The idea of not walking after the flesh is a concept that speaks not to a person’s behavior, but to a person’s belief, not to our manners, but to our mindset. When we believe what Christ accomplished for us where our sins are concerned, we are as just as we will ever be in the eyes of God at that point.
Sin has no more effect on us; it cannot change our relationship with God, because we are in Christ. Those who are “IN” Jesus Christ are those who are NOT walking after the faulty assumption that their righteousness is related to their performance. Those who are “IN” Jesus Christ are those who place no confidence in their flesh, but understand that “in their flesh dwells no good thing”.
Christ had to crucify our identity with the flesh, the old man. Paul wants us to agree with God to reckon our identity with our flesh as dead and gone, but the sin nature has not died. Do we need to change our minds about the seriousness of sin and God’s answer to that serious dilemma we find ourselves in? Yes, we do.
God has been longsuffering in holding back his wrath because he hopes that we will consider his goodness through his son, his goodness on our behalf and flee to his grace. God wants us to change our mind about who we are from fleshly perspective apart from Christ. God is not patiently waiting for us to change our mind about what we do; many have done that, thinking it gains salvation.
God has not held back his wrath because he is happy with who we think we are, or because he is satisfied with who we are trying to become. Our justified standing with God is something that cannot be handed back to God as some teach today, because it depends not on the believer’s promise or performance, but solely upon Christ’s faithfulness and his faithfulness alone.
It is not determined by our doing something or not doing something, or deciding in our minds that we want to give it back to God. We cannot give it back because it is dependent upon Christ’s faithfulness and we are sealed at the point we take God at his word concerning what his son accomplished.
God’s integrity is at stake in doing what he promised he would do, we can have security of mind that we have Christ’s test score written on our paper in Heaven.
Sanctification can also be a source of great comfort and assurance because sanctification like justification is proof positive that once a person takes God at his word concerning the accomplishment of his son, that person remains in a sanctified position before God forever, performance notwithstanding. We cannot lose by way of our poor performance what we never gained by way of our good performance.
We can never improve or eliminate the sin nature. The sin nature will remain in the earthly tent of every believer with all its capacity to sin until we receive our glorified bodies. God has dealt with that problem of sin, and the issue with sanctification is not about sin, but about perfection.
Paul told us in this sanctification cornerstone how God perfected us, made us as equally righteous as God himself. God has set every believer apart by placing them into his son. Based upon the fact that we are already sanctified, already “IN” Jesus Christ, there is now no condemnation for us.
We can rejoice and we can give all the glory and the praise to God for the fact that even though that sinful nature is strapped onto our fleshly backs like a rotting corpse, God does not see us in our flesh from his judicial perspective.
God does not relate to us on the basis of our performance in the flesh, but on the basis of our new identification “IN” his son, he views us in our glorified identity, he sees us as being joined to his son. “Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away, behold all things are become new.” It is new identity!