Sunday, July 20, 2014

Just a Thought "3"

Paul wants us to know at one point in time something was true, but now something else is true. The entire human race is guilty when it comes to human merit, performance, and production and all fall short, continually coming short of the righteousness of God himself. Paul has made it abundantly clear that God does not measure our goodness in relation to the goodness of others; he compares our goodness with his own perfect righteousness. That would be the criteria for dwelling with God and when our human righteousness is held up alongside the perfect righteousness of God, every member of the human race comes out on the short end of the stick.

The issue is believing what Jesus Christ accomplished in your behalf, in order to be identified with and joined to Christ himself. Christ believed that God’s justice has been satisfied where the sins he came to sacrifice himself for are concerned, Christ’s faith was and remains in God, and indeed we can believe God’s justice has been satisfied. Christ does not have a wishy-washy faith, it is Christ’s faith who has never, nor will ever waver in faith. It is Christ’s faith that is freely credited to the account of the one who believes the good news given to the apostle Paul to proclaim to us in this age of grace.

The instance you take your stand with God, you are not only saved, but sealed until the day of redemption of these earthly tents in which we dwell. Our faith in the good news of Christ enables God to impute us with the faith of his son. Once we believe and are sealed, it is not about us; our faith, but Christ’s faith. Until you believe Paul’s good news of the grace of God to be true for yourself, you will not be placed into Jesus Christ by the baptizing of God’s power from on high or what is called holy spirit, and not being baptized into Christ means that you are standing in your own righteousness rather than Christ’s righteousness. 

Being created in the image of God means that we must view ourselves as intrinsically valuable and richly invested with meaning, potentially and responsibilities. We are to be and to do on a finite scale, what God is and does on an infinite scale. By virtue of being created in the image of God, human beings are capable of reflecting his character in their own life; animals possess none of these qualities.

What distinguishes people from animals is the fact that human nature inherently has godlike possibilities. Omniscience, omnipotence, or omnipresence, none of these other divine attributes have been ascribed to the human race as part of the image of God. We have been created to reflect God in our thinking and actions, but the physical sustained by God and dependent upon him for our existence in this world and in the world to come.

Developing a godly character in this present life, this will be our personal identity in the world to come. It is the character or personality that we have developed in this life, that God preserves in his memory. We must understand that God has predetermined to glorify us. In fact, God has predestined us to that glorification. God did not predestinate us to believe, he predestinated us to be conformed to the image of his son, because he knew who would believe. 

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 deserve or merit that righteous standing. What God was doing through his son; God knew about what he intended to do before the world was ever formed, yet, God had kept this secret from ages and generations until it was time for the ascended Jesus Christ to reveal it to the apostle Paul, so that Paul could reveal it to the world. 

There are those who mistakenly suppose that reconciliation is the same thing as righteousification. These people have jumped to the conclusion that Jesus Christ taking the sin issue off the table of God’s justice through his becoming sin for the human race is that which makes a person as righteous as God; they have mistaken reconciliation for justification. To have your sin slate judicially emptied because Christ died for those sins, does not mean that you now possess the righteousness recorded on the slate of the one who died for those sins. 

Grace is the foundation on which Paul’s entire ministry was built, and grace covers all the bases for the believer’s life and it certainly includes God’s love. There is a glory that belongs to God’s grace, and it is to be praised on the bases on what God’s grace has accomplished. We are to praise God for what his grace has accomplished. A lot of groups believe that God’s grace as it relates to salvation is something that has to be tapped into. 

Many Christians will be sorely disappointed to discover that their beliefs in the afterlife are a delusion. When this happens, it will cause personal crisis to Christians accustom to believing that at death their souls break loose from their bodies and continue to exist either in Heaven or in the torment of Hell. The notion of the eternal torment of the wicked can only be defended by accepting the Greek view of the immortality and indestructibility of the soul, a concept which is foreign to Scripture. Everlasting torture is intolerable from a moral point of view, because it pictures God acting like a bloodthirsty monster who maintains an everlasting Auschwitz for his enemies, whom he does not even allow to die. 
Death, as we know it, would indeed be the end of our existence were it not for the fact of the resurrection. It is  the resurrection that turns death into a temporary sleep. The second death differs from the first death, not in nature but in results. The first death is a temporary sleep because it is followed by the resurrection. The second death is permeant and irreversible extinction because there is no awakening. The second death is the death resulting from the final judgment which prevents evildoers from living in the new earth to come, a punishment that ultimately results in eternal, irreversible death. The wicked will be resurrected mortal in order to receive their punishment which will result in their ultimate annihilation. 

Redemption is the restoration of the whole person, and not the salvation of the soul apart from the body. If at death the soul of the believer goes up immediately to Heaven to be with Jesus, one hardly can have any real sense of expectation for Jesus to come down to raise the dead believers that were in Jesus Christ, and transform the living believers that are in Jesus Christ. 

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