One of the most horrible, most cruel forms of punishment in Paul’s day was a method employed by the Romans to put people to death, was to take a corpse, someone who had already been executed and to strap that corpse onto the body of a live person.
One can imagine what it must have been like as that corpse began to rot, what an abhorrent presence that would have been. Paul paints that very picture when he illustrates the ever-present problem that his sinful nature presented to him.
Paul could not escape his sinful nature no matter how fervently he tried. We can rejoice and we can give all the glory and the praise to God and to our savior Jesus Christ 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.
Our fleshly bodies will never be worthy of heaven in that they will never be able to perform to the measure of the righteousness that is true of God. We are alive because of our position, not at all because of our practice. God no longer views us in our human flesh, he views us in our position in the second Adam (Jesus Christ), he views us in our glorified identity.
In our position in Christ, now we can bear fruit unto God, but it is only in our position in Christ, not through this fleshly body in which we dwell. Only when we come to see ourselves as God sees us and are able to fully appreciate and understand who God has already made us to be and who he’s made us to be in Christ, can we become in our behavior what he wants us to be in that aspect of our lives.
We need to be less interested in trying to become something, or trying to do something, and we need to become a whole lot more interested in learning about who we already are, that is the key. As we understand what God accomplished for us through his son, we build upon that foundation the truths of who he has made us to be when he placed us into his son, we begin to view ourselves as God views us, and there is great security to be found in doing so.
God’s love for those who are joined to his son is the same unalterable and unending love God has for his son. That is how closely connected we are to Christ, no sin, no circumstance, no member of creation, no amount of time, no measure of distance will ever be able to diminish God’s loving attitude towards those who are united to him by way of being in his son.
Our perfectly righteous standing in the eyes of God is not something we accomplish for ourselves through time whether by way of better performance or by way of our most sincere promise. Positional sanctification is not a process, it is a past tense accomplishment that can never be revised, reduced, or retracted.
We cannot lose the perfectly righteous standing we have in God because it came by way of our sanctified position in God’s son. We are justified through our sanctified position in Christ; we have a new identity. It is impossible for a believer to lose his salvation, but a believer can die physically.
If that believer decided every morning before eating cereal, that they are going to coat their cereal not with milk, but with a fifth of whiskey, what is that believer going to do to their body? A believer can die functionally in that they can serve no further useful purpose here on earth, no heavenly purpose on earth to those to whom they become an ambassador.