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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Two Kinds of Works, continued
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—NIV)
I am sure you can understand readily that an untransformed human being is useless as a stone for God's Temple, as a brother of Jesus Christ, as part of the Wife of the Lamb, as a member of the Body of Christ, as a judge of men and angels.
One of our problems is that we read a passage of the New Testament and assume because of our adoption of the "salvation formula" (the critic's term), what the passage states is automatically true of us.
For example, the Apostle Paul said if any person is in Christ he is a new creation. Christians go around saying they are new creatures and that they have been born again because "the Bible says so."
The truth is, they never have been born again and they are not new creatures. They are basically the same worldly, lustful, self-willed person they always have been. The New Testament talks about reality, not about a schizophrenic state in which the believer lives in an imaginary world waiting to be taken to never-never land to play a harp and walk around in golden slippers.
Do you remember Paul mentioning that he was travailing in birth again?
My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, (Galatians 4:19—NIV)
If there were no other verse in the New Testament, this statement alone would completely eliminate the "state of grace" position.
Now consider: the people Paul was addressing were saved and had received God's Spirit. They were as saved as anyone who has taken the "four steps of salvation."
And all the brothers with me, to the churches in Galatia: (Galatians 1:2—NIV)
I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? (Galatians 3:2—NIV)
If you maintain those whom Paul was addressing never had taken the four steps of salvation or had not received God's Spirit, do not read any further. Spend your time doing something that is more profitable and enjoyable for you.
The believers in Galatia were people who were "saved" as we use the term. According to current teaching they had become permanently identified with the righteousness of Jesus Christ. No action could "unborn" them.
If such is the case, what did Paul mean "until Christ is formed in you"?
Had they received Christ? Undeniably yes. Had they received the Holy Spirit? Undeniably yes.
Were they born again? Now here is the issue. Birth indicates something has been formed in the mother and then brought forth. Either Christ had been born in them and then aborted, or else Christ had only been conceived in them. If not, why was Paul in travail again that Christ would be formed in them?
It is crystal clear that having Christ formed in us is something other than taking the "four steps of salvation."
Paul was again in the pains of childbirth. Why? Because they were thinking of going back under the Law of Moses. What is the problem with this? If it is true that no action on our part can possibly jeopardize our "state of grace," why was Paul concerned?
To be continued.