Human Plight and God’s Solution: Part 3

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, November 1, 2017 0 comments

by David Odegard

To catch you up in case you missed them, here is a summary of part 1 and part 2 of this series.

Long dead lay the world, enticed to dark appetites by the ruler of this present age. Humanity was hopelessly plunged into rebellion and disobedience toward God. Each person lived to establish his or her own sense of what was right, but they ceased to recognize that the standard of right and wrong was permanently affixed to God's unchanging holiness. Because of this, the world was plunged into anarchy from God. Moreover, these sins and transgressions created a cycle of sin and death from which no person could escape. Somehow, someone from outside had to break in and bring deliverance.

Though God owed nothing but judgment and damnation to these rebels, He graciously opened a way of salvation to them that they might have opportunity to escape. He did this by virtue of Christ's merit applied to those who received His gracious gift by faith in order to blot out all the traces of rebellion and shame from those who believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This act of God was based solely on His own mercy, since it could not be earned by anyone.

God made believers alive in Christ. He gave them a completely new identity, gave them victory over the ruler of the spirit of the air, gave them a new position in realized eschatology all to showcase his great kindness and grace. None of these things were earned by the recipients of grace, so that none of us can boast like we did something great to earn our place with God.

This offer from God to be made alive in Christ has to be received as a gift, and it has life-altering and everlasting consequences. Since each believer has been identified by the resurrection of Christ, each one must embrace the judgment satisfied in Christ and the gift of new life substitutionally, that is we trade places with Christ. He takes our sin and endures our judgement on the cross and in return gives us His righteousness and His place in the family of God. Each one now has the obligation to live out a life that reflects Christ' s values.

This is the essence of resurrected life.

Not only do we have an individual salvation, but there is also corporate element which is fulfilled in each believer’s participation in the church. God places "good works" upon the whole church as a command for the body of believers to perform. God is making a new society, the church, which is based on individual and corporate fidelity to Christ. The Christian life begins with individual salvation, but Jesus is accomplishing His mission on earth through the local church.

God's mercy and love are still expressed in Christ. His offer of justification still stands. God calls out to all on the earth to repent and believe the good news that we may escape the world, the flesh, and the devil. We can be transferred out from under the dominion of the devil and into the kingdom of God through divine grace.

Once having believed, each of us are built into a corporate body of believers wherein we are responsible to love and serve as Christ commands us. And even though we cannot hope to earn or deserve this status and position that we have been given, we are to "live up" to our high calling through faithfully working the works that God has prepared in advance. This is merely “our reasonable act of worship” and does not constitute meritorious action toward our standing in salvation that God has lavished upon us.

God's new society, the church, stands in utter juxtaposition of the ruler of the kingdom of the air and the sons of disobedience. It is marked by God's character and resurrection power. By this means, God shows His incomparably great power toward us and to all others who observe His grace in operation to save us poor sinners and give us a new destiny and purpose. Our good works testify of God's love to the world and call everyone to glorify and honor God for his kindness.

Ephesians 2:1-10 says: “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

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