We are not to cleanse ourselves in order to gain something from God, when it comes to our holy standing before him, or to maintain something before God because we have been freely given something, namely a justified and sanctified position in God’s son, Jesus Christ.
How can those who have been justified freely, sanctified in Jesus Christ, how should we be conducting ourselves? We should conduct ourselves in a manner that goes sides by side or that goes in hand with what God has already called us to do, our ambassadorship of the message of reconciliation.
Paul was teaching grace, plus nothing, and that leads people with a sin nature and pride nature to say, Oh, we have got something! 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 ourself apart behaviorally, naturally we want other people to set themselves apart, and we want them to have to tow the mark, as you have to tow the mark to keep God happy.
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. May that type of reasoning not cross our minds, that is not the way a believer should be thinking!
People do what they want to do, we have always done what we want to do, and people continue to do what they want to do. We would naturally come to be thinking along those lines, if we fail to have an understanding of Justification and Sanctification.
Do we sin? But, we are dead to sin! Are we supposed to stop sinning? If we understand what the word “sin” means, coming short of God’s Glory, now that we are dead to sin, can we now measure up to God’s Glory? Positional truth, 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, but those who would die in their sins were those who would continue to have their identity in Adam, Adam in rebellion, understanding identity is key! Failing to understand positional truth will cause much confusion, because we want to go back to practical reality.
It is not probation, it is salvation! Forgiving us is not something God must decide to do, the only reason God could say through Paul, “Grace and Peace be unto you” is because his son fully paid the price. Faith is not something “do I have enough faith, have I believed firmly enough?”
Faith is simply taking your stand where God takes his stand. There are many who will spend an eternity apart from Christ, because they refuse to accept what Christ accomplished on their behalf. God’s given people the choice to reject or just to stand where he does.
Love does not force itself, people have the responsibility of making a decision, will I believe it or will I reject it. What God’s son did for everyone was was sufficient to absolve everyone of our sin debt, past, present, future, it is gone.
It is not a sin issue today, it is a son issue, because Christ died once for all, God’s justice was satisfied, salvation was accomplished, but unfortunately the gift will not be accepted by all.
To accept the gift, is to receive the gift according to scripture, and to receive it simply means to take it to ones self, or acknowledge something as being true, to believe it. So believe and receive are one in the same thing, when it comes to this gift of salvation.
The fact that Christ did died for all, proves without a doubt that all were indeed dead in trespasses and sins. Paul’s good news must be accepted, it must be believed, understanding the grace of God is an intricate part of the joy, that should really be a part of every believer’s life.
God’s grace has abounded and therefore, the gift has abounded unto the many who were affected by Adam’s sin, Adam’s sin brought sin and death to all, Christ’s righteousness brings the gift of grace to all.
God provided the free gift of justification, because that one sin, provoked the many sins of the human race, but God provided a sufficient gift to solve the dilemma of humankind. To be justified means to receive that gift that came to all; by the one sin, to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses, unto justification.
The receiving that must be done as Paul goes on to say, God’s grace has abounded and therefore, the gift has abounded unto the many who were affected by the first Adam’s sin. Being placed into the second Adam, Jesus Christ, joined to Christ is the method whereby God justifies us.
The issue at the Great White Throne Judgment will be those standing there in their own righteousness, and not in God’s righteousness. Many will believe Satan’s message that righteousness comes by way of a person’s efforts, what they merit, what they desire through their performance.
The reality of our reign in life results in the joy, rejoice in hope of the glory of God, consequently, not everyone will end up with the benefits of this gift, because the gift is contingent upon receiving the good news message Paul was delivering.
Satan’s minions today, unknowingly in many cases, are having a hay-day, because they are keeping the issue of sins on the table of God’s justice, when they are no longer on the table of God’s justice.
Everybody believes or supposed to believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That is not the message that saves, it is understanding the meaning of that message that saves today.
Will people accept or reject the payment Jesus Christ made for their redemption? God offers the gift of redemption, it is up to those of the world to either accept or reject their redeemer, but that does no less make Jesus Christ their redeemer.
When we accept our redeemer, and the price he paid, the ransom he paid, then we are joined to Christ, and we have his righteousness attributed to our account. Those who reject the gift, are thumbing their noses at the one who died to paid that price for their redemption.
The sin issue needs to be resolved in our minds, not in God’s. God wants people to look at the sacrifice his son made, and have their minds aligned with his. God wants people to view that sacrifice and say, “If God is satisfied, then I am going to be satisfied with what Christ accomplished for me.”
God wants people to believe the gospel Paul calls the ministry of reconciliation. Paul tells us that those who accept the redeemer, accept the gift of redemption are sealed unto the day of the redemption of that earthly tent in which they dwell, and placed into - at the point of their belief - their savior.
Thereby becoming the recipient of all that belongs to Christ, that includes his righteousness. Now you are worthy. Many people continue in their thinking that their sin is separating them from God, Paul’s gospel is hid from those people, they do not understand his gospel, they do not understand what reconciliation is all about.
So they think that new sin, needs a new measure of reconciliation, they seek forgiveness on the installment plan, is that not the golden thread woven through every denomination out there? The truth is they could not obtain an ounce of forgiveness if they tried, because God has already forgiven them all, God designed it, he provided the means by which it could be accomplished.
That is why Christ’s ambassadors have the responsibility and privilege of making the reality of what the reconciliation Christ’s sacrifice accomplished, known to those who know nothing of it.
We can set ourselves apart all we like, behaviorally speaking, we can start any number of things and cease doing any number of things in order to gain holiness before God, but we will do no better at reaching that goal than the foolish Galatians, who were themselves flirting with the idea of progressive sanctification.
Setting oneself apart for holiness is one thing, setting oneself apart because of the holy standing God has already given that individual in Christ, is something altogether different. We can do great wonders, when it comes to relative righteousness, but measuring up to God’s standard of righteousness?
None of us will ever do so apart from God decreeing that to be so, freely, a gift, the righteousness required to dwell with God or for God to dwell with us. Justification is a gift declaration of perfect righteousness, the very righteousness that belongs to Jesus Christ, given to the ungodly who simply take God at his word, concerning what Christ accomplished for them.
Justification and Sanctification are “much more” assurance doctrines that Paul is giving us as to the security that we as believers have being placed into Christ. Paul wants to establish our minds in the “much more” assurance that we have, so we can have that stability of mind and stability of emotions, if the will is the governor of the emotions, and it is.
We are called “saints” today, “set apart ones,” that is the word God uses for those who have placed their faith in the all-sufficiency of the sin-resolving sacrifice of his son, Jesus Christ. Saint is God’s word for a believer, he sets us apart, sanctification depends upon the one who is doing the setting apart.
Paul even called the carnal believers at Corinth saints or set apart ones, because even though they were carnal, they had believed Paul’s good news. In fact, our sanctification and being in Christ are one and the same, but the sin nature does not disappear.
If sanctification is not the gradual removal or even the total eradication of the sin nature, if it is not a second work of grace that takes place at or after salvation, we need to look at God’s Word in light of these generally taught misconceptions. So that, we can see if they are correct, and then come to understand what sanctification really is, so that we are not fooled by what sanctification is not!