized into Christ. Why is that important?
First a bit about the Holiness of God. If you haven't read Sproul's book on the Holiness of God, I would suggest borrowing it and finding the chapter that discusses the text of Isaiah 6:3, wherein God is described as "Holy, Holy, Holy." I am no Hebrew scholar, but I am told that in Hebrew repeating a word like that gives emphasis. If you wanted to say that God was really holy you would say he was holy-holy (consider the Holy of Holies). But God is described as "Holy, Holy, Holy!" - not a mere three-fold, but Holy in flashing letters ten miles high. Holiness, Sproul goes on to teach, is not to be limited to simple purity - as though God were merely pure or sinless. Holiness means separated from everything else - alien. God is the Creator - and everything else is creation. Let that sink in for a bit. Hey? Why are you still reading slacker - I meant that- pause here for at least a few breaths and really meditate upon what that means - Creation may tell us a bit about our Creator, it will certainly give witness to there being a Creator - and even give glory to our Creator - but our Creator is of a different order than His creation - an order that is utterly alien to it.
I bring that up because when I talk about "time" - I want everyone to have a very clear understanding of what I mean when I say that God created time and is utterly and absolutely outside of it. Scripture teaches that a day is like a thousand years to God, and a thousand years as a day. That is a metaphor and it teaches us that God doesn't experience time in the way that we do - He is above it.
Now we are ready to consider the consequences of our union with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. From my chronological perspective, Jesus bore -me- on the cross, and therefore (with me) all my sins whether past, present, or future - and this all happened 2000 years ago. When I understand that Jesus bore me - I understand that God's wrath wasn't directed at Jesus - it was directed at me personally. I was there. Jesus was just the ark that I was in - He offered himself to God for that purpose - by uniting myself within Him, He was able to bear me on the cross with Himself - and when God poured out His wrath upon me and my sin, Christ put Himself between us (as it were) and took all of God's awful wrath so that I didn't take a hint of it. Like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego - my clothes didn't even smell of smoke - but it cost my Savior his own life - a life that he gave to prove that his love for me was real.
If I were a poet - the magnitude of that love could be painted in words - and maybe we might shed a tear to think of how selfless that was - and maybe we should - but it wasn't an isolated act - it was a demonstration of the character of God. God would do the same every day for eternity if that is what it took - that is Who God is - that is what He is like.
While it is good to reflect upon our God, and what He is like - we want to keep it all in context - That is where we are right now - in Christ. Have you sinned today? Are you hiding in the garden from God because of it? If you are, you don't get it. Christ is right now, in eternity, taking God's wrath for your sin because God (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) loved you enough to go to that length to ensure that a way is always open for you to come to God. The anger that God feels for your sin, for your rebellion today or yesterday is being poured out on Christ so that you can -always- come to a throne of grace; even if you are smack-dab in the middle of the most treasonous act of rebellion imaginable - God is not dealing with you, he is dealing with your intercessor who not only delivers you from God's wrath, but gives you his own righteous standing before God.
What that means dear brothers and sisters, is that the condemnation for your sin does not affect God's relationship to you (though it will definitely impact how you relate to Him) - you are right at this moment as reconciled as you are ever going to be, not because you managed to live without falling into sin this morning - but because you are in Christ. I don't doubt that our enemy doesn't want us to get a hold of the most obvious truths - because when we do, we no longer run from God - the sting of sin has been dealt with - we are free to come to God because we are dressed in white - and not our own sin.
God's grace will cover every sin - but if God's Spirit is in us, we grieve for our sins - and rightly so. The genuine believer has no desire to continue in sin, and only does so because they are afraid to come to God on account of their sin. Brothers and sisters - that is the power of death isn't it? Separation from God? Jesus reconciled us to God, and is reconciling us to God. We need no longer be afraid of coming to God, because that love with which He has loved us, has cast out every reason to fear. It isn't that God accepts us in our sin - but that He accepts us in His Son. Sin kept us from God, and God has found a way to stop sin from doing that.
The bottom line - This is where you are right now (if you are a believer), you are in Christ, and nothing can separate you from God's love. Because you are in Christ, your sin can no longer separate God from you. That isn't to say that you are in fellowship with God if you are embracing sin - no way! Light has no communion with darkness - but because God is reconciled to you, you can come to God in prayer knowing that His relationship to you is founded on the truth that you are in Christ. God relates to us because we are in Christ, and not because we are particularly good or repentant. That doesn't mean that we are in fellowship with God when we are full of sin however... Fellowship can only happen when we walk in the light, as He is in the light. But I will touch on that aspect of our relationship with God either on my own blog, or here later.
Spend time in prayer before the Lord's day - come into His presence with thanksgiving in your heart - and give Him praise!