OK, I'm Saved.
Therefore, if anyone is in
Christ, he is a new creation: The old has gone, the new
has come! (2 Cor. 5:17). Only
let us live up to what we have already attained (Phil
These two verses summarize all that
the New Testament has to say about life after salvation.
Once we're saved, God sees us as a new creation.
Note the use of the past perfect tense in these
verses; the old has gone, the new has come, we have
don't make ourselves into a new creation, we have been
made into a new creation.
It's not a process we undertake through hard work
It's not even something that happens over time
through careful submission to the prodding of the Holy
has already happened.
Hebrews 10:12-14 clearly states that the
Lord's once-for-all-time sacrifice has made us perfect
forever. (Has made, not is making, or will make.)
Ephesians 1:13-14 says this
took place at the moment we believed, and the seal of
the Holy Spirit was given to us at that time to
guarantee our inheritance. 2 Cor.1:21-22 adds
that from then on it is God who makes us stand firm
He anointed us, set His seal of ownership on us, and put
His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit guaranteeing what
is to come.
This is an expansion of 1 Cor.
5:19-20, where Paul said we are not our own, but
have been bought at a price.
It means our destiny is no longer under our own
control but has been taken over by God Himself. If we
try to wander off, He will hunt us down and bring us
back, just like a shepherd brings back the sheep who
Sheep don't decide their own destiny.
The owner determines that, and it's the
shepherd's responsibility to make sure it happens. Read
again what Jesus said about this.
have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do
the will of him who sent me. And
this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose
none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at
the last day (John 6:38-39).
sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow
me. I give them eternal
life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch
them out of my hand. My
Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all;
no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I
and the Father are one” (John 10:27-30).
Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you
has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he
leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after
the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it,
he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then
he calls his friends and neighbors together and says,
‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’
Don't get the idea from this
that I think God decides who will be saved and who
goes against Scripture (1 Tim. 2:3-4, 2 Peter 3:9).
Remember, we don't become sheep until we choose
to become believers.
As believers, we're part of the
Good Shepherd's flock.
The destiny He has determined for us will come to
pass and believe me when I say it defies description.
He has been working for 2,000 years preparing the
place where we'll live with Him forever.
The primary building materials for our new home
are pure gold and precious gems (Rev. 21:18-20).
At a time that is unknowable in advance, except
that it will precede the coming end times judgments,
He will call us up to meet him in the air and
take us there, after which we'll always be with Him (John
14:1-3, 1 Thes. 4:16-17).
All this is well known to long
time followers of gracethrufaith.com, and is repeated
here for review, to refresh our memories.
The point of this study is to focus on our life
as believers between now and when He takes us to our new
home. If Jesus has done everything, and God has taken
ownership of us to make our destiny certain, what is
there for us to do?
Becoming What We Already Are.
This is where the second
reference I quoted above comes in.
In Phil 3:16 Paul wrote, “Only let us
live up to what we have already attained.” Once
again, note the past perfect tense in the phrase “we
have already attained.”
We don't have to work to get this.
We have already attained it. So what is it we've
In Galatians 4:4-7 Paul
said Jesus came to redeem us so we could receive the
full rights of sons.
This confirms John 1:12-13 which says,
Yet to all who did receive
him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the
right to become children of God—
children born not of natural descent, nor of human
decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
Paul went on to say that since
God has accepted us as His children, He has also made us
And that's not all. After telling us we were formerly
objects of God's wrath,
Paul wrote the following in Ephesians 2:4-7;
But because of his great love
for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with
Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by
grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with
Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in
Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might
show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in
his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
And again, please notice the past
tense of these verbs.
He made us alive,
He raised us up with Christ. He seated us with
God's perspective these things have already been
By saying that God seated us with
Christ, Paul was making reference to Ephesians
1:20-21 where he said,
raised Christ from the dead and seated him at His right
hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and
authority, power and dominion, and every name that is
invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one
So that's what we've already
attained. We've become God's children and His heirs, and
we've been seated with Christ at His right hand, above
every authority, every power, and every name.
As members of God's royal family,
we've been set free from the law of sin and death (Romans
But such freedom carries great responsibility.
In 1 Cor. 10:23 Paul wrote,
Everything is permissible, but
not everything is beneficial.
Everything is permissible, but not everything is
Then he said, “Nobody should
seek his own good, but the good of others” (1 Cor
As part of the royal family, we're
admonished to set the standard for appropriate behavior,
but not because we have to protect our status.
Our status has been guaranteed by God Himself.
We do this as representatives of our Lord, who
put the good of others above His own to the ultimate
extreme. Paul said although He was God Himself, He
didn't demand to be treated as God's equal.
Instead He became the humblest of men, a servant
to others, and was obedient even to death on a cross (Phil.
Contrast that with the attitude of
some men, who can never be God but demand to be treated
as if they are. The anti-Christ is the Bible's ultimate
model of that behavior, exalting himself above
everything that is called God or is worshiped, setting
himself up in God's Temple proclaiming himself to be God
(2 Thes. 2:4).
What If I Don't Do It?
Now before you get the idea I'm
trying to guilt you in to cleaning up your act, let me
state clearly that in the ultimate sense there's no
penalty for neglecting to live up to what you've already
You may live an unfruitful life here, but there is no
power in Heaven or on Earth that can ever take away your
status as a child of God.
Paul said even if every thing you ever do as a
believer is burned up in the fires of judgment, you'll
still be saved (1 Cor. 3:15).
According to Romans 12:1,
living up to what we've already attained is a voluntary
act of worship, an expression of our gratitude for the
mercy God has shown to us. Through all of Paul's
instructions on how to live a Christian life, there's
never a threat that failure to behave in a certain way
will cause us to be kicked out of God's family.
We can't ever lose our royal status.
By offering His body in payment for our sins the
Lord was performing a voluntary act of service to His
He refused to do so, He would still be the Son of God.
In the same way, offering our bodies as living
sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God,
is our spiritual act of worship. If
we refuse to do it we'll still be one of His
I can't tell you how much I wish
this had become the predominate teaching of the Church
in regards to Christian living, instead of the hell fire
and brimstone rants so many of us grew up hearing every
hear them talk, it seems like God loved us enough to die
for our sins while we still hated Him, but as soon as we
declared our love for Him, He became determined to make
us toe the mark and pay for every sin we ever committed
afterward. And if we didn't we would be disowned.
Maybe some of you are thinking of
verses you've heard that appear to refute this idea of
freedom in Christ.
But if they did, the word of God would be
contradicting itself, something that's impossible for
God to do.
We're not saved by grace, then kept by our own works. As
soon as you add work to the equation, grace is canceled
out. If our
behavior could be good enough to keep us saved, it would
have been good enough to save us in the first place, and
God would not have had to send His Son to die for us.
Why Did He Do That?
Jesus didn't die to make bad men
died so dead men could live. And He didn't just get us
started on the road to eternal life and then leave the
rest to us. He who began a good work in us will carry
it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil
Some would have us believe that the
presence of the Holy Spirit within us makes it
impossible for us to ever sin again.
But all we have to do is observe the Christians
around us to see that's not true.
The truth is that the Holy Spirit came to restore
our power of choice.
Unbelievers have no choice about their behavior
because they're only getting input from their sin
nature. Believers get input from both their sin nature
and the Holy Spirit and can choose which to accept.
But even then it's not a level
playing field because our sin nature's input is our
default choice. It's what
will always feel most natural to us.
We have to consciously choose to over ride the
sin nature's input to follow the guidance of the Holy
Spirit. That's why some call following the Holy Spirit's
input making a “contrary-to-feelings” choice. It's not
natural to us. Sometimes we forget to consider our
choices before acting and other times our natural
inclination carries such strong feelings that we ignore
the Holy Spirit's counsel.
This is when we sin.
Afterwards the Holy Spirit will
convict us of our sin, we'll feel remorse, and we'll ask
the Lord to forgive us. If we confess our sins, the
Lord is just and faithful and will forgive us our sins
and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John
The sin will immediately be forgiven and forgotten. God
can do this because His son has already paid the penalty
Listen to Paul's testimony of his
own experience with sin. “I know that nothing good
lives in me, that is, in my sin nature. For I have the
desire to do what is good but I can't carry it out.
For what I do is not the good I want to do; no
the evil I do not want to do – this is what I keep on
doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no
longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does
it” (Romans 7:18-20).
Paul said it was as if his spirit
and his body were at war. One delighted in God's law,
while the other made him a prisoner of the law of sin.
After admitting what a wretched man he was because of
this conflict, He concluded by expressing his thanks to
God for rescuing him from his body of death through
Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 7:21-25).
You can feel the emotions behind his words
shifting from extreme frustration to extreme gratitude.
This is a remarkable testimony and
explains why being saved does not mean we are no longer
able to sin.
Being saved means when we do sin, God no longer
counts it against us.
He is able to separate the believer from the
He sees the believer (us) as a new creation, free from
sin, and attributes the behavior to our sin nature,
which is not part of the new creation. Earlier in his
letter to the Romans, Paul wrote that King David
understood this would be the case a thousand years
before the Lord came to earth.
Quoting Psalm 32:1-2 he wrote,
Blessed are they whose
transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never
count against him (Romans 4:7-8).
When Paul admonished us to live up
to what we've already attained, he was telling us to
stop and think before we act and listen to the counsel
of the Holy Spirit.
From his own experience he knew we couldn't
completely rid our lives of sin, but he also knew that
living in a manner that's pleasing to God is the very
best way of expressing our gratitude to Him for making
us a new creation and giving us the incredible gift of
eternal life. Selah 04-06-13