If a person hears Paul’s good news message and that person refuses to believe, choosing instead to believe that their works can add something, that their works can do something to do with getting them save, or keeping them save, that person does indeed need to change their thinking, they need to repent. Repentance is necessary in this age of grace. All who are believing the messages presented by the ministers of righteousness today, they need to change their thinking and accept Paul’s good news message as being the truth in order to receive justification unto eternal life. Believers certainly can make some choices in their lives due to who God’s already made them to be by joining them to his son. God’s Grace is a vital aspect of the believers rejoicing.
Setting oneself apart for holiness is one thing; setting oneself apart because of the holy standing God has already given that individual in the last Adam is something altogether different. Does Paul want the believer to set their flesh apart in order that they might make their flesh become less sinful and therefore, more holy flesh in the sight of God through time through their efforts? Recovering from shame is often confusing, scary, and a painstaking ordeal. The believer can do great wonders when it comes to relative righteousness. But measuring up to God’s standard of righteousness, no believer will ever do so apart from God decreeing that to be so, freely, a gift the righteousness required to dwell with God or for him to dwell with the believer.
The believer can set themselves apart all they like behaviorally in order to gain holiness before God, but they will do no better at reaching that goal than the foolish Galatians who were themselves flirting with the idea of progressive sanctification. To attribute to the flesh the ability through performance to earn a righteous, or more righteous standing before God, or that righteousness comes from or sourced from what the believer does, or what they refuse not to do, or what they commit, or promise not to do again. A lot of believers gradually through time, they begin to slide to the place where the Galatians were sliding and that was back to error. But there are far more people who never started right to begin with because they never heard the truth of what was accomplished by the second Adam where their sin debt is concerned.
Believers during this age of grace are going to be delivered from Jacob’s trouble before it begins. Believers are not appointed to the wrath associated with Israel’s tribulation according to Paul, 1 Thessalonians 5:9. Believers can thank God that they do not have to pray the Disciples Prayer. “Deliver us from the anti-Messiah!” During the time of Jacob’s trouble, the Israelites will be under tremendous persecution from the anti-Messiah. He will be putting them to death for their faith. The souls of the martyrs are seen as resting beneath the altar, not because they are in a disembodied state, but because they are awaiting the completion of redemption (“until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren should be complete” Revelations 6:11) and their resurrection at the Messiah’s coming. It is evident that if the martyrs are brought to life at the beginning of the millennium in conjunction with the Messiah’s coming, they can hardly be living in heaven in a disembodied state while resting in the grave.
Are believers during this age of grace looking forward to the next event on Israel’s prophetic calendar, the Messiah coming to establish Israel’s promised earthly kingdom on the earth? Or, are believers looking forward to the next mystery event, Jesus coming in the air to catch his body up off of this planet? The Disciples Prayer, it has special application to that tribulation period to those Israelites who were being taught to pray in this manner. But it’s recited in churches across the country in our day. It’s recited as though it’s a prayer for today. At the time this prayer was given to the disciples of the earthly kingdom program, Gentiles did not have a father-child relationship with God, Ephesians 2:12. At the time when Israel will be facing the wrath of Satan; the time that Israel was being prepared for when they were being taught how to pray, this prayer is appropriate for the people of that day. Are believers to be praying for Yahweh to provide their daily bread today? Or, are believers to work to produce it?
God worked in connection with the sign nation, the nation Israel, the healings that were performed and the power resident was in the prayer of faith. James epistle leaves no doubt about the power of prayer in Israel’s program. They walked by sight. God allowed their prayer life to work in connection with sight as that earthly kingdom was on their doorstep. James was clearing writing to the saints of the earthly kingdom promise and program. And what James was writing was in perfect agreement with the promise to Israel sitting in John 14:13-44. From the apostle of the Gentiles, believers never hear “the prayer of faith shall save the sick.” Paul never states: “whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do.” Rather, to the apostle Paul who is to be our pattern according to Paul, God made this statement in 2 Corinthians 12:9: “My grace is sufficient for thee.”
Understand that repentance in the earthly kingdom program was not about turning away from one’s sins and not sinning anymore. Repentance was about changing one’s mind when it came to earning a righteous standing with God through their performance. God had to do for the believer today, what they could never do for themselves. God places the last Adam’s test score on the paper of all who take him at his Word concerning their own inadequacy and the adequacy of his perfectly faithful son, having resolved God’s justice forevermore where those sins are concerned. God’s power from on high cannot depart a believer today! God places his power within each and every believer for the express purpose of guaranteeing those believers an inheritance in heaven. God’s power from on high is his guarantee that he will keep his promise. While God’s power cannot depart, it can certainly be grieved.
It’s a dangerous thing to attribute righteousness to law keeping today. It’s one thing to make correct choices in our lives. Choices we know that God and Paul would agree with through scripture, choices that go hand and hand with agape as Paul relates it. Every believer should strive for righteous living in that respect, but to attribute our righteousness standing before God to do the choices we make is something else all together. It’s a dangerous thing when one attributes any of their righteous standing before God to their adherence to law keeping, whether they include the whole law or whether they narrow it down to the ten commandments or even the final two. To attribute a righteous standing before God to law keeping either to become saved or to remain saved is to misunderstand the good news Paul preached. Because the good news Paul preached has to do with a righteousness totally apart from the law.
Paul made statements such as, “I have learned” and “I reckon.” Paul reasoned things through; he assessed the situation. Why would we need to reason out the source of the problem? Their are avoidable suffering circumstances and there are unavoidable suffering circumstances that come our way. Avoidable suffering has to do with the choices we make in our lives. When we sow an inappropriate choice, we can count on the fact that sooner or later, we are going to be faced with an unfortunate circumstance. Most of the problems we face continue to be problems only as long as we refuse to prefer others over self and we continue to insist upon our right to be positioned on the top shelf. Many problems come our way simply because of our insistence upon having our way. And that’s the case whether it be on the job, in the home, whether it be with a spouse, with family members, or with friends. In such cases each of us hold the power to the resolution of our problem. Rather than wondering how God is leading when it comes to many of our problems, why not just apply God’s provided solution to avoid those problems.