It was God’s plan before the creation of the world that humankind’s fingerprints would not be found on humankind’s salvation. God’s plan called for that salvation to be gift offered to humankind, he has always used faith or what a person believes as the criteria necessary to effect salvation for humankind in every dispensation. When a person takes God at his word, no matter what age, whatever the word was when it was revealed, God considered that person to have faith and salvation has always come through faith. It’s God’s sovereign right to chose the criteria, and he chose to use the criteria of belief.
Paul was not an earthly kingdom program apostle, God had no need for an additional apostle to fulfill the program of Israel’s promised earthly kingdom. Everything related to Israel’s program comes with the number twelve, God did not add a thirteenth to that program. The 12 apostles had been promised that they would each reign on one of twelve thrones that would be set up over the 12 tribes of Israel, when that earthly kingdom was established on planet earth.
Israel as a nation rejected their king, they rejected their promised messiah and thus, rejected their kingdom. Israel’s promised kingdom was right at their doorstep, right within their grasp, but that promised program was put on hold. The very blood that was to initiate Israel’s New Covenant, we have a fellowship in that, we have a communion with that blood, it’s the blood that redeemed us as well. God wants believers to all think the same way when it comes to what’s happening in this Age of Grace, what God is doing today and how’s he doing it. Every sin we have or ever will commit was put on Jesus Christ, but how many people in the world miss it, because they think God is still looking at them and judging them and evaluating them on the bases of their performance. If a person is asking God to forgive them for their sins, what are they saying they believe about what Christ accomplished where those sins are concerned.
There are pastors who understand God’s grace who are reluctant to preach grace, because grace will lead to a license to sin. Many of these same pastors in an effort to reduce sinning, they revert to preaching law, thinking that’s going to solve the problem. They want to scare the sin out of people, put their salvation on the line, dangle that up in front of them and scare them with a conditional salvation and that will straighten them up. So they stop preaching grace, as if not preaching grace is going stop people from sinning. The problem with law as the answer to man’s dilemma is that law is totally incapable of changing the human heart and that’s where the problem lies.
What we do, or what we do not do, is not a test of anyone’s salvation today. What we believe is the only test for salvation today! Most people think salvation is the end result, salvation is the starting point. The issue of salvation is understanding the reconciliation where our sin is concerned, do we understand that God is reconciled where all sin is concerned for all time. The price was paid for all and through that payment, Jesus Christ redeemed the entire human race from the sin barrier that separated the world from God. The sin issue needs to be resolved in our minds, not in Gods.
God gave to Paul an entirely new revelation, it was the message of reconciliation. The heart beat of Paul’s new message can be summed up this way, Christ took care of the sin wall. Sins are no longer merely covered, they are now completely paid for, completely forgiven, completely taken out of the way. God can now totally accept people even though people are sinful, because all sin has been paid for once and for all. God is not looking at us in the practical since of our sinfulness, but in the position of being in his son, that’s how we can be holy and without blame before him in love.
Satan wants to blind people’s eyes to the truth of Paul’s good news. Satan is offering people a way to become righteous; to achieve a righteous standing before God, and he always attaches people’s performance; people’s fingerprints are found on Satan’s method of becoming righteous. Satan’s way is directly opposite of God’s way, how can a Holy God declare a person to be righteous when in practical experience they are obviously not righteous. Being declared righteous is God’s gift to the believing sinner, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with the sinner himself doing anything to desire or merit that righteous standing.
God justifies those who take him at his word concerning what his son accomplished for them, something for nothing. That is difficult for people imbued with the pride of life to imagine; it is difficult to accept, because it does not seem fair to the human mind, especially to the religiously minded. It does not seem quite right that God could consider someone righteous, especially if that person is not expending the same amount of effort or attention that they are to become righteous by way of their practice. Some have called God’s justification, cheap justification; it it is that easy, if a person can obtain righteousness without doing something, or even trying to do something in order to gain it, that would be too easy, and that would make it cheap.
God’s justification is absolutely free, but it was certainly not cheap, it came at tremendous cost. Apart from God’s grace, the justification Paul’s been telling us about would be totally impossible, but then, apart from the price the son of God paid to make it possible, God’s grace could not offer it. The fact is Christ became the redeemer of the entire world when he satisfied the justice of God for the sins of the entire world. The sin issue was resolved for everyone, but understand, that having a redeemer and accepting the redeemer that we have, and what that redeemer accomplished, are two different things. Some are not willing to believe Paul’s good news, and therefore, not all will be joined to the redeemer, and they will be standing in their own righteousness.