Monday, December 21, 2015

The Nicene Creed (Just some thoughts)

The conscious survival of the soul and its reattachment to the body at the resurrection. Cheating people out of being caught to meet the Savior in the air, when the Age of Grace is over.

Paul never alluded to the conscious survival of the soul and its reattachment to the body at the resurrection, that is a notion totally foreign to Paul and to Scripture as a whole. Paul did not think the question of the status of the person between death and resurrection was a question that needed to be considered. 

The reason is that for Paul, those who die in Christ, their relationship with Christ is one of immediacy, because they have not awareness of the passing of time between their death and resurrection.

As believers, we do not possess the life that Jesus got when God raised him from among the dead as an inherent quality any more than we possess God’s righteousness as a property in our own nature. Just as in the midst of our sinfulness, we are righteous, so in the midst of our self-evident mortality, we are going to get the life God gave to Jesus. 

Wholeness and meaning in life are not the products of what we have or do not have, what we have done or have not done, we are already a whole person and possess a life of infinite meaning and purpose because of who we are in Christ. 

Our understanding of the identity that Adam had before the fall, that identity has been restored to us, that restored identity is the critical foundation for our belief structure and our behavior patterns.

What an ingenious salvation plan, to take someone else that is righteous and join us to that person. Sin causes a debt to God so large that it can never be paid by ourselves, but the person who knows what Jesus Christ really accomplished, exist in a completely new relationship with God. Justification is a legal act, wherein God deems the sinner righteous on the basis of Christ’s righteousness.

Justification is not a process, but is a one-time act, complete and definitive. God could only declare us to be right on the bases of who and what he is, not on the bases of who and what we would be apart from him. God had to devise a way to see us that way, and the way he devised to do that was by joining us to, hiding us in our perfectly righteous savior, thus freely crediting to our account Christ righteousness. Reconciliation and sanctification are not one and the same, they are two different truths. A sanctified identity in Christ comes not as a result of behavior, it comes as a result of belief. 

What an identification God has given you, every believer’s sanctification comes by way of your union-identification with Christ Jesus. We find the amazing and comforting truth that God’s love for those who are joined to his son, is the same unalterable and unending love God has for his son. The judicial decree of rightness God grants to those who believe is called justification, God alters your identity by removing you judicially in God’s mind from an identification with the first Adam and now you are judicially identified with the last Adam (Christ Jesus). That joining itself is where sanctification comes into play; sanctification is not a process, it is a past tense accomplishment that can never be revised, reduced, or retracted. 

You have also been sanctified or set apart in that you were identified with Christ by God’s resurrection power, baptized into Christ at the point of your belief. You need to look at sanctification from the standpoint of who is doing the setting apart. It is entirely a work of God for the believer, not a work of the believer for God. No effort of the flesh could accomplish it, no effort of the saint can add to it.

The fact that Christ became a redeemer of the world, does not mean that the world will accept the gift the Redeemer purchased on their behalf. Christ’s faithfulness was the only faithfulness sufficient to merit God’s favor. God used our faith in Christ’s faithfulness as the means whereby he would credit Christ’s righteousness to our account.

To be justified does not mean to be perfectly righteous in performance. It also does not mean to become perfectly righteous or even more righteous in performance through time. It means having Christ’s perfect righteousness freely credited to the account of the ungodly who believe.

Our justification was something accomplished for us by God’s grace. This gift decree of righteousness comes totally apart from any and all human promise, any or all human performance, or any or all human production. God will never consider our works as a payment for God’s justifying declaration.

Justification is God’s gift! To say your works have anything at all to do with God’s gift declaration of righteousness is to slap the giver in the face. Remember, we were given our righteous standing as a free gift. 

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