Listen to the sarcasm of the legalist, the one who does not think salvation comes quite so easily, the one who thinks that salvation is contingent upon works in their life: “Sure, Paul, your are saying we should just go out and live for the devil and God’s grace will still abound. You are a crazy man! That is easy believism, that is cheap grace!”
The legalist would equate sinfulness with salvation, and thus link grace to license, but carnality would use grace for true purpose of unbridled sensuality. Paul is not telling us that we will no longer be inclined to do wrong or to think wrong things, or even that believers will more often than not always choose to do the right thing.
What Paul is telling us, is that sin shall not conquer us, because we can conquer sin? Not at all! Sin cannot prevail over us, because we can prevail over that in our behavior? Not at all! Sin shall not have dominion over believers, because we are not living under the law program, we are living under grace. The victory has already been won and who won it? Jesus Christ won it. All believers, we are all alike, we all continue to struggle with that issue of sins in our lives.
Not only do we continue to have the propensity to sin, we do in fact do those things that come short of the glory of God far more often than any of us would like. We know that even though we have trusted in what Christ accomplished on our behalf, to have resolved that issue of our sin debt when it comes to the table of God’s justice and Christ has resolved that issue for everyone; God’s justice is resolved.
We want a formula to give us some guidelines and we can do A,B,C, and we will be doing the Christian life successfully, but Christian living it not about doing. It is about believing something, and when we believe something and we continue to take in God’s Word and study God’s Word, it should change who we are, not change what we are trying to do and trying to become.
Listen to the attitude of law orientation; an attitude that comes from a person, who is walking after the flesh: “I’m not going to do that, because that is bad,” or “I’m not going to do that, because I cannot do that and remain a Christian,” or “I’m going to do this, because God demands I do it,” or I’m going to follow the rules, because God will accept me if I follow the rules faithfully.”
Now contrast a walking after the flesh attitude with the attitude of one who is walking after the new nature: “I’m not going to do that, because that is not who I am in Christ, and that is not good for me and it is not good for the other person. These good deeds will not save me, they will not even help to keep me saved, but why spend my time wallowing in the mire that caused my Savior to have to die in the first place? I do not owe anything to this old flesh.”
We do not owe anything to this flesh, it will never please God. That is why it is doing on down to the dust and God is going to give us a new body. Our fleshly production did not gain us our new identity in Christ in the first place. If the works of our flesh did not contribute to getting us saved, how can the works of the flesh play a part in keeping us saved?
If we are trying to satisfy God’s justice on a daily basis or however by conforming to a standard of rules and regulations, we are going to find that just the opposite becomes true in our flesh. We are going to find ourselves constantly focusing on the flesh. The milk of self-righteousness will sour under the divine heat of God’s justice.
To walk in the new nature, is to take the credit away from yourself. You realize that God is not looking at how well you adhere to any standard. God is not looking at your production. God is not looking at your behavior in order to view you as being in favor with him. God is looking at your identification with his son and at what his power is producing in you, because that is where your life is as far as God is concerned.
Unsearchable simply means that which had never been made known, that which could never be search out about Jesus Christ. God told Paul a secret, the idea that Paul was simply taking the same message taught by John, taught by the 12 apostles, taught by Jesus Christ during his earthly ministry, but Paul was taking that message in a different direction, same message, different direction.
Something was different with Paul and something began with the apostle Paul, understand this is a issue of vital importance. When Paul talks about placing no confidence in the flesh, he’s contrasting having Christ righteousness freely imputed to the account of the believer with those who suppose that they can merit a righteous standing before God through commitment through their performance through their production.
If Satan is playing a cover up game with Paul’s message, it is because Satan has a desire to keep people lost. Satan has an obsessive compulsive urge to steal or rob, Satan is obsessed with pilfering Paul’s message.
It is only when we come to properly understand God from his perspective concerning ourselves, both before we came to understand Paul’s message and then what we are and who we are after we have believed Paul’s message and have been joined to God’s son, then we can be capable if viewing others and relating to others accordingly who are also members of Christ’s body of his flesh and of his bones.
If you thought previously that the successful Christian life was all about reformed doing and commitments, you have gotten it wrong according to the apostle Paul. It is all about transformed thinking. According to our apostle, the battle is taking place between the ears, between fleshy thinking and divine thinking. God’s work in us, not our work for God, major difference.