The Daily Word of Righteousness

Doing Away With Sin, #2

To make her holy, cleansing  her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. (Ephesians 5:26,27—NIV)

Could you imagine a Bride of the Lamb that consists of believers who are forgiven but not transformed morally, who are not new creatures except by an assigned righteousness? I doubt that you picture the new Jerusalem as being a city of sinful people.

So even those who hold to the concept that the new covenant is a better covenant only to the extent of a longer lasting forgiveness must admit that somewhere, at some point, an actual deliverance and transformation must take place.

By deliverance we mean control over the impulse to sin and ultimately the removal of the source of the sin from us.

By transformation we are speaking of the death of our adamic nature; the forming of Christ in us; the coming of the Father and the Son to dwell in the new nature that has been formed in us; and finally the resurrection of our physical body and the clothing of it with a house of eternal life from Heaven—a robe of righteousness that of itself desires righteousness, holiness, and stern obedience to God.

Total forgiveness. Total deliverance from all that is of Satan. Total transformation into the moral and physical image of Jesus Christ. All these are contained in the Christian salvation.

There has been some unscriptural guessing concerning how and when such deliverance and transformation shall occur, supposing we shall be made perfect instantly by dying or else by Divine power when the Lord appears. We will discuss in a moment the issue of how and when we are made new righteous creations.

The New Covenant Is Not Just a Better Forgiveness

First of all, let us put an end to the assumption that the Israelites were not actually forgiven under the old covenant.

And do with this bull just as he did with the bull for the sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for them, and they will be forgiven. (Leviticus 4:20—NIV)

"And they will be forgiven." This expression appears several times in Leviticus and Numbers, referring to the atonement made by animal sacrifices.

The term "forgiven" is an absolute. Either the Israelites were forgiven or they were not forgiven. To teach that the new covenant is merely a better forgiveness is to suggest that, unlike the old covenant under which forgiveness lasted only from sacrifice to sacrifice, the new covenant offers a state of forgiveness that endures forever no matter what we do. This concept, expressed or implied, seems to permeate Christian thinking.

While the idea of eternal forgiveness might be a logical interpretation of the reasoning in the ninth and tenth chapters of the Book of Hebrews, it still does not answer the question of when and how the actual transformation of our personality will take place. Also, it most assuredly is not in line with the majority of the statements of the Gospel accounts, the Epistles, and the Book of Revelation.

To be continued.