Romans 7:24 - “O wretched man that I am” do you suppose Paul would want us to believe that we can produce through our fleshly efforts, what Israel was totally incapable of producing through their fleshly efforts, or for that matter, what Paul knew that he could never produce through his fleshly efforts even after his conversion. Paul never used the word fruit in connection with any believer as being the product OF that believer.
You can set yourselves apart all you like behaviorally, you can start any number of things and cease doing any number of things in order to gain holiness before God, but you will do no better at reaching that goal then the foolish Galatians, who were themselves flirting with the idea of progressive sanctification.
Paul did not praise them for their gallant efforts to become more holy people through fleshly production, he gave them a name, he called them foolish people! 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.
“Look at where I was, look at where I am now,” that is famous among many groups that are meeting today, and they have to have a testimony by a person showing the other people there where they were and how far they have progressed. The capacity of the human race to EARN the measure of righteousness that belongs to God is “Zilch.”
Romans 2:3 - Arrogance! It is such a shame that so many people today are trusting in their goodness to get them to heaven. God is going to see you as having no need of the saving work of his son. The human race is guilty before God! God has decreed it! NO excuse will suffice to pardon it. Paul wants us to understand that there is no refuge in human goodness.
When we put our human hearts under the microscope of God’s truthful judgment, we are going to find out that we need much more than human righteousness to have a perfectly just standing before God. We need a Savior and Jesus Christ is that Savior! They have the responsibility of making a decision. I will believe it or I will reject it. God’s given them that choice; love does not force itself.
According to Romans chapter one, God’s attitude toward ALL ungodliness and unrighteousness of the human race is being revealed in scripture. The guilty verdict that God has just declared upon the human race, do you think that you are going to escape that guilty verdict. Do you think for one moment that God is going to give you a non-wrath-worthy pass; that Christ needn’t have died for your sins; that your sins are of such a non-serious nature that you have no need of a Savior in the first place?
The first characteristic of a self-righteous moralizer is Arrogance. Here is a person who is looking down their nose at someone else, yet they are doing the very same things in another form! It is a Son issue today, not a sin issue! There are many who will spend an eternity apart from Christ, because they refuse to accept what Christ accomplished on their behalf.
2 Corinthians 5:17 - Paul is not talking about a believer gaining sinless perfection at the point of their belief or at any other time for that matter. When Paul talks about “a new creature” he is not talking about sin in an individual’s life, he is talking about all that we once were in Adam, prior to salvation.
The issue for life everlasting is not what church you attend or to which denomination you belong or how religious you are, or even whether or not you are a good person in the worldly sense of the word “good.” The issue in eternity will be to which man are you related? Romans 5:19 is about identity, contrasting two men; Romans is really the story of two men and the people who are related to these two men.
Do you have your identity in the first Adam, or do you have your identity in the second Adam, Jesus Christ. Once saved, we are no longer in Adam, at the very point of our believe we are that instant “in Christ.” In God’s eyes we are no longer who we once were, we are now the new creation, having been forever joined to our Savior.