Grace is a much greater motivator, it is the love of God that constrains us, not fear that God is going to strike us dead, or allow us to be a part of the second death if we perform what we should not be performing, or do not measure up through our performance. Are people set apart as holy in God’s sight because of their lack of sin, or are people set apart as holy in God’s sight because he has joined them to his son?
God is not giving out his righteousness as a reward to those who are sorry for the past, and who promise to do their best in the future. At the point of our belief in what Christ accomplished where our sins are concerned, we are as closely associated with Christ as anyone could be, we are joined to him. What an ingenious salvation plan, to take someone else that is righteous and join us to that person, therefore what is Christ’s is ours!
We need to cease attributing our righteous standing before God to our performance and keep our mind focused solely on how God views us in Christ, that is what grace-life is all about, and we will be victorious in that God’s power can now produce it’s fruit in our life. When God raised Jesus from among the dead, it was God’s stamp of “pain in full” on the invoice of our sin debt. We could not get right with God in a million life times of trial and error, we could never make ourselves right with God; God had to do what we could not do. Now believing sinners can be certain that in Christ, they are justified.
God wants us to stop putting our faith in ourselves, he wants us to actually come to the place where we literally have no confidence in the flesh, but have full reliance in Christ alone. To bring our body in subjection, as Paul put it, but would he ever be able to do that sufficiently to merit righteousness before God? Absolutely not! That is not the issue, but Paul could do it in appreciation to whatever degree he was capable.
A person must understand what it is they are asked to believe, in order to be joined to the body of Jesus Christ. It is unfathomable what God accomplished through his son; Jesus Christ took sinful people’s place, taking the penalty of their sins upon himself, so that those believing this truth can be joined to his body. Paul had been given special divine authority with the understanding that he is our apostle, and that authority carried with it the details of what God expects people to believe today concerning the salvation Jesus Christ purchased for them with his sacrifice.
Unless people believe Jesus Christ accomplished something where their sins are concerned when he died for those sins, Paul’s good news is hidden to them. Satan’s ministers of righteousness are busy at work within the righteous structure called “religion” in order to keep the meaning of Paul’s good news hidden, to keep people’s eyes blinded to the truth of what Christ really accomplished. Understanding our completeness in Jesus Christ should motivate us to make wise choices. All of us who have been sealed into the body of Christ wants God to be pleased with the decisions that we make, but God has given us the freedom to make our own choices.
Healthy behaviors result from an identity that is healthy and fully based upon Jesus Christ’s performance on our behalf, as a result, we can begin learning to find rest; who we are has been settled in Christ. It is Christ’s faith that righteousifies those who take their stand with God when it comes to what God has stated his son accomplished for them. It was Christ’s faith and as a result of his faith, his faithfulness that he sacrificed himself and purchased the gift of our salvation.
It is our faith in the accomplishment of Jesus Christ’s faithful sacrifice that is the means whereby God acknowledges that we have accepted the gift his son purchased. Therefore, God in his infinite wisdom devised a plan whereby he could take the very faith belonging to his son, along with its resultant faithfulness, and credit that faith and faithfulness to the account of those who believe. Yet, finding rest sounds rather foreign to us, an idea too unrealistic or too good to be true, because somewhere in our life we have been involved in the relationships of our environments that were based on conditions.
Many people involved in religion’s domain are dealing with God on the basis of probation, rather than salvation. Then God must make a decision in their minds, whether or not to save that individual. Their suitability for heaven depends upon their turning away from all of their sins. If they will simply dedicate themselves to no longer to sin, that is the idea. Standards may have become so deeply ingrained, that we are not even aware of them, let alone conscious of how to get free from their tyranny, constantly trying to measure up to standards that are higher than we can reach.
This is why God allows all kinds of things into our lives, which he uses to strip us of our personal sense of worth. God is making us conformable to the death of Christ, so that in living this experience, we might become conformed in his resurrection. This process is not enjoyable, because it is hard to learn that life cannot be controlled, it is far too spontaneous and rambunctious to be fully understood.