Monday, September 8, 2014

Just a Thought "16"

You know how giving earnest money works when it comes to making a purchase today. When a person gives earnest money in connection with a purchase, that person is guaranteeing, through that which is given in advance their intention of following through on that which they have promised.

Well, according to the apostle Paul, the indwelling of God’s power from on high is both God’s seal and his deposited pledge that all believers are forever his and are destined to inherit eternal life. The security all believers have in that the indwelling of God’s power from on high guarantees that those who have believed Paul’s good news can never be lost, they belong to God.

The word “sealed” means sealed for preservation. The seal is the safeguarding device, the securing device, used to preserve the contents. God’s power from on high is the seal that God uses to secure all who believe in this dispensation of grace.

The word “earnest” means a pledge in the sense that an advance deposit has been made as the security guaranteeing the fulfillment of that which has been promised to those who have been sealed. We were not sealed on the basis of our behavior, but upon the basis of (and at the point of) our belief, that is a seal we can fully depend upon.

Understand that repentance in the earthly kingdom program was not about turning away from their sins and not sinning anymore. Repentance was about changing one’s mind when it came to earning a righteous standing with God through their performance.

God wanted them to change their minds about how faithful they had been and how faithful they could hope to be, when it came to meriting his acceptance through adherence to the law contract. We can see how how mixing the two programs along with improperly interpreting the Scripture for that program, can lead to misguided thinking when it comes to the issue of eternal security.

The fact that mankind is unable to do anything to alter their sinful condition, human reasoning would say, “Give us something that we can do. Give us some way to perform. Give us a few balls of our own to hit, so that we might earn back what we lost through Adam.”

God’s reasoning said, “Impossible!” The Law that God gave to Israel was a measure of what mankind would have to perform to be accepted by God. God did not give Israel a law they could keep. God gave Israel a law impossible for those with a sin-nature to obey perfectly, in order to teach them their need of a Savior.

Most people think that victory over the law’s demands can only be achieved by obedience to the law’s demands. If they do not want to undergo the penalty of death as the law demands, they had better obey the law. They are out there trying and sometimes with much sincerity to obey in order to gain the victory.

Well, that is not how it is done according to the apostle Paul anymore, it is about what has already been done for them, and why continue to wallow in the mud from which they have been rescued. Paul takes us away from chastisement and judgment and he leads us toward the reality of our position.

You see, the victory belongs to us right now. It’s always belonged to us. It’s something we have always had. It is not something we have to strive for, something we gain through our performance through time. Paul wants us to know that our position in Christ means that we are already victorious!

Nothing in the law can stake its claim on us, the believer ever again. Being joined to the perfectly righteous Savior means that the law can never again point to our lack of righteousness. Victory over the law, victory over sin and victory over death are ours to enjoy right this very moment.

We cannot become more victorious than that through anything we do, we cannot add to that. There is no greater victory over sin that can be gained by mankind than the victory already achieved by Jesus Christ. 

For those who have a knowledge of sin, death is particularly painful. What is it that gives sin its power to generate this heightened fear in those who understand their lack of righteousness before God? The Law!

In fact, the law is the exact measure of the righteousness required by God through performance in order to gain righteousness through performance. It is the law that proves people’s unrighteous condition. When the law is held up against the best that any person can do, the law proves all people are lacking the righteousness necessary to dwell with God.

Paul moves those who are believers away from condition and takes us to position. It is the law that gives death the power to bring heightened pain to those who understand their sinful condition. God designed the law to make sin show its hand, to make sin abound, so that people could look at that picture of the law and look at themselves and could see that their sin was exceedingly sinful.

The truth is, the law brought forth sin, it incites the pride-nature to rebellion. Performance of the flesh must be removed from the picture when it comes to the righteousness necessary for a relationship with God. It is a person’s knowledge of their sinful condition, that makes death such a fearful event for the non-believer.

A person must trust that their sin issue was resolved in its entirely in order for God’s power from on high to baptize (identify) that person into Christ with the righteousness that belongs only to the Savior. There can be no further payment for sin as that payment was made by Jesus Christ and it was made once for all, the sin issue became a son issue.

To be justified means to receive that gift that came to all mankind, the gift declaration of the very righteousness of God, no one can receive that unless that person is placed into Christ. Being placed into Christ, joined to Christ is the method whereby God justices a person, or righteousifies a person. The issue at the Great White Throne Judgment will be those standing there in their own righteousness. 

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