DE JURE AND DE FACTO SALVATION (EXCERPT OF IT IS TIME FOR A REFORMATION OF CHRISTIAN THINKING)
From: It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking
Copyright © 1991 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
He who believes in the justifying blood of Christ has been forgiven his past sin and disobedience to God’s will. This is de jure salvation—salvation by the Lord’s legal provision for us. Through it we receive the authority to be children of God. But eternal life is maintained by actual (de facto) righteousness. There can be no Divine, eternal Life where sin and self-will are active except as God is leading the believer toward deliverance from such behaviors. Imputed (ascribed) righteousness is a temporary provision.
Imputed, de jure righteousness is not the Kingdom of God but a provision God has made so people may be able to press forward to the righteousness of behavior that is the Kingdom of God. Ignorance of the proper roles of de jure and de facto righteousness lies at the root of the current error.
The Removal of Condemnation
Table of Contents
The Gift of the Opportunity To Attain to Life
The Presence of Sin in Our Life
How To Attain to the Resurrection to Life
DE JURE AND DE FACTO SALVATION
De jure means by right or according to law. De facto means in fact, in reality. We are using de jure righteousness to indicate that which is ascribed to us and de facto righteousness to refer to that which is actually is true of us. De jure righteousness is imputed righteousness. De facto righteousness is actual righteousness of behavior.
“And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)
“From their sins”!
To be “saved” is to be delivered from our sins and our self-will and to be able to live in the Presence of God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation is not only forgiveness of the guilt of our sins but actual deliverance from the presence of sin itself.
Salvation commonly is thought of as deliverance from punishment, from Hell. Salvation is more than deliverance from Hell. Among other things, salvation is deliverance from the need to be punished in Hell.
We may be desiring an amnesty but God is desiring a change in our behavior. Until we, through Christ, overcome the world, Satan, and our lusts and self-will, we remain subject to the authority of the Lake of Fire (Revelation 2:11:20:6).
Sin is behavior that violates the laws of God.
Self-will is our desire to exist and act independently of God.
Every human being is born with strong tendencies toward sin and self-will. We were born spiritually dead—cut off from the Presence of our Creator.
God gave His only begotten Son, Christ, to save us from our sins—not in our sins but from our sins. Christ saves us by what He Is and by what He does. Christ delivers us from our sins and our self-will. Christ separates the light of our reborn inner nature from the darkness that is in us.
When Christ has completed our salvation, our redemption from the hand of Satan and from the deadly self-will that causes us to destroy ourselves and those around us, we shall experience eternal life and the glorious freedom of the children of God. We no longer will be urged to sin against God’s laws. We shall be at rest in the only lawful Will in the universe. Through Christ we are saved, rescued, delivered from all those things in us that result in death and torment.
In the Book of Romans, Paul tells us how to be saved, how to be delivered from our sins, thus becoming eligible to receive eternal life in our mortal body when the Lord returns.
Let us look now at the Apostle Paul’s explanation of the Divine redemption as it is presented in the first half of the Book of Romans. We will consider Paul’s presentation in four parts:
- Chapters Three through Five: the removal of condemnation.
- Chapter Six: the gift of the opportunity to attain to life.
- Chapter Seven: the presence of sin in our flesh.
- Chapter Eight: how to attain to the resurrection to life.
The Removal of Condemnation
In Chapters Three through Five of the Book of Romans the Apostle Paul tells us of the provision God has made for the removal of the condemnation that rests on every human being.
God has given His Son as a sin-bearer, as One who has made it possible for the Divine condemnation, which came upon mankind because of the disobedience of Adam and Eve, to be lifted from us. When we put our faith in the atoning (reconciling) authority of the blood of Christ, God removes all condemnation from us. We now are guiltless in the eyes of God.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Much more then, having now been justified [declared righteous] by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. (Romans 5:8,9)
This is the first step toward the goal of being made a new creation in Christ, a creation that does not, when it is finished, bring upon itself the judgment of God by what it is and does.
It is vain for any human being, after God has presented to him the slain Lamb, Jesus Christ, to seek to be made righteous in God’s sight by obeying the Law of Moses (or the principles of any other religion or moral code), or by obeying his conscience. God has given to the world His only Son as the sin-bearer, and God does not want us to attempt to circumvent His plan of salvation by attempting to make ourselves acceptable to Him by a plan of our own.
He who believes in the justifying blood of Christ has been forgiven his past sin and disobedience to God’s will.
This is de jure salvation—salvation by means of God’s legal provision for us. Through it we receive the authority to be children of God by virtue of God’s free gift of righteousness imputed (ascribed) to us. No actual deliverance from our sins has occurred but the important step of freedom from condemnation, from guilt, has taken place.
We have been delivered from the guilt of sin but not from the sin itself.
One could deduce, from Paul’s statements in Chapters Three through Five of the Book of Romans, that it no longer is necessary that we live a righteous life. We could assume that since God has decided to hold us guiltless on the basis of the substitutionary death of Jesus, and since Jesus lived a perfect life and His righteousness has been imputed to us who believe, it is not critically important how we behave.
The Gift of the Opportunity To Attain to Life
Therefore in Chapter Six of Romans, Paul teaches us that this conclusion (it is permissible for us to sin, now that God has forgiven us) is incorrect. Eternal life in spirit, soul, and body, that which was lost in the garden of Eden, now becomes our goal, and in order to attain to life we must choose to serve righteousness.
God does not just hand the fullness of eternal life to us as a gift on the basis of a de jure status. While it is true that we receive an initial touch of eternal life when we receive Christ, the complete inheritance of eternal life must be gained, must be sown, must be brought about through our interaction with the body and blood of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God. There must be a true repentance on our part. We must follow the Holy Spirit on the road to complete deliverance from unrighteousness if we would attain to the fullness of eternal life.
God gives to us through Christ the opportunity to attain to the fullness of eternal life in our personality, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection [Greek: out-resurrection] from the dead. (Philippians 3:11)
God gives to us the necessary authority and power so we may be able to lay hold on complete deliverance from the cause of death, which is unrighteousness.
There can be no lasting eternal life apart from actual (de facto) righteousness. There can be no Divine, eternal Life where sin and self-will are active, except as God is leading the believer toward deliverance from such behaviors. Imputed righteousness is a temporary provision.
Imputed righteousness is not the Kingdom of God but a provision God has made so faith-filled people may be able to press forward to the righteousness of behavior that is the Kingdom of God.
It is here in this concept of provisional, temporary righteousness that the nucleus of the error in current theology resides.
The error is as follows: imputed righteousness is an eternal blinding of God, an eternal negating of the Kingdom law of sowing and reaping, and we forever shall be sinners whose actual rebellion of personality is being overlooked through God’s mercy. Our sin and rebellion are being overlooked so we can abide in Paradise, in God’s Presence while we still are sinful and rebellious.
The truth is, the goal of our redemption is a de facto righteousness, a righteousness that governs our actions, our words, and our thoughts and imaginations. De jure (imputed) righteousness holds in full force only on the condition we are continuing in God’s will. God’s will always is bringing us toward complete freedom from sin and rebellion in spirit, soul, and body. It is only as we walk in the light of God’s will that the blood of the Lord Jesus cleanses us from all sin.
Christian scholars may understand in theory that de jure righteousness is a compensating righteousness that protects us until God delivers us from sin. But the central doctrine of redemption, which is actual sanctification and change into the image of Christ, is not always presented clearly, practically, emphatically in our day. Our deliverance from sin and self-centeredness is being relegated to an undefined time, an undefined place, and an undefined method. There does not seem to be an understanding that the Kingdom of God exists in de facto righteousness.
The result is, the believers do not maintain a vigorous pressing forward toward de facto righteousness. They are taught that God loves them so much He is anxious to bring them into His Kingdom whether or not they are dressed for the occasion (Matthew 22:12).
Far too much stress is placed on being clothed in imputed righteousness, in Christ’s righteousness. Far too little emphasis is being placed on our pressing into Him so His power and Nature can deliver us from sin and self-centeredness.
In the New Testament writings Paul sets forth the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith. But the major emphasis of his writings, and the writings of the other authors of the New Testament, is on our behavior as Christians. This is true from the Gospels to the Book of Revelation. Receiving Christ is an act of repenting of our former way of life. Receiving Christ is the God-given means of producing godly behavior in human beings, not a substitute for godly behavior.
Unrighteous, unholy, disobedient behavior brings wrath and death upon us. Righteousness of behavior, holiness of personality, and obedience to God bring eternal life upon us. The relationship between our conduct and God’s acceptance of us has remained true throughout the record of the Scriptures. To teach otherwise is to rebel against God and to lead one’s hearers to destruction.
Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.”
“I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.” (II Corinthians 6:17,18)
Under no covenant does God just hand eternal life to us. God, through the living Virtue that Christ Is, creates righteousness in us. The new creation receives eternal life as its natural inheritance and blessing.
There are a number of major misunderstandings in Christian thinking. The greatest misunderstanding, no doubt, has to do with the point we are making. The Christian salvation is not de jure deliverance from sin that results in de jure eternal life and a de jure kingdom. The Christian salvation is de facto deliverance that results in de facto eternal life and a de facto Kingdom of God.
Deliverance from sin and eternal life, are real, eternal, Divine actions and substances. Eternal life is not the same as eternal existence. Eternal Life Is the Lord Jesus Christ. He Is the Resurrection and the Life, and the Grace of God.
It is Christ, eternal Life, in us who delivers us from eternal death, from sin and self-seeking. The more of Christ we possess the more de facto (actual) righteousness we have and the more eternal life we have.
A redemption that remains de jure (a legal but not necessarily actual fact) is, from the standpoint of the Kingdom of God, worthless apart from the development of de facto transformation of character.
What kind of a city would the new Jerusalem be if the inhabitants were sinning and striving to please themselves at the expense of everyone else? They were without condemnation but still bound by lust and self-centeredness?
Paul, in Chapter Six of Romans, exhorts us to give all diligence to serving righteousness. We must serve righteousness. The serving of righteousness leads to holiness, and the outcome of righteous and holy personality and behavior is eternal life. The outcome of serving sin, on the part of the believer, is spiritual death.
Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? (Romans 6:16)
Our answer to Paul is, “No, Paul, we of the twentieth century do not understand whom we Christians are to serve or that if we who are called to be saints practice sin we will die spiritually. Neither do we understand that true righteousness and eternal life come only to those who walk in obedience to God.
“We have been taught that righteousness and eternal life are given to us solely on the basis of a profession of belief in Christ and that our behavior in the flesh is unrelated to eternal life. We see little or no connection between eternal life and our behavior.”
In this we are wresting Paul’s teachings to our destruction.
Again, Paul shows us the relationship between our behavior and the gaining of eternal life:
But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end [result is], everlasting life. (Romans 6:22)
“You have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.” “And the end everlasting life.” The end of holiness, not correct doctrine, not faith, not belief, not confession, but holiness, is everlasting life. The end of holiness!
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (II Corinthians 7:1)
If we Christians, having been found without condemnation through faith in the blood of the cross, and having been baptized in water as a testimony that we have died to sin and the world and have risen with Christ to walk in newness of life, then continue to serve sin, we will die spiritually. We will not attain to the resurrection to eternal life.
For the wages of sin [done by a Christian] is death, but the gift of God [for acting righteously] is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
It is not the gift of life, as of an undemanding gift, but the gift of the opportunity to attain to life, according to the context of Romans, Chapter Six. The gift of the authority and power to attain to eternal life is not in the possession of the individual who is not part of Christ, so we conclude that the text is not addressed to the unbeliever. Therefore the warning concerning the wages of sin is addressed to the believer.
Eternal life was lost to Adam and Eve because of their disobedience. God has given man the opportunity to regain eternal life through Christ by obeying Christ, not merely by announcing that Christ is the Son of God, the sin-bearer, the Lord that has been raised from the dead. It is in obedience to Christ as He leads us away from sin that we reap eternal life.
Salvation is deliverance from sin—from its guilt, its power, and its effects. We begin the process of salvation by obtaining, through faith in Christ’s atoning blood, freedom from condemnation, from guilt.
After we have been set free from condemnation we must press forward in the program of redemption. If we do not we will die in our sins. In this instance we have obtained forgiveness through the atoning death of Christ and then have turned back into bondage. Therefore we have not been redeemed from the hand of the enemy. We still are bound by the chains of sin. We shall die in the wilderness, so to speak.
But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. (Jude 1:5)
“Having saved… afterward destroyed.”
Many individuals who receive the Lord turn away from the Lord after a period of time. They enter salvation and then do not follow the Lord any longer. The New Testament Scriptures warn us of the danger of putting our hand to the plow and looking back, and the possible outcome of doing so.
For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.
For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. (II Peter 2:20,21)
The Christian salvation is infinitely more than a de jure state of freedom from condemnation. It is “the way of righteousness”—a way of living and behaving.
The Presence of Sin in Our Flesh
In Chapter Seven, of the Book of Romans, Paul explains that each of us—Jew, Christian, or heathen—has a compulsion to sin dwelling in our flesh. Truly, every human being is “shapen in iniquity” and conceived in sin (Psalms 51:5).
In Chapters Three through Five of the Book of Romans, Paul has shown us God’s plan for removing condemnation from us so we can be accepted of Him.
In Chapter Six, Paul explained to us that we must not interpret his teaching concerning freedom from condemnation to mean it no longer matters how we behave ourselves in this world. It is true that we have been set free from condemnation. Now we must walk in newness of life in the Lord Jesus Christ.
If we continue to sin after having been washed in the blood of the cross we will die in our sins. The wages of sin is death whether we are a Jew, a Christian, or an unbeliever. If we do not allow the Nature and power of Christ to break the hold of sin on us, we will die. The wages of sin is death!
God has offered eternal life to us through Christ. We must diligently lay hold on this life. We must, through Christ, overcome Satan and our own perverted personality for they continually are striving to prevent our deliverance from sin and death (I Timothy 6:12; Revelation 2:7).
In Chapter Eight of the Book of Romans, Paul tells us how to press forward in the pursuit of life, how to win the race for the prize of salvation.
Can you see the pattern? First, freedom from condemnation. Second, we must not continue in sin if we hope to attain to life. Third, it is a fact that there is sin dwelling in us (Chapter Seven).
Finally, in Chapter Eight, we are shown how to walk in Christ if we hope to achieve the redemption of our mortal body, if we would attain to the resurrection to life.
In Chapter Seven, Paul, who was reacting against the Judaizers (teachers who were attempting to combine Christianity and the Law of Moses), reminds the Jews of the inability of the Law of Moses to save us from our sins.
We have died to the Law of Moses, Paul proclaims, so legally we may be free to be married to Christ. The Law was not able to deliver us from our sins. Rather, the Law made our sins even more sinful. The Law emphasized our sin and in so doing brought condemnation and death to us.
It is stated today that if we have died to the Law of Moses we are free from the Law. We now are free.
The truth is, the kind of freedom we have is of a certain kind. We are not free to sin but only to be married to Christ.
We are free from the Law of Moses only if we truly have died to our first personality and life.
We are not just free. We are free to be married to Christ. There is a universe of difference between being free and being free to be married. There can be no fruit of righteousness brought forth until we are married to Christ.
In our minds we desire to serve God. We acknowledge that God’s Law is good and holy. But the sin that is in us insists on our sinning and disobeying God. Our mortal body is a body of sin and death. How can we be delivered from it?
Here is the question Paul raises in the seventh chapter of the Book of Romans: “How can I be delivered from the death that is in me, from the evil that is present with me? How can I attain to the immortality denied Adam and Eve because of their disobedience to God?
“I am in a battle. I am serving God with my mind but the law of sin is dwelling in my flesh. I desire to attain to eternal life but my body and human mind are waging war against me.”
Such a conflict exists in many religious people whether they are Jews, or Christians, or the adherents of some other religion—even in the righteous individual who is striving to meet the demands of his conscience.
Paul was speaking directly to the Jews, showing them the dilemma of the righteous man or woman under the Law. He (or she) has a desire to please God but the flesh is in rebellion. The Law brings sin to life and emphasizes it. The Law cannot deliver us from sin.
Paul suggests, in the second chapter of Romans, that the Jews of his day, like the Christians of our day, had fallen into the trap of considering their knowledge of the Law as constituting a de jure (if not a de facto) righteousness, while their actual conduct was not up to the standard of the righteous Gentile who was behaving according to conscience (Romans 2:13).
The Scriptures almost always stress de facto righteousness.
The conflict of Chapter Seven exists in the true saint, but the eighth chapter points toward the resolution of it.
The Christian life is a prolonged (and successful if we will follow the rules) warfare against sin. The goal of our warfare is eternal life, the resurrection to life. Paul pressed the battle until he had finished his course (Philippians 3:8-14; II Timothy 4:7,8).
I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. (Romans 7:25)
This is the condition of the Christian at the outset of his discipleship. He loves God in his inner man and seeks always to please Him. His flesh hates the ways of the Spirit of God. Satan and his demons strive day and night to provoke and deceive him into yielding to the appetites of his flesh.
Unlike the Jew under the Law, the Christian now has the Divine tools with which he can put to death the deeds of his body. Through Christ the bondages can be broken. Victory in every area does not come at once and so the blood of the cross covers those aspects of his personality that still are under the control of the enemy.
There indeed is victory in the area of immediate challenge if the saint walks in the Spirit, adhering to the rules of Christian conduct (praying, meditating in the Scriptures, worshiping with fervent believers, obeying the Lord, giving, serving).
If we, through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, continue to walk in the Spirit each day, not letting our hope and diligence weaken, going to God for help in our time of need, eventually we will overcome our flesh and Satan and will arrive at the resurrection to righteousness, immortality, and glory.
If we do not hold our confidence firmly to the end, do not continue to walk in the Spirit, do not adhere to the rules of Christian conduct, we will be overcome by our flesh and Satan and will await an uncertain future. The rewards go to the victorious saints.
How To Attain to the Resurrection to life
“and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. (John 5:29)
In the eighth chapter of the Book of Romans Paul shows us how to behave in order to attain to eternal life. He explains to us how to be saved from our sins, how to become able to dwell in the consuming Fire who is our holy God.
First, Paul reminds us we have been set free from condemnation. We always must keep this in mind or we will succumb to despair during the fierce strife we are compelled to engage in throughout our warfare. God always is present to forgive us and help us provided we are continuing in His Spirit.
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1)
Notice, in verse four of the eighth chapter, how de jure and de facto salvation work together to save us from our sins. Our freedom from condemnation (de jure status) holds true provided we follow the Spirit of God into actual (de facto) righteous behavior.
that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:4)
According to the above verse, the righteousness of the Law (of Moses) is not fulfilled in us who make an initial profession of Christ as Savior and then walk in the flesh, but in us who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.
The current Christian preaching often portrays our de jure status as a permanent, unconditional amnesty.
It certainly is not a permanent, unconditional amnesty according to numerous passages of Scripture.
If our imputed freedom from condemnation were a permanent, unconditional amnesty, holding true while we walked in the flesh in our self-will, the Kingdom of God would be a flimsy structure indeed.
In actual fact, the de jure freedom from condemnation is a legal device that the Judge of Heaven is employing in order to produce a new creation. When the new, actually righteous creation is not being created, the de jure freedom from condemnation is not achieving its intended purpose and will be withdrawn. We will be cut out of the Vine (John 15:2).
The Father stands waiting for the prodigal son to come home; but to come home a sadder, wiser young man, not a wild rebellious youth who will turn the family home into a den of uncleanness and confusion. Salvation has as its goal the creation of a holy city, not a hell to which God has assigned a de jure status of freedom from condemnation.
The condition on which we receive righteousness is in force when we walk not in the appetites of the flesh but after the Spirit.
God does not impute (ascribe) righteousness to believers who are walking in the ideas and lusts of the human personality. This is a clear statement of more than one passage of the New Testament. Yet, if we are hearing and reading correctly, the current Christian teaching is unashamedly to the contrary. “Salvation is unconditional,” the leaders of the churches announce. They advance their philosophical proofs to support their statements. But the written Word of God authoritatively, steadfastly, and eternally denies their claim.
If we do not walk in the Spirit, in the Light of God’s Presence and will, the blood of Jesus does not continue to wash us from our sins. Continuing freedom from condemnation depends on our abiding in Christ, in God’s will for our life.
But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another [with God], and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (I John 1:7)
Paul makes it clear that it is the Spirit of God who possesses the wisdom and power necessary for breaking the yoke of the law of sin that dwells in our flesh:
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2)
The law of the new covenant is “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.”
We are dead to the Law of Moses so we may be free legally to walk according to the law of the Spirit of life, not so we may continue in the appetites of the flesh without condemnation.
The authority for our deliverance comes from the blood of the cross. The wisdom and power necessary for our deliverance come from the Spirit of God.
As we pray each day, study the Scriptures, confess our sins to God and repent of them, meet with fervent Christians as we have opportunity, expose ourselves to and practice the ministries and gifts of the Body of Christ (again, as we have opportunity), and, in general, begin to cultivate the holy Seed of Christ that has been born in us, the Spirit of God leads us into victory over sin.
We do not gain victory in one day over all our sins. The process of redemption, which is the program of delivering us from the guilt, power, and effects of sin, is a protracted battle. We enter “Canaan” one city at a time.
We humans are profoundly corrupt, deeply rebellious against the Lord our Creator. Satan probes continually searching for the area of lust or self-will that will cause us to disobey God. Satan has not changed from the days of Adam and Eve.
It is important for us to keep in mind that while we are gaining the victory over sin and self-will, the blood of Christ keeps on maintaining our freedom from condemnation. The blood makes the difference so God can hear our prayers even though we, in our personality and behavior, are worthy of death.
The Spirit of God uses the two-edged sword of the Word of God to divide every area of our personality. Every detail of what we are and what we do comes under the intense scrutiny of Him who searches the hearts of all men to give to every man—saved and unsaved alike—according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings (Jeremiah 17:10).
God has given us His Son, His Spirit, His Word, many and varied gifts and ministries, and every other grace and blessing so we may be changed into the image of His Son. God is seeking a transformation of us, a complete redemption, a perfect salvation. In order to obtain this He is making all things work together for our good.
Our part is to obey the Spirit of God and the Word of God, as Christ helps us. We can overcome Satan and our corrupt nature if we will take advantage each day of the forgiveness and other provisions God has given us for that day.
The Nature of Christ is being formed in us. When it has been made perfect in us, every element having been refined, the Father and the Son will make Their eternal dwelling in us. Such is the exceedingly high calling for which we have been chosen. We must not neglect it.
If Christ is dwelling in us and we are praying, meditating in the Scriptures, assembling with fervent Christians as we have the opportunity, confessing our sins and repenting of them, giving, serving, and waiting on the Lord for His will each day, then there is eternal life in our inner man because of the righteousness working in us. The blood is keeping us free from condemnation, and actual righteousness (the Substance and Nature of Christ) is being created in us. Also, the Holy Spirit is dwelling in us.
Our sin-filled body remains dead because of its sin but the blood of Jesus keeps on covering our spiritual nakedness in the sight of God.
And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit [spirit; inner man] is life because of righteousness. (Romans 8:10)
It is our opinion that the word “spirit,” in the above verse, should not be capitalized. It is referring to our reborn spiritual nature, as we understand it. The contrast is not between our physical body and the Holy Spirit but between our physical body and our new Spirit-filled nature. Our outer, physical man is dead because of sin but our inner, spiritual nature is alive because of the righteousness of Christ both imputed to us and formed and dwelling in us.
Our mortal body, our flesh, is dead in the sight of God because of the sinful lusts dwelling in it. However, there is eternal life in our inner spiritual nature because of the righteousness of Christ. The Divine Substance of Christ is being formed in us and Christ Himself through the Spirit of God is dwelling in the new inner man that is being created.
The righteousness of God, which is Christ, is being formed in us and the Spirit of God is dwelling in us. Therefore there is eternal life in our inner nature although our body remains separated from God (dead) because of its sinful tendencies.
The Jewish feast of Firstfruits, which occurs during Passover week, typifies the initial portion of eternal life given us when we come under the Passover blood. We receive the blood of the Lamb, repent of our sinful behavior, and are given the firstfruit of eternal life—the Presence of Christ in our personality. We are born again.
Because we have the firstfruit of life in us our whole personality is holy to the Lord. If we do not turn back into the ways of the world, the day will come when our entire personality has been harvested. In that day, even our dead physical body will be filled with eternal life.
If Christ is in us, is being formed in us, is dwelling in us, there is an actual (de facto) righteousness, an actual eternal Life dwelling in us. Our righteousness no longer is only an assigned (de jure) righteousness. There is an actual righteousness of personality and behavior dwelling in the new creation being formed in us.
If we keep on serving righteousness, tending carefully to the growth of the Divine Life in us, putting to death through the Spirit of God the impulses of our body and our fleshly, human, soulish, self-centered reasonings, we will live in God’s sight being filled with God’s own Life.
The creating of eternal life in us is leading toward the hour when the inner salvation can be extended to include our mortal body. This is what is signified by deliverance from “the body of this death” (Romans 7:24). Paul was seeking the gift of eternal life—the redemption of his mortal body.
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. (Romans 8:11)
Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)
The bringing of Divine Life into our flesh and bones is the climax of the Christian salvation. The redemption of the mortal body will take place when the Lord returns from Heaven. If we hope for the redemption of our body when the Lord returns we must follow the Holy Spirit in putting to death the sins of the flesh and allow the Spirit to crucify our self-life so Christ may reign freely in us.
The redemption of the mortal body shall not take place for those who have continued to walk in their lusts and self-will, even though they name the name of Christ.
Believers who continue to live according to the appetites and impulses of their soul and flesh shall experience a resurrection to contempt and corruption.
De facto salvation includes the receiving of the fullness of eternal life in our spirit, in our soul, and in our body. It includes total deliverance from “the body of this death.” This is resurrection to eternal life.
In order to be raised and revealed with Christ at His coming we must be judged and found worthy beforehand (Revelation 3:4). We must, through Christ’s grace, make ourselves ready by practicing righteousness (Revelation 19:7,8). There will be no time for preparation when the Lord comes (Matthew 25:10).
It may be noted that Divine grace and mercy will not, in the Day of Christ, do away with the Kingdom law of sowing and reaping; although current Christian teaching contends they will. Rather, grace works in this present life when the sinner comes to God and seeks His mercy and help.
The resurrection from the dead is a revealing of what we have done in the body. The Scriptures speak of this fact, in several passages.
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2)
“and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. (John 5:29)
Paul addressed the “churches of Galatia” concerning the Kingdom law of sowing and reaping:
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. (Galatians 6:7)
The context of Galatians 6:7 reveals clearly that Paul is testifying to the members of the Christian churches, warning them that they will reap what they have sown in this world.
The wise believer is not seeking merely to be raised from the dead, for all human beings will be raised from the dead. The wise believer is seeking to attain to eternal Life—the Life that is in Christ and is Christ. If he has not attained to life, but has been overcome by sin and self-will, to be raised from the dead will be to have his nakedness revealed.
“Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.” (Revelation 16:15)
Christ came into the world so we may have abundant eternal life in spirit, in soul, and in body. First Christ frees us from condemnation. After that He leads us, through the Spirit of God, into the steps that enable us to be changed from our old personality into a new personality. It is the new personality that enters the Kingdom of God and is the Kingdom of God.
The new personality is filled with eternal life. Therefore God is able to extend the inner spiritual life into the dead flesh, within which it was formed, and cause the dead house to live!
Our mortal body will be made alive by God’s Spirit who already is dwelling in us (Romans 8:11).
If God’s Spirit is not dwelling in us, if there is no eternal life and righteousness in our inner man, how, then, can God extend His life into our flesh? It is not God’s intention to clothe an untransformed inner man with a body that is all Divine Life and power.
If we, after having received Christ as our Savior, walk in the thoughts and appetites of the flesh, we slay our own resurrection to life (Romans 8:13). We have not attained to the inner spiritual resurrection that—in the Day of Christ—makes possible the physical resurrection.
Either we are attaining to the resurrection to life or else we are sowing to the flesh and will reap a harvest of death. If we live after the ways of the flesh we will die.
The redemption of the physical body is very important in the plan of salvation. The redemption of the body is Paul’s goal (Romans 8:23).
But as significant as it is, the redeeming and glorifying of the mortal body does not approach in importance and priority the perfecting of the spirits of God’s kings and priests. It is that group of perfected spirits that make up the heavenly Zion, the Kingdom of God (Hebrews 12:23).
The spiritually immature, self-centered believers who are waiting for a “rapture” are not in harmony with the laws of the Kingdom of God. The Lord Jesus has no intention of clothing fleshly believers, undeveloped, self-seeking spirits, with the power and life of the first resurrection from the dead.
It is not a case of our earning or our deserving the resurrection to life. The issue is one of our attaining to life (Philippians 3:11). God in His mercy has made it possible for us, through the Lord Jesus Christ, to overcome the cause of death and to regain what Adam and Eve forfeited through their immaturity and self-centeredness.
Modern Christian teaching is asking God to change what He Is. By hoping to gain the blessing of God apart from righteous living we are seeking to change God. It is not only mercy we are requesting, it is a changing of the Nature and standards of the heavenly, of the Divine.
Modern civilization is like that. As the theory of democracy evolves in practice, people are able to overturn more of the laws that govern the conduct of men. Instead of bringing peace and joy to us, the result of removing laws is lawlessness and anarchy. By striving for personal freedom we are bringing ourselves into bondage. Some of the citizens of the wealthy democracies are destroying themselves (and others) by indulging the lusts of their flesh.
Only the slave of the Lord Jesus is truly free.
We should not want God to change. We should not desire that the Lord adapt to our sinfulness and self-centeredness, as the governments of the world have changed their laws to accommodate the lusts and whims of people.
God has not provided us with modified laws by which we can continue in our sins and still receive the rewards the Scriptures promised to the righteous, to those who do the will of God. Rather, God has made it possible for us to overcome sin and thus gain access to the tree of life (Revelation 2:7). God has given us of His Life so through that Life we may gain more Life.
There is a gulf between the current Christian doctrine of permanently gaining eternal life by imputed righteousness, and the doctrine of permanently gaining eternal life by obedience. It is obvious that one of the two concepts is not scriptural. Initially we enter eternal life on the basis of imputed righteousness. The purpose of the initial portion of life is to enable us to then move forward to the full achievement of life in our personality.
The believer who trusts in perpetual freedom from condemnation independently of his conduct, who does not press through in Christ to the perfecting of his spiritual nature, to the new creation, is not a candidate for the resurrection to life. If he were, Paul would not have warned the Christians in Galatia that those who live in the lusts of the flesh will reap corruption.
We are given to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God, only as through the grace of God we overcome the forces of darkness that always are seeking to prevent our deliverance from their power.
It is as we overcome the forces of darkness that we gain joy, authority, peace, eternal life, union with Christ, and all the other blessings of the Kingdom of God (Revelation 21:7).
When we have been delivered from sin and self-seeking in spirit, in soul, and in body, and when we have been brought into restful union with God through Christ in spirit, in soul, and in body, then we have been completely redeemed from the hand of the enemy. This is what the fullness of salvation is.
The making alive of our mortal body is a consequence of, and part of, such salvation; not a gift given to us independently of what we are in personality and behavior.
This is the true God and eternal life, as John says (I John 5:20). “We know that whoever is born of God does not sin, but he who is begotten of God keeps himself, and that wicked one touches him not.” (I John 5:18).
The Christian salvation is infinitely more than a de jure redemption by which we are saved in our sins.
The new covenant is not primarily a covenant of forgiveness but of deliverance and transformation. The result is a new creation and the eternally indivisible union of Christ and the Christian.
There is the de jure aspect of salvation in which God sees us as righteous because of the atonement made by Christ. Then there is the de facto aspect in which we are transformed into the image of Christ (Romans 8:3,4:29).
His name is Jesus, because He saves us from our sins. He saves us so we may dwell forever in the Presence of God and experience the perfect freedom of that Glory.
(“De Jure and de Facto Salvation”, 4327-1)