In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace

Everyone makes mistakes, but some are so big and the consequences so widespread that we assume they’ll define us forever. It’s human nature to think that way about ourselves and also about other people. The truth we find in Scripture, though, is that if we’re letting our failures define us, we’re wrong. Paul teaches us that through the blood of Jesus Christ we have redemption and the forgiveness of sins. This gives us hope, new life, and purpose that it is not our works but the work of Jesus that shapes our identity and transforms our lives.

If you are a Christian, understand that God has redeemed you to provide Himself an inheritance. This is part of what He has planned to accomplish through Jesus Christ. Romans 3:10 says, “No one is righteous, no, not one.” Our right standing with God, which forms our identity, is wholly and completely based on God’s gracious decision to love us while we were sinners (Rom. 5:8). If our salvation were based on our good works, we could never be sure of our salvation, because we would always wonder whether we had done enough to please God. Furthermore, if our salvation were based upon our good works, we would think there was something boast-worthy in our identity—that we were somehow impressive to God or had attained some measure of goodness in our own abilities. This is not so. It is not anything we accomplish that gives us proper standing and identity before God; it is what Jesus has accomplished for us. In Him, God redeemed us and forgave our sins “according to the riches of His grace.”

• What does the fact that we need redemption tell us about ourselves?

• How should God’s approval of you, in light of your failures, shape the way you relate to Him?

• Thank God for His redemption and the identity He has given you in Christ. Ask Him to reveal areas of brokenness that you need to submit to Him in order that you might experience more fully the identity you have in Him.