Do you believe it was an all-sufficient reconciliation where the entirety of the world’s sin debt was concerned, or do you believe that you must obtain a new measure of reconciliation every time you sin? Yes, Christ died for everyone’s sins, but only those who believe and trust Paul’s message of the grace of God will have their sins actually paid for.
There are many who refuse to believe in what Christ actually accomplished, they fail to understand what the ‘for my sins’ part of Paul’s message of the grace of God is all about. They refuse to acknowledge that Christ’s death actually resolved God’s justice where the sins Christ died for are concerned and they continue to hang on the notion that God is hanging on to their sins.
This renders Christ’s payment for sin a partial payment, or a down payment, or a future payment at best, rather than a completed and satisfactory payment. God never collects a debt twice, Christ paid for your sins, this should motivate us all the more to love him and to serve him by serving others.
Our labor of love is all about transformation, it is not about reformation, and Paul’s message of the grace of God is able to transform our thinking, such that transformed thinking begins to manifest itself through transformed relation. It becomes more about who we have become, rather than about who we are trying to be.
The more we know about who we were apart from Christ, and who God made us to be in Christ, the more we see our own human sin-nature bent. Thus, the more we can see why people who have not believed Paul’s message of the grace of God are functioning in the manner they are.
Dying to self, is never portrayed as something optional, it is the reality of being born anew, 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.
We must come to the place of utter weakness, be stripped of all confidence in ourselves, unless we are willing to see our old lives crucified with Christ, and begin to live anew in obedience to him and then we will find our true self in Jesus. Not some depressing ‘down-on-self’ condition, but a return to God’s original pattern for man: free of obsession with self, and focused upon God.
It is not normal to have high self-esteem or low self-esteem; both are a focus on self, but to leave self alone and to be absorbed with Jesus Christ, weak in ourselves, but fully reliant upon Christ in every way. 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 experience, we might become conformed in his resurrection. This does not mean that when we die to self we become inactive or insensible, nor do we feel ourselves to be dead. Rather, dying to self means that the things of the old life are put to death, most especially the sinful ways and lifestyles we once engaged in.
The entire concept seems a bit strange to our natural eyes. Dying to self is something you can take very literal; you will die in every way possible in order to be someone you are not. Dying to self is not fun or easy, but what is particularly difficult about fighting this tendency is that it is not exactly a behavior or action.
It can certainly manifest itself in those forms, but underneath them is an attitude, a real change of mind and attitude towards sin itself and the cause of it, a change in our principle action from what is by nature the exact opposite. The answer to that sin has nothing to do with our desire to do it.
The fact is that it is grievous to God, and we do not answer that by saying that we are going to stop doing it, or we are no longer going to desire to do it, it is not our ability to stop it. The answer to the fact that we all have this sin nature lies solely in the fact that Christ paid for it, but Christ did not clean-up the sin nature.
His effort was not to take the old man and fix him up, dress him up, and make a Christian out of the old man. Christ crucified the old man, and we are called upon simply to believe what Paul tells us Christ did where that shortcoming in us is concerned. Being saved is not something that God has to do, something that God has to make a decision about doing.
Being saved is about man accepting the gift that has already been purchased, and there is no saving work to be done by Jesus, because it has all been done, it has been accomplished.