Today people think they have to ask God to forgive them for the sins that God is no longer charging to their account in the first place. Ministers of righteousness would have people believe God is not totally reconciled in his mind. The great usurper and his fellow usurpers want to keep sin on the table of God’s justice today, as much in the age of grace as he has in the other ages.
Salvation, justification unto eternal life is a gift of God, it is not something we attain by our works in the first place. We have also been sanctified or set apart in that we were identified with Christ by God’s power from on high baptism into Christ at the point of our belief.
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.
This in itself is the motivation for a believer to bring the body into subjection to what God had done freely for the ungodly as we place our faith in what Christ accomplished for our sins. Paul’s desire was about beating the flesh back, not about making the flesh better, it is about holding it down, bringing it into submission.
One has to do with elevation, the other has to do with submission, Paul was talking about making the flesh subject to him.
Everywhere Paul went, the people who had known the law did not just reject Paul, they wanted to do away with Paul for preaching that people were not under the law. What does that tell us about those in our day who continue to hang on to the notion that God is continuing to deal with people on the basis of their performance?
We can see the connection between the religious crowd of Paul’s day and the religious crowd of today. The pride nature is the root cause of that rejection, pride insists upon attributing success to self.
Human righteousness comes from self-interest-motivation, it is self-glorifying and while it may be of earthly benefit, that will not cut it when it comes to meeting the demands of God’s perfect justice.
When ungodly people are willing to simply take God at his word, abandoning any notion that they can merit a righteous standing with God through their performance, and trust solely in what Jesus Christ accomplished for them, having resolved that issue of their sin debt, God’s power from on high performs a miracle in those people’s lives by uniting those believers with Christ himself.
That is what sanctification, our set-apartness is all about. As we travel through Paul’s handbook on faith, we learn the necessity of a total abandonment of any notion that no one can merit righteousness before God through the performance of the flesh, and that we must place our trust solely in the fact that God accomplished our salvation for us through his son’s death when he judged his son for our sins.
Paul was not talking about Christianizing the flesh, making it better flesh, capable of doing more things, he was talking about holding the flesh back, keeping it down.
Paul was motivated to keep his desires of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, to keep it at bay and not let that reign supreme when it came to his activities and his actions.
Paul was being honest with himself and with us, when it came to the capacity of his flesh to merit righteousness before God through performance, if God was going to righteousify ungodly people, it would have to be freely by his grace, it could come no other way.
People’s performance could not be allowed to enter the picture. God would have to use belief rather than behavior as the criterion whereby to join believers to his son. Could there have been a sin or two, or maybe a few left over when Christ died for the sin debt of the world, for which God’s justice was not satisfied, a sin in the future?
God’s justice was satisfied where the sins of the world are concerned, God reconciled the world unto himself, as Paul tells us.
God was satisfying his own justice where the sins of the world are concerned through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, but God recognizes those who take him at his word concerning the price Christ became on their behalf to resolve God’s justice for their sins.
Taking God at his word is called faith, God’s intent was to join believers to his son, from God’s perspective the two become one flesh. Justification is a recognition of righteousness that comes from God to those who believe God and the moment we believe, God’s power from on high joins us to Christ and from that point on we have a brand new identification.
Does God’s call go out selectively or does he call all today, and does his call come by way of circumstance or does he call today to believe the message given through the apostle Paul.
Jesus Christ was made a curse for our sins by taking our place and suffering the judgment of God for the sin debts he died for, was his death not pictured in the scapegoat sacrifice of the Israelite program?
If a person believes Christ died for their sin debt, but does not believe that God’s justice was satisfied when Christ died for those sins, that person has not believed Christ died for their sin debt according to the scriptures.
To continue to insist that God’s justice has not been resolved where all the sins Christ died for are concerned, is to deny the truth sitting in 2 Corinthians 5:18-21.