Consider the relevance of this: We are called to live holy lives, not to merit God’s favor but to be like him, to grow in godliness, to mature in Christlikeness. As such, to live our lives in holiness is not a burden of conformity but a family trait to be embraced and enjoyed. What is even more extraordinary about this is that our holy God calls us saints, even now, even as we wrestle with our sinful flesh, even as we are on this side of eternal life. We are saints of God, because of God’s grace alone through faith in Christ to the glory of God alone.
The cross of Christ is a foreign concept to the world, meaningless except in its finality, or perhaps curious in its novelty. Jesus of Nazareth died upon a cross. But if the one who died was also the Christ, the Anointed One, in fact the Son of God, then the Roman instrument of suffering and shame became the cross of Christ, an atoning altar for sin. Upon the cross, Jesus died a sinner’s death yet committed no sin. The purpose of his death was not his sin but yours: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).