What are people’s rights before God? Can we stand before our Creator and claim grievances or injustice? No. Can we demand a life full of happiness? No. On our own, in our own skin, based on our inherent worth and accomplishments we cannot demand anything from God–neither access before him nor abundance on his earth. Given the fact of our sin, our “right-less-ness” before God is a crushing burden for mankind. Because, especially in our country, we speak of rights before other people as being given of God, we often assume these rights extend to God himself. People may not deprive us, in this country, of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but God has no such limitation. Nothing in us necessitates God treating us in any good way whatsoever.
But God did something extraordinary. He bound himself by His own character to to love his people. And to fulfill this promise he came himself as God the Son, lived an obedient life in their place, received the full punishment of all of their sins, and transferred all of the rights of such a life to their record. Now, the Christian has all the rights of Divine adoption and sufficient atonement transferred to their account. Not because they had them by virtue of their birth, but rather by virtue of receiving them from outside of themselves. We do not have inherent rights before God. But Christians do have rights that are foreign to us, transferred to us–alien “rightness” given to us so that we are treated as though they are natural to us.
God takes the rights of his Son and gives them to us. Now, we can call him Father, assured of his love and protection and blessing, as surely as does his own perfect Son.
So, with Paul we say, whatever gain we had, we count as loss, compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus our Lord. His Rightness with God transferred to us. And those rights can never be alienated from us.
Photo by StevenANichols