Where do people go to see how far they have removed themselves through their behavior from God’s favor? More often then not, they go right back to the Law of Moses taught in the halls of religianity by ministers of righteousness. That can only lead in one direction, instability. The religiously minded begin to believe they are indeed measuring up as righteousness becomes relative to those people. But, there are people walking away from a God they perceive as being unfair in having created them to fall in the first place. Some take it to the extent of a total denunciation of God altogether. If God does exist, how can he demand perfection? If God does exist, the fact of his fairness or unfairness does not really matter, does it? Misunderstanding of the need for and the manner of justification and sanctification reside at the core of that unstable thinking.
We are saved unto good works. We are saved for the purpose of good works, but we are not saved by our good works or kept saved by our good works or not upon any promise we might make along those lines, but up Jesus’ righteousness and our faith in Jesus’ faithful sacrifice on our behalf. If the religiously minded don’t see themselves as being holy in conduct, they don’t believe that God sees them as being holy either. We need to understand that forgiveness was all upfront and all-inclusive, but when we accept this idea of conditional forgiveness/forgiveness on the installment plan; a little forgiveness here, a little forgiveness there, the need for new forgiveness for new sin, that is the atonement program of Israel not the reconciliation program of the body of the Savior.
Relative righteousness comes into play as we try to sanctify ourselves according to what we perceive in our judicial minds, relative righteousness based as to be righteous. Therefore, we stop doing some things and we start doing some other things and we begin to believe that we are a prize package, especially if we can relate and be connected to a large group doing the same thing. That’s self-sanctification. As the believer stands before God in his courtroom, the evidence is overwhelmingly against them. Yet, as God drops the gavel, he pronounces no penalty. Justification is not a process, but is a one-time act, complete and definitive. What an amazing salvation the believer truly has, the issue remaining on the table of God’s justice today is whether a person will accept that gift.
By removing the sin issue from the table of God’s justice, God effectively canceled Satan’s ownership of all the human race. God is not dealing with a nation today and he is not recognizing any nation above any other nation. God in his infinite wisdom devised a plan whereby he could take the very faith belonging to his son along with its resultant faithfulness and credit that faith and faithfulness to the account of those who believe. Those who believe in a belief system know as Universal Reconciliation are not understanding the difference in reconciliation and justification. God gives all the choice to accept what Jesus accomplished on their behalf today or to reject it. God purchased the human race out of sins dominion, never to be returned to the market place of sin again.
Three obstacles stand in the way of our growth and maturity of Paul’s good news message. These obstacles hound each and every one of us each and every day of our lives. None of us can say that the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life have not hammered our walk wherewith we are called. The moral choice of good and bad is alive and well in an ever present force that must be understood and reckoned with on a daily bases. We can never escape these three obstacles, but we can indeed deny their outward expression. If you have come to a point of sobering, you have come to a point of total agreement with the apostle Paul, as he examined his own life from a fleshy perspective.
Those of us who are bent on satisfying the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life fall into a snare, in that we become addicted to the manner in which we satisfy those lust. Paul does not talk about God pushing a bad button and having something bad happen to us or God taking our life. Paul does talk about when we pursue the satisfaction of the sinful lusts of the flesh, it’s not ruination God is bringing on sinful believers, but ruination sinning believers are bringing upon themselves. Unbelievers and believers alike can make choices, but Paul is calling on the saved saints, saved and sealed saints to make a decision to make righteousness the choice of their service. We certainly can make some choices in our lives due to who God’s made us to be by joining us to his son.
The general principle works across the board, one drink leads to another drink, one drug leads to another drug, one pleasurable indulgence leads to another pleasurable indulgence, one serving of self leads to another serving of self. We serve the sin nature rather than our Savior as we serve self rather than the body of saints to whom we are as equally and intimately joined as we are joined to our Savior. The unbelieving world is not under the reign of righteousness. Unbelievers are under no obligation to serve righteousness. It shouldn’t surprise us to see what we see now and what we will be seeing in an increasing manner as time goes on in the world today. The unsaved world is simply serving the master they are under.
A ransom of all was not testified until Paul proclaimed it, the revelation of the secret which was kept secret since the world began. God didn’t predetermine to cause some individuals to belief unto eternal life, he predestined to conform everyone who believes to his son. If Jesus paid the penalty for our sins, to keep those sins on the table of God’s justice is to do great injustice to what Jesus accomplished, it turns salvation into probation. The pride-nature screams, God not imputing sins to those sinners would mean those rotten people have gotten away with committing things that I can’t even imagine committing, the pride-nature recoils at that very idea. From God’s perspective, all believers have Jesus’ righteousness freely attributed to their account, what belongs to the Savior belongs to you.
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. If you have drawn an improper conclusion, Paul would say it’s because you have failed to properly consider all of the facts. Grace - God is now dealing with the believer totally apart from human merit or demerit. God deals with a believer now according to Jesus’ 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 the Savior. Before the foundation of the world, God chose everyone who would believe in what his son accomplished on their behalf; to be in the Savior, that is an accomplishment of God’s Grace, the glory of God’s Grace.
As important as it is that we make correct choices, reining in life over sin means much, much, more than making proper choices. Paul was reigning in life from a practical perspective because those who receive the gift of God do in fact reign in life. But, that doesn’t mean that improper choices have no earthly consequences, they certainly do. While they will not affect your salvation, they can indeed wreak havoc in your life. We all too often plant one crop and then before we know it, the crop we have planted is growing up all around us to the extent that what we have planted can begin to get a strangle-hold on us. It happens to those who are believers and it happens to those who are unbelievers, if something comes up, it’s because we have planted an improper choice somewhere in many cases.
Our brains are an engine of understanding. Our transformation process that is taking place in our lives as we take in the Word of God and apply it to the details of our lives, it’s only when we come to properly understand God from his perspective concerning ourselves. The battle is taking place between the ears, between fleshy thinking and divine thinking. Trust that God knows precisely what he is doing and he is going to do it whether we pray or not. Achieving God’s goals is learning to distinguish his goal from his desire. It’s a critical distinction because it can spell the difference between success and failure. His goal is any specified result reflecting his purposes for our ambassadorship that does not depend on people or circumstances beyond our ability. The only person who can block his goal or render it uncertain or impossible is us, and if we adopt the attitude of cooperation with his goals, his goal can be reached. His desire is any specific result that depends on the cooperation of other people or the success of events or favorable circumstances we cannot control.
When we begin to align our goals with God’s goals for our ambassadorship and our desires with his desires, we will rid our life of a lot anger, anxiety, and depression. We can know on a moment-by-moment basis if our ambassadorship is properly aligned with his truth. God has established a feedback system which is designed to grab our attention, so we can examine the validity of our goal. That system is our emotions. When an experience leaves us feeling angry, anxious, or depressed, those emotional signposts are there to alert us that we may be cherishing a faulty goal. Any goal which can be blocked by forces we cannot control (other then God’s goal) isn’t a healthy goal because our success in that arena is our of our hands.
When we feel anxious in a task, our anxiety may be signaling the uncertainty of a goal we have chosen. We are wishing something will happen, but we have no guarantee that it will. We can control some of the factors, but not all of them. When we base our future success on something that can never happen, we have an impossible goal. Our depression is a signal that our goal, no matter how noble may never be reached. Depression often signals that we are desperately clinging to a goal we have little or no chance of achieving and that isn’t a healthy goal. Feelings of anger should prompt us to reexamine our ambassadorship and the mental goals we have formulated to accomplish God’s message of reconciliation.
Will you accept that God’s son paid for your sins and that Jesus’ payment has completely satisfied God’s justice where all of those sins are concerned or will you continue to hold on to the notion that you have insufficient sins to warrant Jesus’ death in the first place. Or equally as dangerous, the religious notion that Jesus’ shed blood was insufficient to have fully satisfied God where your sins are concerned, thus the continual need for something further required of you to keep God’s justice up to date. The only reason God could say through Paul, “Grace and Peace be unto you” is because his son fully paid the price. Faith doesn’t come in gallons and tons. Faith isn’t something “do I have enough faith, have I believed firmly enough?” Faith is simply taking your stand where God takes his stand. Do you awake every morning of your life with the security you have in the Savior, having your identity in him having believed Paul’s good news?
You see, the Law of Moses had a relationship claim on every member of the human race. If the law has a rightful claim on you, God cannot have a rightful claim on you. If the Savior has a rightful claim on you, the law has no rightful claim on you whatsoever. The human race is dead to law keeping for righteousness. They are dead to a law keeping for righteousness relationship and that relationship is gone forever. Jesus took it out of the way. When Israel’s New Covenant comes into play, they will be caused to know Jesus, they will all know him to the least to the greatest. Paul was striving to know the Savior and know him intimately, not as Israel’s messiah, but to know him in the power of his resurrection and in the fellowship of his suffering. Paul wanted Jesus’ life to be manifest in his own life.
If you read the words “ye men of Israel,” “ye men of Judaea” don’t take from the table of that nation and put that instruction on your plate. We’re not to study the Word of God as though it were a hodge-podge assortment of instructions that are all the same for all the people of all the ages. Some people study it that way and then wonder why they can’t make sense of it. Cafeteria Christianity today, each group placing on their plate the portion, or portions of Scripture that appeal most to them. “We want this, but we’ll ignore that.” But you see we can’t pick and choose whatever doctrine suits our appetites as though it’s left up to us to serve ourselves.
We sometimes plant, sow an improper crop, than we expect God to give us a harvest that we can reap entirely different than what we’ve sown. There are people who sow nastiness, then they expect kindness to just sprout up all around them. A lot of people trust in God to alter the circumstances of the moment. They think he’ll somehow mystically magically rekindle the fire of a lost love after they’ve chose a life incorrectly. Or he’ll bring them the right job after they’ve sown an attitude at their previous place of employment that caused everyone around them to want to avoid them. There are those who sow to bad health only to pray that God will guide and lead the hands and provide the wisdom to the doctors they hope will heal them. Sowing one thing and praying for another is foreign to the mind of the Apostle Paul.
The simply message of the gospel is total payment for sin accomplished by Jesus’ total sacrifice, the finished work of Jesus. Satan distracts from the truth though the miraculous. The meaning of deception is to distract from the truth, to believe a lie. You have therefore how much forgiveness? Total forgiveness! If the message isn’t total forgiveness all upfront and all inclusive you can bet it’s not a miracle being preformed of God. Satan’s miracles will never stand on this message because they want to distract from this message. He’s sitting on our shoulder and trying to convince you that you don’t have to sin. He’s saying “You know you can do better than you’ve been doing.” It’s impossible to get our own life right with God. Jesus had to make us right with God.
If a person believes Jesus died for their sins but does not believe that God’s justice was satisfied when Jesus died for those sins, that person has not believed Jesus died for their sins according to the scriptures. Was Jesus issuing a heavenly entrance exam there in Matthew 19:17? The words by Jesus in this passage were words spoken in connection with God’s program with Israel under the law contract. So, the entrance into life mentioned there is an entrance into the earthly kingdom promised to the nation Israel. This isn’t talking about heaven to begin with. This rich young ruler had approached Jesus under the delusional-thinking that he had already merited an entrance into the earthly kingdom on the basis of his doing. Jesus was simply responding to that man according to his pharisaical mindset. “You want to enter the kingdom on the basis of your works? Keep the commandments!” And then, Jesus proceeded to prove to him that he had not and would not! You can see how mixing the two programs can lead to misguided thinking when it comes to the issue of eternal security.
One purpose of worship as some people define it, is to get a touch from God, to get the emotions at a peak, they feel close to God when they are in a situation that stimulates their emotions. The connection is solid, because the emotional high has been established as they find themselves on an endless quest for emotional satisfaction, because they relate their closeness to God upon feeling, they are either on fire or the fire’s gone out. Paul told us that as time progresses forward in this age of grace, people will become more and more abut satisfying their emotional desires, they will be seeking after and devoting themselves to a God they can feel. So, why do people have such a difficult time believing the apostle Paul when our apostle tells us that Satan’s ministers of righteousness during this age of grace will in fact be working within a religious framework.
We cannot do destruction to one truth from Paul in an effort to validate our belief about another truth from Paul, because if we base our theology on one truth given by Paul, while at the same time destroying another truth given us by Paul, we had better rethink our theological position. Rethinking a theological position is much better than committing doctoral destruction to a passage that is put there so very clearly by our apostle Paul. Dead to sin, we now have a brand new identity. Those who would die in their sins were those who would continue to have their identity in Adam, Adam in rebellion, to die with that identification intact. Paul introduces us in Romans how it is that God can delate sinners to be to be heaven-worthy. God decided to give a judicial decree of rightness apart from our behavior, apart from our practice based solely on our belief, that belief would be concerning all who would take him at his word relative to what his son accomplished for us.