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The Daily Word of Righteousness
The Afterlife, #6
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29)
One of the primary problems of contemporary thinking is the idea that the members of the Bride are brought to unblemished perfection by justification (forgiveness). This means that God regards us as unblemished, so we are unblemished regardless of our actual condition. This sort of thinking is split off from reality. It is spiritual schizophrenia.
If a man is a liar, he can come to God through Christ and God will justify him. This means his lies are all forgiven.
However, to forgive the liar accomplishes little in the Kingdom of God. It is deliverance from lying that is the Kingdom. Deliverance from lying is sanctification.
God justifies the members of the Bride. He accepts them in their worldliness, lust, and self-will.
Then the Spirit of God begins the long work of sanctifying the members of the Bride. The Spirit purifies them from worldliness, lust, and self-will. Then the Father and the Son come and dwell in them and the work of salvation has been completed.
Justification and imputed righteousness are not permanent ways of relating to God. If they were, then Jesus would have a Body whose members were worldly, lustful, and self-willed. Can you see that this is not a work of redemption, of restoring us to the image of God?.
It appears to me there is tremendous confusion today regarding the function of justification and then the function of sanctification. One cannot be sanctified until he has been justified. But to justify someone who then does not go through the lengthy program of sanctification is useless. If an unsanctified, morally untransformed individual were permitted to do so he or she would bring confusion and discord into the Kingdom of God.
But is it God's intention bring His elect to perfection? Notice the following remarkable statement.
These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 11:39-12:1)
The heroes of faith of the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews died in faith. They now are in Heaven above. Yet, they did not receive the promise of God. So it is clear that the promise of God is not permanent residence in Heaven.
What better thing did God plan for us so that only together with us could the saints of old be made perfect? Can you see that God's plan is to make all of His saints perfect? Only together with us can the Abraham and Moses be made perfect.
The perfection mentioned here includes:
Having the sinful nature destroyed and removed from us.
Having Christ come to the fullness of stature in us.
Dwelling for eternity in the center of God's Person and will, where Christ is now.
Having our flesh and bones raised from the dead and then clothed with a house from Heaven so that we are in the outward image of Christ.
Having our personality filled with the fullness of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Abraham and Moses do not have such fullness as yet. Neither do we, but we are pressing forward in Christ.
To be continued.