Position and disposition

Devotional thoughts for December 2020

(Click here to read Monday Musings ... where I discuss the thinking that led to this article.)

“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love”
(Ephesians 1:4, NIV)

Even before he created the world, God chose us to be holy. So, how are you doing? Do you feel particularly holy today? I don’t. In fact, I rarely do.

Fortunately, “feeling” holy has nothing to do with “being” holy. Well… that’s not exactly true. I can’t imagine having a relationship with God without feelings! The thing is, feeling is not the most important part of the process: factual information is… and the facts that are in God’s word trump my feelings. His word said that he chose us to be holy, so what else can we do except “be” holy. The question is, how do we do that?

I’m tempted to say here that being holy is easier said than done — and leave it at that. But I have to remind myself that there are two kinds of holiness — positional and dispositional — and since these types of holiness are usually discussed under the term sanctification, so shall I.

Today’s verse addresses our positional sanctification; that’s the one we can’t mess up. This is because it comes to pass through a judicial act of God. God declared that we were holy, and when he banged the gavel down, we changed from sinner to saints — just like that! This speaks to our eternal security; we have been changed into new creations categorically (2 Corinthians 5:17).

However, even though our “old creations” are gone categorically, some days it doesn’t feel that way. This is because another type of sanctification is at play — dispositional sanctification. This “on-the-fly” holiness describes how we act. It should also reflect on who we are, but it does so without defining us. God was wise to give us such an important feedback mechanism.

You see, God did not foreordain us just so we could be something. He foreordained us so we could do something. As such, we can’t just sit around and rest on our categories. We have to “do” the works of God (Ephesians 2:10). Those of us who’ve been in Christ for a while understand that that’s the real work.

James understood the “position versus disposition” issue, so he offered his famous challenge: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22, NIV). This is a call to Christian congruency… and congruency is nothing more than aligning positions: our position in Christ should be seen through our disposition in the world.

I am thankful for my “position” in Christ. I am a child of the King! But I am also a servant... and like Christ, I should lay aside that positional advantage (Philippians 2:7). That way I have a better shot at accomplishing the works God has prepared for me beforehand — just like Jesus.

(Mainsail Ministries articles often have a preamble where I discuss the thinking that went into them. These are called Monday Musings — and if you haven’t read the one associated with this article — consider doing so at the following link: 20201130 Position and disposition ).

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