Sunday, August 31, 2014

Just a Thought "14"

Understanding identity is key! The term “in the flesh” has to do with position, not practice. According to the apostle Paul, “When we were in the flesh”, we that believe were once something, but now we are no longer what we once were.

We were dead in sins, because we had our identity in Adam, Adam in rebellion. We now have a brand new identity, “dead to sin” identity. The goal of most believer’s life has been to become disgusted enough with ourselves to try hard enough, so that we can finally win God’s approval.

One of the most disturbing things is someone unable to express confidence about whether they can know if they will have eternal life or not. From Adam onward, people have been doing what seems right before other people, in regard to having a relationship with God.

Not one member of the entire human race has ever lived up to any system of rule-keeping for righteousness. Yet, how many are attempting today, to do what humankind before us was totally unable to do? Does our no-condemnation status with God depend to any degree whatsoever upon our performance?

We need to cease attributing our righteous standing before God to our performance and keep our mind focused solely on how God views us in Christ, that is what grace-life is all about. Many believers spend their entire existence unsuccessfully trying to be someone other than who they really are, paying lip service to the idea that we are accepted because of God’s grace, the struggle for acceptance on the basis of works is epidemic, but the greatest travesty of all, is the lack of understanding about our new identity in Christ.

It would be disastrous enough if the reason people did not understand who they are was simply for a lack of information, and the truth is that there is an absence of teaching concerning our new identity and what it means to be new creations in Christ. Should we not be grateful today that God no longer recognizes the old man, that he now sees us in our new man identity in Christ!

Yet, our flesh will always want to make provision for the flesh. The members of our flesh are like matches, and when we spend a great deal of time striking matches under the curtains, and then we stand there in amazement when the house is burring down. Paul wants us to make the members of our flesh available as weapons of righteousness.

When we do not understand the doctrinal truths Paul taught pertaining to our sealed position in Christ, we have no ground for success in the practical arena. We are capable of transforming our thinking, it is a new operating system, day by day renewal of the mind as to who we are in Christ.

It is not about perfecting the flesh, it is about crucifying the flesh in our minds. When we put on the armor of God, we are really putting on Christ, and when we put on Christ, we take ourselves out of the realm of the flesh, where we are vulnerable to attack, it is not wise for us to live on the enemies level. 

The most dangerous and harmful detriments to our growth is passivity, putting our mind in neutral and coasting, sitting back and waiting for God to do everything is not God’s way to maturity.

We stand firm in the truth by relating everything we do to the truth of God’s word, and when we learn to live in the truth on a daily basis, we will grow to love the truth because we will have nothing to hide. If the enemy can deceive us into believing a lie, they can control our life in that area. God’s protection is that our role is not passive, God requires us to be active participants in the defense that he has provided for us.

Our old pattern for thinking and responding to our sin-trained flesh must be transformed by the renewing of our mind, it is our responsibility to change our behavior. The issue for life everlasting is not what church you attend or to which denomination you belong or how religious you are.

The issue in eternity will not be how many sins you have committed or how many sins you have promised God you will abstain from committing. It will not be whether you have walked an aisle, recited a particular prayer, or asked Jesus into you heart. The issue in eternity will be to which man are you related?

Do you have your identity in the first Adam, or do you have your identity in the second Adam, Jesus Christ. Wholeness and meaning in life are not the products of what we have or do not have, what we have done or have not done, we are already a whole person and possess a life of infinite meaning and purpose, because of who we are in Christ. Our understanding of the identity that Adam had before the fall, that identity has been restored to us. Those who are in Christ are those who are not walking after the faulty assumption that their righteousness is related to their performance.

God has dealt with that problem of sin, and the issue with sanctification is not about sin, but about perfection. 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.  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Just a Thought "13"

As we read the letters which are addressed to us through the Apostle Paul, and on turning to the Book of Revelation, in chapters two and three, we are at once conscious of a striking change. We find letters suddenly removed from the ground of “Grace” to the ground of “Works”.

The Book of Revelation contains a record of the events which shall happen in the Day of Yahweh, after the Body of Christ shall have been removed from the earth. The whole Book of Revelation is concerned with the Israelite, the Gentile, and the earth, but not with the Body of Christ.

There will be a people for Yahweh on the earth during those eventful years, who are believing in Jesus as the Messiah, who know nothing of as the Savior. Will not these need special instruction?

The Pauline letters will of course be of use as an historical record of what will then be past, just as we have the record of Israel’s history in the Old Testament now. Yahweh indeed has provided for their instruction, and warning, and encouragement in the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation.

As we read these seven letters, the references to the Old Testament in the seven letters correspond with the historical order of the events, so it is with respect to the promises contained in these letters.

While the historical events connected with the rebukes are carried down from Exodus to the period of the Minor Prophets, the promises cover a different period, commencing with the period of Eden, and ending with the period of Solomon.

The subjects of the rebukes follow the order of the departure of the People from Yahweh. Their decline and apostasy is traced out in the historical references contained in these letters. But when we turn to the promises, then all is different.

They proceed in the opposite direction. The order, instead of descending from Israel’s highest ground of privilege (Exodus) to the lowest stage of destitution (Minor Prophets), the order ascends from tending a garden to sharing his throne.

The seven promises are all intensely individual, there is no corporate existence recognized as such. Each one of the seven promises commences with the same words, “to him that overcomes”. Such phraseology is foreign to the Pauline letters.

As to the “seven lamp-stands”, ought not this expression at once to send our thoughts back to the one golden lamp-stand of the Tabernacle, one lamp-stand with seven lamps, indicative of Israel’s unity in the Land and in the City.

Here, the scattered condition of the nation is just as distinctly indicated by the fact that the seven lamps are no longer united in one lamp-stand. The nation is no longer in the Land, for Jerusalem is not now the center, but the people are scattered in separate communities in various cities in Gentile lands.

So that just as the one lamp-stand represents Israel in its unity, the seven lamp-stands represent Israel in its dispersion, and tells us that Yahweh is about to make Jerusalem again the center of his dealings with the earth.

We find nothing in our Pauline letters that fits into what is said to these seven assemblies. But those readers will be at once be reminded of the various stages of their own past history, and they will find in almost every sentence some allusion to the circumstances in which they will find themselves as described in these seven letters in the Book of Revelation.

They are written to the People supposed to be well-versed in the history of the Old Testament, and well-acquainted with all that had happened to their fathers and had been written for their admonition.

Instructed in the past history of their nation they will readily understand the relation between the testings and judgments in the past with which they are familiar, and those similar circumstances in which they will find themselves in a yet future day.

If these “churches” are future assemblies of Israelite believers on the earth, after the Body of Christ has been caught up to meet Jesus in the air, then all is clear, consistent, and easy to be understood, lets leave the full and final interpretation for those to whom it will specially belong hereafter.

The real difficulty is created by attempting to read the Body of Christ into the Book of Revelation, where it has no place.

There are avoidable suffering circumstances and there are unavoidable suffering circumstances that come our way. Avoidable suffering has to do with the choices we make in our lives. When we sow an inappropriate choice, we can count on the fact that sooner or later, we are going to be faced with an unfortunate circumstance.

Most of the problems we face continue to be problems only as long as we refuse to prefer others over self, and we continue to insist upon our right to be positioned on the top shelf. Many problems come our way simply because of our insistence upon having our way, whether it be on the job, in the home, whether it be with a spouse, with family members, or with friends.

In such cases each of us hold the power to the resolution of our problem. How many problems would disappear if we could all conduct ourselves in a more Christ-like manner when it comes to the sacrifice of self in preferring others over self?

Many believers are living unfulfilled lives because they continue to hold a grudge against another individual, and that grudge has been affecting that relationship, whether that grudge be for a day or for years upon years.

Understanding our completeness in Jesus Christ should motivate us to make wise choices. God has given us the freedom to make our own choices, he wants us to apply scripture where scripture can be applied, and where no scriptural principle can be applied, to make the choices that we desire and then take responsibility for choices we made.

If we cannot find doctrine in Paul’s epistles directly related to our situation and there are no scriptural principles we can find to apply, then God has given us the freedom to personal preference. Paul also warned as this age of grace whines to a close, that those who allow emotion to trump doctrine, that this would be the character of the religiously minded. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Just a Thought "12"

Many in fundamental Christianity set themselves apart because in their minds eye, they believe they are more holy by doing so in the eyes of God. Many of them think they are more holy in the eyes of God, because they have achieved that set-apartness, and you other suckers out there, it is too bad that you are not on their level, because they are using their own measuring stick to see how holy you are. People setting themselves apart, is called self-sanctification!

God is the Sanctifier, NOT the person. The flesh is never capable of performance to the standard of the perfection belonging to God himself, no matter how set apart we try to become. Sanctification is an already accomplished fact for each and every believer of Paul’s good news. God sets every believer apart, not some more so than others, but everyone who has believed what his son accomplished is set apart, it is a judicial transaction that takes place in God’s mind the moment we believe.

Not being conformed to this world has to do with both believers and non-believers deciding to set themselves apart and setting the parameters for doing so. People can set themselves apart to live any kind of lifestyle they so choose as long as they choose to do it. Those who refuse to believe in the accomplishments of Christ are fully capable of setting themselves apart when it comes to the lifestyle they desire for themselves. The flesh is capable of behavioral change. Paul does indeed exhort those who believe his good news not to be conformed to this world, but that is not the type of sanctification in any degree or any manner that Paul has in mind, our righteous standing before God has already been accomplished through our being set-apart.

There are two Greek words that are rendered “end” in the New Testament, but the use of these two words must be carefully distinguished. The Greek word “sunteleia” denotes a finishing or ending together, or in conjunction with other things; it implies that several things meet together, and reach their end during the same period, whereas the Greek word “telos” is the point of time at the end of that period. The sign of the telos is the setting up of “the abomination of desolation” spoken of by Daniel the prophet.

What ought we to look for as the first thing which has the end of the “many days” and “the time of the end”? The price has been paid in the shedding of the precious blood of the promised Deliverer; and now, the necessary power is to be exercised so as to secure all its results, in wresting the inheritance from the hand of the enemy by ejecting the present usurper, and forcibly taking possession. We see this power put forth in the Seals, Trumpets, and Bowls, which fill up the active judgments of Yahweh in accomplishing this, and which end with the coming of the promised Deliverer himself.

As the 7-Sealed Book begins to be opened, six seals are separated off from the seventh; as though to point out to us that the seventh is not immediately consecutive on the sixth, as the other seals are consecutive one on the other, the sixth seal evidently carries us forward to the time of the end. The Day of Yahweh will be a prolonged period; it must not be confined to “seven years”, as is so often done. These events may occur a period of thirty-three years; and if to these we add the seven years of the last week of Daniel, we have a period of forty years.

Matt. Chapter 24, “What shall be the sign of your coming, and of the sunteleia of the age?” Jesus describes four of those seals, and adds, “All these are a beginning of sorrows.” This fixes these first four seals as the “beginning” of the sunteleia of the Day of Yahweh. This “beginning” may be spread over some years before the Great Tribulation, proper, comes on. Not one of these seals has yet been opened, nor can any period of history be pointed out in which these first four seals have been in operation simultaneously. 

If this 7-Sealed Book has to do with the whole subject of prophecy, with its causes, and not merely with its consequences and its end, then it may well take us back to the beginning when man was driven out from Paradise, when Adam forfeited his inheritance; and the promise of a coming Deliverer and Redeemer was given. Who has the right to redeem the forfeited inheritance, the lost Paradise? Satan is in possession of this world now, and as such, Satan was able in a peculiar way to tempt him who had come to redeem it, in the only lawful way in which it could be redeemed.

We take it therefore that the opening of the seals of this 7-Sealed Book is the enlargement and development of the Book of Daniel, describing, from Yahweh’s side, the judgments necessary to secure the fulfillment of all that he has foretold. However, there is something more in the 7-Sealed Book then the mere continuation of Daniel’s prophecies, but there must be that which calls for all these judgments and requires the putting forth of all this power. Who is worthy, who will act the Goel’s (or Redeemer’s) part for man and for Israel, and recover his lost estate. This 7-Sealed Book was given to the one worthy to open the seals, in connection with such a transaction for a much weightier Redemption of Creation, both by unanswerable right and unequalled might. For the Goel was an avenger as well as a redeemer.

The themes which form the whole Books subject: The removal of the curse from creation, the redemption of the purchased inheritance, the ejection of the great usurper; and all accomplished through the payment of the redemptions’s price by the merits of the promised coming Deliverer, and the putting forth of redemption power. But the payment of the price is only one part of the work of redemption. If the price be paid and there be no power to take possession and eject the holder, the payment is in vain. And if power be put forth and exercised in casting out the usurper, without the previous payment of the redemption price, it would not be a righteous action. So that for the redemption of the forfeited inheritance, two things are absolutely necessary, price and power. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Just a Thought "11"

God in his infinite wisdom pre-decreed that every believer would be joined to his son, fully identified with his son. He also pre-decided that we the believer would be blessed with all the blessings and privileges of an adopted son. God decided in advance that we the believer are to be to the praise of the glory of his grace. God has predetermined, his mind is made up, he has pre-decided something where we are concerned once we believe the good news of Paul, and his mind is not going to be changed on this.

Once we are justified unto eternal life, having first trusted in Jesus Christ, there are certain things that God has pre-determined to happen to us. God wants us to rejoice in these things, he wants us to praise him for all these things and he certainly wants us to thank him for all these things because he has pre-determined these outcomes for us. God did not predetermine to cause some individuals to belief unto eternal life, he predestined to conform everyone who believes to his son. He wants us to rest in these things, God’s mind is set.

God is not giving out his righteousness as a reward to those who are sorry for the past, and who promise to do their best in the future. At the point of our belief in what Christ accomplished where our sins are concerned, we are as closely associated with Christ as anyone could be, we are joined to him. What an ingenious salvation plan, to take someone else that is righteous and join us to that person, therefore what is Christ’s is ours! It is a gift, a declaration of rightness with God, and this comes totally apart from that unrighteous person’s production. We cannot earn salvation, and we can never lose salvation, because salvation is based not upon what we do, or promise to do, but upon what Christ has already done for us! 

Holiness linked to performance is what religion is all about.  Paul was reigning in life from a practical perspective, he refused to allow things which were not expedient or wise to take control of him. Whether we fail to make those correct choices or not, as believers, we reign in life because we have the very righteousness of Christ himself. Never make the mistake when it comes to improper choices that we can continue to make improper choices and face no consequences.

We all too often plant one crop and then before we know it, the crop we have planted is growing up all around us to the extent that what we have planted can begin to get a strangle-hold on us. It happens to the just and it happens to the unjust, if something comes up, it is because we have planted an improper choice. Our relationship with God is not contingent upon the crops we plant and the choices we make.

We cannot top reigning in life, because believers need not ever fear a change in attitude from God toward us. The improper choices we make do not change the direction of God’s mind toward those have have been joined to his son, because he sees those believers in his son. Unwise choices bring along with those unwise choices undesirable consequences. While they will not affect our salvation, they can indeed wreak havoc in our life. 

God would have to do for the human race, what the human race was totally incapable of doing for themselves. Jesus Christ paid the price necessary to satisfy God’s justice. The world was given a Redeemer and the price the Redeemer paid through the shedding of his blood to ransom the human race was a satisfactory payment to take the sins off the table of God’s justice. The fact that Christ became a redeemer of the world, does not mean that the world will accept the gift the Redeemer purchased on their behalf.

Christ’s faithfulness was the only faithfulness sufficient to merit God’s favor. God used our faith in Christ’s faithfulness as the means whereby he would credit Christ’s righteousness to our account. To be justified does not mean to be perfectly righteous in performance. It also does not mean to become perfectly righteous or even more righteous in performance through time. It means having Christ’s perfect righteousness freely credited to the account of the ungodly who believe. Our justification was something accomplished for us by God’s grace.

This gift decree of righteousness comes totally apart from any and all human promise, any or all human performance,  or any or all human production. God will never consider our works as a payment for God’s justifying declaration. Justification is God’s gift! To say your works have anything at all to do with God’s gift declaration of righteousness is to slap the giver in the face. Remember, we were given our righteous standing as a free gift. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Just a Thought "10"

What an astounding truth to ponder and really come to understand; a gift declaration of righteousness to those who could never gain that declaration through performance. We need to look at sanctification from the standpoint of who is doing the setting apart. God has already set every believer apart as holy. To be perfectly righteous is to be perfectly holy. Every believer stands perfectly righteous or perfectly holy, justified according to God’s gift declaration of righteousness.

If you have believed Paul’s gospel, you have the very righteousness of Jesus Christ himself credited to your account. That means that you are perfectly holy in the eyes of God IN Christ. That is an amazing judicial transaction to ponder, it is an accomplished fact. God is not making you progressively less sinful, progressively more holy until that time when he can admit you to Heaven. Your setting apart is not contingent upon the degree to which you set yourself apart. 

We are IN Christ, Christ’s test score is written on our paper. This is an amazing truth to understand and just as Justification itself is an amazing truth to understand, and one that needs to firmly settled in our minds. Sanctification is another one that needs to be firmly settled in our minds and then we will not be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine that comes our way or by way of some debilitation or painful circumstance that comes our way. Truth will be the governor of the Intellect and the Intellect will be the governor of the Will and the Will will be the governor of the emotions. 

There are to many preachers holding over the heads of their congregations a little law mixed with the possibility of losing their salvation, this is how they keep people in line! They feed their congregations a little fear of missing heaven! Frighten them a bit with the possibility of hell fire and brimstone and they will keep on doing the do’s and avoiding the don’ts, that will keep them straight! They will live properly in order to merit heaven and miss hell!

Paul called the carnal believers at Corinth saints because even though they were carnal, they had believed Paul’s good news. Saint is God’s word for a believer, he sets us apart. Jesus Christ’s death was sufficient to satisfy God’s righteous demand for justice. When God looks at the believing sinner, God sees his very own son and what does Paul address every believer, even the carnal saints at Corinth? He calls them Saints! God’s attitude towards a believer does not fluctuate in response to action, it is not condition on our behavior.

Three idol obstacles stand in the way of our growth and maturity of Paul’s good news. These obstacles hound each and every one of us each and every day of our lives. None of us can say that the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life have not hammered our walk  wherewith we are called. Sin is alive and well in an ever present force that must be understood and reckoned with on a daily bases. We can never escape sin, but we can indeed deny it’s outward expression. If you have come to a point of sobering, you have come to a point of total agreement with the apostle Paul, as he examined his own life from a fleshy prospective.

God could only grant a gift decree of the very righteousness of Jesus Christ, to those God would be joining to his son, this is why our faith in Christ’s faithfulness is essential. There are people in the church, the overall visible church today, that are lost, those who falsely believe they are saved. The most common view in the religious world today is that God actively chooses who he wants to save and who he does not want to save, and they think it is absolutely impossible to have faith, to believe, unless God steps in and gives it to them.

Preachers teach the idea that a person has to be saved in order to be saved. That God has to do a work in the person before belief by the person is even a possibility. They teach God would have to give them saving faith in order for them to believe, and God gives faith only to those he’s so chosen to be believers. 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. God has given everyone the opportunity to be saved, but only he knows for sure who will accept that opportunity.

Flesh wants to say if I broke it I can fix it. God is not asking us to turn from anything to be saved. God is asking us to believe Christ accomplished salvation for us and we are simply to believe it. Christ did it all, there is nothing left for us to do. God did all the giving, we do only all the receiving. You who say you believe in Jesus Christ, is there any sin that can be put to your account now? If you really believe that, then you do not believe that Christ paid for all of them. We can take God at his word, why can’t we stand with God on what he accomplished through Christ, that is FAITH. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Just a Thought "9"

God alone decided to make peace with the human race, while the human race is an active enemy to God. Certainly the bible shows that God does not like the actions of the human race, but God reconciled himself to his enemies while they are still in hostility. These are important words; God’s reconciliation to the human race took place when the human race was actively his enemy, not after the human race repented.

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. All of the human race are in need of a justification that will come totally apart from anything that they do. Paul wants the human race to know at one point in time something was true, but now something else is true.

No longer does the human race have to strive to attain and maintain God’s acceptance on the basis of who they are and what they can do. No longer are their sins held against them, no longer does the death penalty of sin hang over them. It is simply been given to the human race to either accept or reject what God’s son has already accomplished in this age of grace. Reconciliation simply means a change in status and it is a major issue recognizing reconciliation. Reconciliation from God’s advantage point is a done deal, and God is reconciled where the totality of the sin debt of all the human race is concerned.

The issue of sin was settled, it is a son issue today, not a sin issue. Will the human race accept what Jesus Christ accomplished or will they reject it, the son is the issue with God today. God’s attitude of love forces no one to take him at his word. God gives all the choice to accept what Christ accomplished on their behalf today, or to reject it. God purchased the human race out of sins dominion never to be returned to the market place of sin again. By removing the sin issue from the table of God’s justice, God effectively canceled Satan’s ownership of all the human race.

The transaction called Justification has to do with God recognizing those who take him at his word, concerning the price Christ paid on their behalf to resolve God’s justice for their sins. Justification is a recognition of righteousness that comes from God to those who believe his good news, which he committed to the apostle Paul to bring to the Gentiles, the message that must be believed for God to declare a person, or recognize them as being righteous, perfectly righteous.

God is not dealing with a nation today, and he is not recognizing any nation above any other nation. God is dealing with individuals today, to believe this good news is to be reconciled in your mind, not God’s. God in his infinite wisdom devised a plan whereby he could take the very faith belonging to his son along with its resultant faithfulness and credit that faith and faithfulness to the account of those who believe. Jesus 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.

Those who believe in a belief system known as Universal Reconciliation are not understanding the difference in reconciliation and 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. The instant you take God at his word, that his son resolved God’s justice where all your sins are concerned (past, present, and future), God’s power from on high joins you to his son who died for your sins and thereby you become an instantaneous member of the household of God. Belief is necessary for righteousification and that belief is how you are heaven-worthy.

To be dead in sin, is to be identified with the first Adam, Adam in rebellion. To be dead to sin, is to have that new identification Paul is telling us that belongs to all whom God has sanctified, or set apart through union with the second Adam, Jesus Christ. From God’s perspective, all believers have Christ’s righteousness freely attributed to their account, what belongs to Christ belongs to you. God no longer views you from the standpoint of your sins, he views you now from the standpoint of his son, who you are in.

Why continue to consider your relationship with God to be based solely on your former identity. Why not consider your relationship with God to be based solely on your new identity. Why not come to the understanding that God now relates to you the only way he can relate to you and that is according to your new identity in his son. God cannot relate to you, he will not relate to you according to your former identity in Adam, that Identity disappeared the instant you took God at his word concerning Paul’s good news.

What security we have in our union with Jesus Christ. This is not something you did for yourself. This is not something you are gradually accomplishing yourself through better performance. This is something God did for you at the point that you believed Paul’s good news. God gave you a brand new identity. God can no longer view you according to your former identity. God views you the only way he can view you since you believed the gospel of your salvation, and that is according to your brand new identity. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Just a Thought "8"

Where do people go to see how far they have removed themselves through their behavior from God’s favor? More often then not, they go right back to the Law of Moses taught in the halls of religianity by ministers of righteousness. That can only lead in one direction, instability. The religiously minded begin to believe they are indeed measuring up as righteousness becomes relative to those people. On the other end of the spectrum, there are people walking away from a God they perceive as being unfair in having created them to fail in the first place.

Some take it to the extent of a total denunciation of God altogether. If God does exist, how can he demand perfection? If God does exist, the fact of his fairness or unfairness does not really matter, does it? You see, no matter where on the performance spectrum one happens to sit, whether it be the perceived safe-haven of religion or avowed atheism on the other end, a misunderstanding of the need for and the manner of justification (Our righteousification) and sanctification (How we are set apart in Christ), resides at the core of that unstable thinking.

Most people think in those terms because most people fail to properly understand justification, the cornerstone that comes prior to sanctification. If we misunderstand justification, we are going to have a difficult time understanding sanctification. Since people link a justified standing before God with performance of their own, they also link a sanctified standing before God with their own performance. And as a result, they believe the degree to which they stand sanctified in God’s eyes depends entirely upon the degree to which they remain holy in behavior. If they do not see themselves as being holy in conduct, they do not believe that God sees them as being holy, either.

We need to understand that forgiveness was all upfront and all-inclusive, but when we accept this idea of conditional forgiveness/forgiveness on the installment plan; a little forgiveness here, a little forgiveness there, the need for new forgiveness for new sin, that is the atonement program of Israel, not the reconciliation program of the body of Christ. We are saved unto good works, we are saved for the purpose of good works, but we are not saved by our good works, or kept saved by our good works, or not upon any promise you might make along those lines, but upon Christ’s righteousness and your faith in Christ’s faithful sacrifice on your behalf.

God has set you apart and he calls you righteous based not upon what you do or what you abstain from doing, God decided to give a judicial decree of rightness apart from our behavior, apart from our practice based solely on our belief. The judicial decree of rightness God grants to those who believe is called justification, God alters your identity by removing you judicially in God’s mind from an identification with the first Adam and now you are judicially identified with the second Adam (Jesus Christ). That joining itself is where sanctification comes into play; God gifts every believer with a judicial decree of perfection, perfect righteousness.

Most have the idea that sanctification means to become progressively less sinful, therefore, progressively more holy down through the course of time through the avenue of either their promise or performance, their conduct or commitment. Relative righteousness comes into play as we try to sanctify ourselves according to what we perceive in our judicial minds, relative righteousness based, as to be righteous. Therefore, we stop doing some things, and we start doing some other things and we begin to believe that we are a prize package especially if we can relate and be connected to a large group doing the same thing. That is self-sanctification.

As the believer stands before God in his courtroom, the evidence is overwhelmingly against them. Yet, as God drops the gavel, he pronounces no penalty. Justification is not a process, but is a one-time act, complete and definitive. What a marvelous plan God had for anyone who believes! God has kept the fingerprints of the guilt-worthy off the righteousness he designed for the guilt-worthy. If one has yet to believe this powerful message, they are standing only in the righteousness their flesh has been able to produce for them, which means they have missed the mark of the righteousness God requires for heaven.

What an amazing salvation the believer truly has, the issue remaining on the table of God’s justice today is whether a person will accept that gift. Justification has to do with a judicial decree of the very righteousness of God himself freely attributed to a believers account. To believe and receive are one in the same thing when it comes to this gift of salvation. The moment a person believes, they are saints and considered holy, because God himself places them in a position of sainthood. Sainthood is not something they have to attain, it is not something they have to wait for or wait to become.

Justification is the judicial act of God whereby he declares the believer righteous. How can God call the believer holy, when they know in a practical sense, they are unholy nearly every day of their lives. They will never measure up to the perfect righteousness of God, but all who will accept reconciliation on the bases of what Christ’s death and resurrection accomplished, are forever reconciled to God. God has a purpose for those who believe this powerful message, by placing the believer into his son. Once they have trusted what Christ accomplished where their sins are concerned; they are then placed at that point in time into his son, because Christ’s payment has completely satisfied God’s justice where all their sins are concerned. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Just a Thought "7"

How long ago did Jesus Christ die for our sins? So when he died for our sins, how many of those sins were future? He took those sins off of us before we were ever born; all of them! If God’s justice was not satisfied where one of those sins were concerned, where would Christ be today? In the ground! But as proof-positive that God was totally satisfied with what Christ did on our behalf, God raised Christ from among the dead. Now that means that our sins have been taken care of!

Christ’s test score is put on our paper and God can call us a saint. God can look at us, a believing sinner, and he can see us as righteous as he is himself, because what belongs to his son, belongs to us; we are joined to his son. A marriage made in heaven in a literal sense. Ministers of righteousness will ever more keep that issue of sins on the table of God’s justice. They will continually want us to do this and stop doing that, in order to keep God happy with us when the reality is: He couldn’t be any happier with us than he is; Christ having taken our sin debt upon himself, and we having trusted what happened where our sins are concerned.

We can now serve God out of appreciation rather than apprehension less we forget something and have that sin held agains us. Sin is gone as far as the judicial aspect of sin from God’s vantage point. It is taken care of once and for all! People will suffer the second death not because of the sins God’s son pain for. They will suffer the second death because they have never been clothed with the righteousness of Christ. They have kept sin on the table of God’s justice their entire lifetimes and sat under ministers of righteousness who have led the way.

Paul was teaching grace plus nothing, and that leads people with a sin nature and a pride nature to say, Oh, you have got to do something. People think that their righteous standing with God is directly related to their behavior or conduct; their work for God. We have got to be good for God, is the idea, Because if we are bad, well, this grace thing only goes so far. Unfortunately, that is the idea in a lot of people’s minds; today it is presented along these lines, grace is a license to sin. Paul was reasoning, do not think that way, stop thinking in that manner, may grace never be the cause, although grace is true, may grace never be the cause for a person to think they should now go out and sin all the more.

Some have come to the erroneous notion that God will forbid a person who thinks like that to belief the good news in the first place. Others have committed just as great an error by supposing that God removes salvation from a person who continues to sin after salvation. Both are faulty conclusions based upon a foundation of works for a righteous standing before God belief-system based again, upon a self-sanctification for righteousness concept.

We would naturally come to be thinking along those lines if we fail to have an understanding of Justification and Sanctification. If we do not know what Justification and Sanctification are all about, and we think that we are justified on the basis of how we set ourselves apart behaviorally, naturally we want other people to set themselves apart and we want them to have to tow the mark as we have to tow the mark to keep God happy, and that is a faulty conclusion, and that is not what Justification or Sanctification are all about.

In our position in Jesus 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.

Paul could not escape his sinful nature no matter how fervently he tried. 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. 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. 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. That is how closely connected we are to Christ, so 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. Positional sanctification is not a process, it is a past tense accomplishment that can never be revised, reduced, or retracted.