The good news from God to us today is that God is not counting anyone’s sins against them. Satan, Paul tells us, is working through ministers of righteousness to keep this news hidden from people. How are they doing it? By keeping that issue of sins on the table of God’s justice where the Bible clearly tells us that issue of sins was resolved. So there is no additional sin question in the mind of God when it comes to his forgiveness or his righteous justice. We’re not to listen to ministers of righteousness telling us sins are still the issue. It’s a clever counterfeit being conducted by good people who have your best interest in mind. They love you. They’ll give you absolution. They’ll give you forgiveness, come and get forgiveness from God. They want the best for you, but as Paul says in 2nd Timothy they’ll be deceiving, because they themselves have been deceived.
We’re not in the process of becoming something new and different. We’re not even in an instantaneously cleaned up version of the former creation. We’re not a sinless version of who we once were. We are at the very instance of our belief a brand new creation. God sees us in a brand new way. Not called to be saints, we are called saints, called holy ones. Sainthood is not earned at all. It’s not something to be sought after as though it could be attained to or something that only comes for a select few. In the fact that it’s called a new creation, it tells us this new creation as God sees it, is not an extension of some former creation. In other wards, we are not an extension of believing Israel time past carried on over in some spiritual form to the age of grace. God has designed believers to be a brand new unique organism, operating as a living breathing manifestation of the Savior’s body right here on planet earth.
The truth Paul has proclaimed in all of his epistles is you couldn’t get right with God in a million life times of trial and error. Paul knew that no matter what he did to merit righteousness, it was impossible for him to measure up to the righteousness required for Heaven. 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, and after 30 years of ministry having had a time to set himself apart? Paul still said in Romans, “O wretched man that I am.” Paul knew that through the flesh will come no good thing.
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, freely, a gift, the righteousness required to dwell with God or for him to dwell with us. We cannot perfect the flesh! Paul rendered his flesh to the dung heap and said, “No, nothing I can perform would cause me or give me cause to have a more holy or more righteous standing with God Almighty.” The capacity of the human race to earn the measure of righteousness that belongs to God is zilch. Setting oneself apart for holiness is one thing; setting oneself apart because of the holy standing God has already given that individual in the Savior is something altogether different.
I don’t know if you grasp the full scope of what predestination means to you if you are a believer. If you are a believer, God has predetermined (another wards, his mind is made up, he’s pre-decided) something where you are concerned once you believe Paul’s good news message and God’s mind is not going to be changed on this. Once you are justified unto eternal life, having first trusted in the Savior as Paul said there in Ephesians 1:12 and the choice is totally up to you, there are certain things that God has pre-determined to happen to you. But Israel as a nation rejected their king. They rejected their promised Messiah and thus, rejected their Kingdom.
At the entrance of Romans, the very first thing Paul did was he established the fact of his unique and distinct Gentile apostleship. So there in verse 1 Paul tells us that he was a separated apostle. In other words, Paul was not one of the twelve apostles, which tells us that Paul was not an earthly kingdom program apostle. God had no need for an additional apostle to fulfill the program of Israel’s promised earthly kingdom. How many tribes are there in Israel? Twelve! Well, that kingdom was offered to the nation Israel. That’s why it’s called the good news, or the gospel of the kingdom. It was proclaimed to be at hand by John the baptizer and by the 12 kingdom apostles and by Jesus himself during his earthly ministry. Paul worked under a different program than the apostles of Jesus that had come before him.