Growing up in a Southern Baptist church, both my salvation and justification were simplified by the dictum, “Just-as-if-I-had-never-sinned.” In countless ways this one expression shaped my thinking, rooted me in pride, and turned me into a bi-polar Christian who believed I was close to God when doing the things I believed He expected, and far from Him when I neglected those responsibilities. Any time the results of my work seemed to confirm the value of my efforts, I felt good about my relationship with God. Throughout my adolescence, I strived to gain more acceptance with God.
Over the last decade, because of His great mercy, the Holy Scriptures have continued to correct and purify my thinking. Obedience has become more than moral conformity or promotional pride. I am being radically sanctified because I have been justified. He has not only brought forth new life (2 Cor. 5:17): Christ is my very life. (Col. 3:4)