God has only held people accountable to believe that which he was revealing to them at the time, nothing more. Justification has always been based on taking God at his Word, nothing more. We would call that faith, it’s just that the message of faith has changed.
It’s not been the same message, because things have been added and things have been changed throughout the course of human history. If you are asking God to forgive you for your sins today, what are you saying you believe about what Christ accomplished, where those sins are concerned?
See how subtle the message is today, and how many people in the world miss it, because they think God is still looking at them and judging them and evaluating them on the bases of their performance. God wants believers to all think the same way, when it comes to what is happening in this Age of Grace, what God is doing today and how he is doing it.
Paul could never preach and never preached the Gospel of the Kingdom, because the kingdom was no longer at hand. When Israel’s leadership rejected the King, that kingdom was placed on the shelf to be reserved for a future fulfillment. Peter was still operating in accordance with the earthly kingdom program, before he was made aware of the secret committed to Paul’s trust.
Jesus gave Peter the “keys” to the Kingdom. Peter had the ability to “unlock” and “open the door” to the Kingdom, he proclaimed the message they had to believe. Peter knew about remission of sins for the world, but he knew about the remission of sins for the world in relation to Israel’s royal priesthood, that Israel was to be a holy nation, a kingdom of priests, and as that holy nation and royal priesthood, a light unto the Gentiles.
You have to know something, to count up the facts before you can come to an appropriate conclusion based upon what you know to be true. That is why knowledge is absolutely essential. If you have drawn an improper conclusion, Paul would say it is because you have failed to properly consider all of the facts.
Paul goes to great lengths in Romans chapter 6 to make his case, that people who fail to conduct themselves properly, fail to understand properly. When it comes to grace behavior, Paul places the emphasis on helping us to perceive ourselves in the new identity that is ours right now, being in Jesus Christ.
Paul wants us to see ourselves as God already sees us, we need to be focusing on our new identity. Anyone who teaches that God accepts you or blesses you on the basis of how well you dress up the old man in Christian clothing, or on how well you make the old man perform, that person fails to properly understand that the old man no longer exists in the eyes of God.
Paul wants us to consider ourselves to be now and forevermore alive unto God, we can not lose it. Behavior did not put us there, behavior can not take us out of there. Christ will never again have to die for our sins and likewise, we can count on the fact that we will need die for our sins.
When Paul tells us to put on the new man, he is not asking us to dress up the old man. He is not asking us to do anything with the old man at all, except crucify it. Paul is simply asking us to recognize that the old man no longer exists in the eyes of God, see yourselves as God sees you.
Grace - God is now dealing with the believer totally apart from human merit or demerit. God deals with a believer now according to Christ’s merit and God calls that complete. That is a very huge, vital, a fundamental aspect of the Grace of God, we are complete, being in Christ.
Before the foundation of the world, God chose everyone who would believe in what his son accomplished on their behalf; to be in Christ, that is an accomplishment of God’s Grace, the glory of God’s Grace. The inevitable result of God’s Grace to the believer is true peace, because God sees us in Christ, and Christ was blameless.
Our right standing with God comes only through identification with a savior who is alive from among the dead. Paul never claimed to be a sinless saint, he claimed to be a saved saint. If you see yourself without sin, you have a sinful pride condition that is obvious to everyone but yourself.
Paul did not see himself as faultless, he saw himself as forgiven. Joy for a believer is a state of mind independent of surrounding circumstances. Rejoicing is the exhibit of that inter-state of mind, so the believers attitude need not to become victim to uncertainty or adversity.
There is a certain stability unwavering trust in God from an acknowledgment understanding and appreciation of what he tells you is true for you. A lot of people trust in God to alter the circumstances for the moment; sowing one thing and praying for another is foreign to the mind of the Apostle Paul.