Today we continue our series entitled, “The Benefits of Prayer and Fasting,” with an emphasis on “The Power of Prayer.” The focus of this morning’s message is something I teach all the time: you and Jesus are ONE! The Bible says, “As Jesus is, so are we, in this world!” (1 Jn 4:17). Receiving this revelation is key and central to having confidence when you pray.
Many today are not confident when they pray, because they struggle to overcome the feeling of not being worthy to approach the Father directly. Some feel like they are simply too sinful, like they have made too many mistakes, and like they have no “right” to stand before God to make any requests or petitions whatsoever. First of all, we are not called to walk by feelings, we are commanded to walk and live by faith (2 Cor 5:7). If I only wrote Today’s Word when I felt like it, then you would only get a couple of messages a week. If I only prayed when I felt like it, then my prayer life would be hit-and-miss. Our feelings are conditional, but our position in Christ is permanent! Now let me address the unworthy-factor. If you feel like you are unworthy, get over it. We are all unworthy. None of us can stand before God based upon our own righteousness. Isaiah said, “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind” (Isaiah 64:6). If I had to count on my righteousness to stand before God I could never do it, but thank God for Jesus!
Paul said, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” (Rom 3:23). That’s the truth. Without question, we were all born in sin. No human, outside of Jesus, has ever walked the planet sinless. We all have our faults, flaws and failures. Paul points that out. But I am thankful that Paul did not stop there. Paul went on to say, “Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous.” Did you catch that? It’s not that we are righteous in and of ourselves, but those of us who have put on Christ are DECLARED righteous. Paul continues, “He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed His life, shedding His blood.” I was not born right, but I was MADE right when I accepted Jesus as my Lord. The same happened to you. Paul continues, “God did this to demonstrate His righteousness, for He Himself is fair and just, and He declares sinners to be right in His sight when they believe in Jesus” (see Romans 3:23-36). You and I were sinners, but we are declared RIGHT in God’s sight when we believed in Jesus and made Him our Lord.
In Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth Paul said, “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” (2 Cor 5:21). Another translation says that Jesus was made sin for us in order for us to be made the “Righteousness of God in Him.”
So what does this mean to you today? I will share a few things, as it relates to prayer.
- Jesus was completely righteous. He never sinned. There was ZERO sin in Jesus. We were born void of righteousness. We were born in sin. There was ZERO righteousness in us. The Bible teaches us that God PUT our sin on Jesus. There was no sin in Him, but He willingly TOOK ON our sin. Why? So that we could TAKE ON His righteousness. God PUT our sin on Jesus and when we accept Jesus as Lord, He PUTS Jesus’ righteousness on us. Jesus had NO sin, but the Father DECLARED Him to be sin for us. We had NO righteousness. But the Father DECLARED us righteous when we accepted Jesus as Lord. This is what I call “The Great Exchange!”
- You were born in sin. You were not a sinner because you sinned. You sinned because you were born a sinner. It was your nature. You sinned because you were born that way. The only way this could change is if you were Born-Again. Jesus died and TOOK ON your sin, so that you could die IN HIM and TAKE ON His righteousness.
- When you are in Christ and Christ is in you, you have the “right” to pray the Father directly, in the name of His Son, because you were declared righteous in Jesus!
- In and of yourself you could never be righteous. You could never be good enough. You could never be holy enough to stand before God. But in Christ you are holy and righteous. You were not good enough, but Jesus was good enough FOR you. You were not perfect, but Jesus was perfect FOR you. And Jesus then gave you the RIGHT to use His name. He deputized you. You can now stand before the Father with boldness. Why? Because as Jesus is, so are you, in this world!
Father, this is a season of expectation for me. I am now able to pray with a greater level of confidence, because I know who I am in Christ Jesus. Jesus willingly died in my stead. Jesus, who was completely righteous, clothed Himself in my sin. So that I, who was completely sinful, could clothe myself in His righteousness. I receive the righteousness Jesus died to give me. I believe and receive it NOW! I may have been born a sinner, but I was Born-Again! I am now the righteousness of God in Christ. I am right with You Father and my right standing enables me to pray with confidence, boldness, humility and peace. As Jesus is, so am I, in this world! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and prosper!