When we believe in Christ, His righteousness is imputed on us. Legally, God sees us as righteous in Christ because of His perfect atonement for our sins. And He will continue His workmanship in us in training us to conform to Christ.
Rom 8:30. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
There are two kinds of response to this training of putting on Christ or dressing up as Christ. One is the sincere response of a true believer while the other is the insincere response which will put justification in Christ in doubt in the first place.
One is the hyper grace way. It is simply a wolf putting on the sheepskin of the Lamb of God and pretending to be a sheep. The wolf does not want to change his wolf ways and yet he enjoys pretending to be a sheep.
The other is the true grace way. One day, the wolf seriously want to be a sheep giving up his wolf ways. (This response to turn from its wicked ways is Repentance.) Yet it is a tough journey for he is still a wolf after all. But he can be a transformed wolf one day becoming truly a sheep in every sense and loving the sheep. The good kind of pretense is that the wolf starts by acting like a sheep living among sheep.
CS Lewis said this about pretense, “There are two kinds of pretending. There is a bad kind, where the pretense is there instead of the real thing; as when a man pretends he is going to help you instead of really helping you. But there is also a good kind, where the pretense leads up to the real thing. When you are not feeling particularly friendly but know you ought to be, the best thing you can do, very often, is to put on a friendly manner and behave as if you were a nicer person than you actually are. And in a few minutes, as we have all noticed, you will be really feeling friendlier than you were…”
But the wolf will realize very soon that he is not alone in this journey of the good pretense.
The Christ Himself, the Son of God who is man just like you and me, will actually be his side to turn his pretense into a reality.
You may suspect it is the conscience of the wolf helping him. If it is conscience, very soon, the wolf will realize he will get back to old comfortable ways he is familiar. And many “wrong” things the wolf does, his conscience will actually tell him it is perfectly okay because he is a wolf after all.
CS Lewis said this about the good pretense turning into reality with Christ at our side, “For you are no longer thinking simply about right and wrong; you are trying to catch the good infection from a Person. It is more like painting a portrait than like obeying a set of rules. And the odd thing is that while in one way, it is harder than keeping rules, in another way it is far easier. He is turning us into the same kind of thing as Himself.”
He is ‘injecting’ His kind of life and thought into us, turning us from real wolves into real sheep at the end of the day.