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.