How Did I Miss This?

by Pastor Curt Crist

“If you’re at all like me, you’ve wondered just what it would take to have God ‘on your side’ and to know that He isn’t ‘watching angrily’ as you stumble through bad decision after bad decision.  Anyway, far too many of my decisions were the result of my poor choices, actions, and attitudes that left no question as to whether they were right or wrong.  When will God finally say, ‘Enough is enough?’  When will the scales of God’s justice tip too off-center, and it becomes too late for me to make amends with an all-knowing Creator?  Is it already too late?  What does God expect of me?  Finally, how good must I be to make heaven?”   “I couldn’t get away from a conscience that kept telling me there was a God who knew all that I thought and did, and He was surely keeping score!  Wasn’t He?  If God was real (and I was sure that He was....), there was a lot weighing-in-the-balance as far as my eternal destiny was concerned.”  “There was no way of escaping these thoughts for me.  I could ignore them for a time, but I could never really make them go away.  Church teachings on the subject only added more ‘fuel to the fire’ in my mind.” A False Perception   “When all was said and done, it had come down to three main questions that had to be resolved in my mind:  What would it take to gain complete forgiveness from my sins?  How bad would I have to be to lose that forgiveness?  and  “How good would I have to be to keep that forgiveness?” 

 “I heard statements such as these:  ‘Commit your life to Christ in order to be saved.’ or ‘Come to the front and pray that God will save you.’ or ‘Repeat the sinner’s prayer.’  Thrown into the mix were such things as:  ‘Ask Jesus into your heart.’ or ‘Make Jesus the Lord of your life.’ or ‘Maintain a personal relationship with the Lord.’ or ‘Live for the Lord.’ or ‘Love the Lord with your whole heart.’  Being unsure of myself and of which one would really save me from my sin, I felt I could cover all the bases by trying my best at doing them all.  In my mind, I felt certain that I’d accepted Jesus as my Savior.”  “However, once saved….  How about future sin?  No matter the supposed avenue I took to gain salvation, I knew that sin was my ever-present companion.  Satan seemed to be working overtime to keep me on his team!  It was at this point in my life, and with a friend’s patient help, that I came across a passage in the Bible that helped me see Satan in a totally different light.”  In 2Cor. 11:14-15 the Apostle Paul said, “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.  Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”     “God is telling me in this passage that Satan is a deceiver, which came as no surprise!  How, though, could Satan be deceiving people through ministers of righteousness?  What would be their role?  I began to study the Bible with renewed interest. Is Satan’s poison prescription coming through religion?  I reasoned that if Satan has his own ministers, and those ministers are described in the Bible as ‘ministers of righteousness’, then I know I have to be certain that I haven’t been deceived from the very outset of accepting Christ as my personal Savior from sin.”

 “Satan is a great counterfeiter, according to the Word of God. Deception was his intention from the point of his own rebellion, as Scripture points out.  Also, he seeks feverishly to imitate God.”
 
For thou [Lucifer, now called Satan] hast said  in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will  exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will  sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in  the sides of the north:  I will ascend above the  heights of the clouds; I will be like the most  High [God]. (Isa. 14:13-14)
 
“I was beginning to look at Satan through different eyes.  I learned that his desire was (and is) to be LIKE the only supreme and eternal God.  Since God has ministers of His message of salvation, Satan surely has ministers of his FALSE message of salvation.  That false message must look very much like what I thought God’s message looked like.   After all, Satan’s message would be coming from ‘ministers’ of righteousness.  Had I been a victim of Satan’s poison salvation prescription?”    Am I Really Saved?  “One thing that stands out, thinking back to my past religious experience, is that I always pictured God as sitting in a judgment chair in heaven.  I just always knew that, at some point in my life,  God would have to make a decision as to whether or not He’d save me.  You may have had some of these same thoughts.  Of course, I wanted that decision to be YES, and this is where all the questions I talked about earlier came into play.  Anyway, I was led to believe that God’s decision would be ‘YES’, if I approached Him in the proper manner and with the appropriate mindset.”   'Had God really saved me in the first place?'  When did my salvation take place?  Would Satan (the great counterfeiter) want me to rely upon a religious experience in order to provide a time, in my mind, that would actually be a false time?  I was back to the same question, ‘When did God actually save me?’  Have you given that much thought?  Let’s first look at my problem with the sound teaching of God’s Word, the Bible, and the guidance of a pastor who wrestled with the same questioning mind as I had.  This Bible teacher victoriously came out from the battle with renewed praise for God who truly blesses all who come to Him in faith and then become students of the Bible.”  Man’s Problem -- Agape versus Myself-A  God is love, the Bible tells us.  In fact, God defines that word. Love, from the human perspective is quite different than love from God’s perspective.  Agape love (a type of love spoken of in the Bible) is always directed toward others rather than toward one’s self.  Furthermore, agape love is a sacrificial love that is willing to prefer others above self.  The proof of God’s love is evident in the giving of His Son to the world, and in the sacrifice the Son of God made for the world of sinners at Calvary.  Christ gave himself for us, as he took the sins of the world upon himself when he hung upon the cross.  Christ died FOR our sins, we’re told by our Grace Apostle Paul.  In 1Cor. 15:3-4 God said through Paul, “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died FOR our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”  Do any of us love enough to die in another’s place?  I’m sure many would die for a family member; and certainly most would die to protect their children; and some would even die for a friend. God’s agape love, however, goes far beyond that!    Let me give you an extreme example of one man’s love for another.  I think of the soldiers who have been willing to cover a live hand-grenade, thrown into a foxhole, with their body -- taking the hit for their comrades -- so that those with whom he was sharing that foxhole might live.  Is that not love?  Sure, it is!  Here’s a thought-provoking question, though.  Have you ever heard of a soldier who jumped out of his foxhole, ran across enemy lines, and then jumped into the foxhole of the enemy in order that the enemy might live?  Yet, is that not precisely what the Lord Jesus Christ did for His enemies?  Agape love says, “Yes!” In Rom. 5:10 the Grace Apostle Paul makes this amazing statement, “For if, WHEN WE were enemies, WE were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”      Do you mean that WE were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, even when we were enemies?  The answer, according to the verse we just read is, “Yes!”  You see, agape love works the same way in the matter of God’s forgiveness as the soldier in the enemies’ fox hole.  Forgiveness comes easy when it’s limited to words passing over lips.  When I think of forgiveness from man’s perspective, I cannot help but think of some of the Amish people.  The Amish
are an extremely forgiving people, we’re told.  Let me give an example.  Some of you may remember the tragic event that took place on October 6th, 2006, for which one news writer offered this report:
 
 “ONE year ago today, a shooter entered a   one-room Amish school in Nickel Mines, PA,   dismissed all but ten girls, and fired at them execution-style, killing five before shooting  himself.  Within hours, the Amish community  forgave the killer and his family.  News of the  instant forgiveness stunned the outside world, almost as much as the incident itself did.  As the father of a slain daughter explained, ‘Our  forgiveness was not our words, it was what we  did.’  Members of the community visited the  gunman's widow at her home with food and  flowers and hugged members of his family.  Amish people also contributed to a fund for the  shooter's family.”
 
 The folks of that Amish community are certainly to be commended for their loving attitude!  I believe we could all agree that the love they expressed to the family members of the one who had just slain their daughters went far beyond what many of us would do in that same circumstance.  We’d not be so forgiving. Many would cry out for justice to be served!  Life in prison, if not the death penalty, would be the appropriate measure of justice in most folk’s minds.  Yet, those suffering Amish parents expressed their forgiveness, even apart from the offender requesting that forgiveness.   My next statement is not to disparage the forgiving attitude of those grieving Amish parents:  Who of us would have done as much?  However, the questions that beg to be asked are these:  “Would any of those Amish fathers, mothers, or family members have been willing, had the murderer of their daughters not killed himself, to take that gunman’s place?”  If he had been sentenced to hang for his crime, would any of those Amish parents have allowed another of their own children to hang in his stead?”   You see, God’s love for us is far greater than the love we humans have for one another, even for those we love.  Christ is the fullness of the Godhead bodily, Scripture tells us in Col. 2:9. So, in a very real sense, God satisfied His justice for the sins of the world, as He made His own Son to be sin on our behalf.  Christ was on the cross in our place.  The punishment for our sins was being poured out upon Him as He hung there at Calvary, dying for our sins.  All the punishment our sins deserved was meted out on the person of our Savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  This, when we were yet enemies!  Does the love of any human being, save for the God-man Jesus Christ, measure up to God’s love?  This is what the Grace Apostle Paul was talking about with his present-tense statement, in Rom. 3:23b, that ‘...all come [are continually coming] short of the glory of God’.  No man measures up to the God who spoke the universe into existence!  No, not one!  No man measures up to God’s love, nor does anyone measure up to His standard of righteousness!  We ALL come desperately short.  Thus, our need for a Savior!  Myself-A, as I call it, the opposite of Agape (ah-gop-ay), is certainly a dreaded disease!  Everything we hear, everything we say, everything we do, is filtered through that sieve called Myself. “How did what was just said affect me?” or “How did it make me feel?” or “Did that person validate me?” or “Has my ego been injured?” or “What do I have to gain/lose in order to maintain a relationship with this person?”  So, you see, we hold some people near and dear, while at the same time, we keep other people at a distance.  It’s not that we can help it, either, because it’s the “disease within us”.  Each of us is sitting on the throne of his own life.  In more direct words....   When it comes to measuring up to WHO GOD IS (that is, when our thoughts, words, and deeds are weighed according to His glory and His righteousness) the entire human race is helpless and hopeless.  No one measures up to God!  Here it is again.  “For all have sinned, and come [‘are continually coming’ is the verb tense] short of the glory of God;” (Rom. 3:23)  God’s Answer to Man’s Sin Dilemma  “What I had missed for so many years had been sitting in God’s Word all that time.  I saw it as God’s Truth after becoming more of a student of the Bible. This next passage contains not only God’s solution to man’s (my) sin problem, but it also contains God’s answer to man’s (my) lack of measuring up to His holy righteousness.”  My pastor friend continued by our first looking at God’s solution to our sin problem in the Scripture, 2Cor. 5:18-19.    And all things are of God, who hath reconciled  us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to  us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, [that is  to say] that God was in Christ, reconciling THE  WORLD [of all mankind] unto Himself, not  imputing THEIR trespasses unto THEM; and  hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.   If what God had inspired the Apostle Paul to write in these verses is correct -- and we can be certain that it is -- then God is not imputing (counting) the sins of the world to the world of sinners today.  This begs the question:  Are we to be telling the unsaved that God is continuing to hold their sins against them, but that He can cease doing so?  Was that the message committed to the Grace Apostle Paul --and to us -- to take to the world?  Or, as Paul has so clearly stated, are we to tell the unsaved of the world that God was in Christ, reconciling THEM to Himself, and that He is NOT imputing THEIR trespasses unto THEM?  A simple but careful reading of this marvelous passage, telling of God’s grace, provides the answer.  Let’s read it once again.  “…God was in Christ, reconciling THE WORLD unto himself, NOT imputing THEIR trespasses unto THEM; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”   As you can see, the Apostle Paul called this, speaking to believers, “the word [message] of reconciliation” […“the ministry of reconciliation”] in this same sentence because this is the message God has commissioned all who have come to accept the truth of the successfulness of his Son’s cross work to take to those who have not yet heard this glorious good news:  Jesus Christ bore the punishment of their sins upon Himself, and that that punishment was death.  He bore all mankind’s sin and their punishment of death (Rom. 6:23) when they were yet enemies.  It is this “word of reconciliation” that we are to take to the world, and it is this “word of reconciliation” that Paul refers to as “the glorious gospel of the blessed God”, noted in the Scripture of 1Timothy 1:11.  Paul also referred to this message as “the gospel of Christ” in Rom. 1:16 and in 2Cor. 4:4; and as “my gospel” in Rom. 16:25, in which God led him to write, “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,”   I asked my pastor friend, “Why is not God imputing the sins of the world unto the sinners of the world today?  He told me that this has now been answered.  God did not leave us without this information, as He provided it in verse 21 of the same passage we’ve been studying.  “For He [God the Father] hath made Him [Christ Jesus] to be sin FOR us, who [Christ] knew no sin; [so] that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (2Cor. 5:21) My Bible-teaching pastor friend continued with verse 21.... God’s Great Transfer  The reason God is not counting (imputing) men’s sins against them is because He counted (imputed) the sins of all mankind against His Son.  When His Son was made to be sin FOR (in place of) the world, He suffered the Father’s judgment against all of mankind’s sin -- past, present, and future!  It’s as simple as that!  In other words, God the Father transferred (imputed, which means “assigned to the account”) all the sins of mankind to Jesus Christ at Calvary.  Christ died FOR those sins in that God meted out, upon His Son, the punishment those sins deserved!  There has never been a greater sacrifice than the sacrifice the Son of God made when he died FOR our sins upon the cross.   Please notice carefully.  The reason God isn’t imputing the world’s sins to the sinners of the world is NOT because He’s storing up those sins for a future day of judgment when He will transfer those sins off of His Son and back onto the sinners of every age.  We can say with all certainty that God will not collect a debt twice.  The sin debt of the world of all mankind has already been paid in its entirety, and God the Father was completely satisfied with the payment His Son made for past sin, present sin, and future sin in the world.   In 1John 2:2 the Kingdom Apostle John, who had learned of Paul’s message of God’s work (reconciliation) at Calvary, wrote these words by the inspiration of God.  He said, “And He [Christ] is the propitiation for our [Israel’s] sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”  In 1 John 4:10 the apostle wrote, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”  The word translated, “propitiation”, in the Kingdom Apostle John’s first epistle comes from the word meaning “compensation”.   It means “a fully satisfying payment”, as our Grace Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Tim. 2:6. Paul penned God’s words, “Who gave Himself a RANSOM [a payment] for ALL, to be testified in due time.”  Was the payment Christ made a sufficient payment, or was it not?  According to God’s Word, it certainly was a sufficient payment!  The fact that no future payments for sin would be necessary (or permitted) is the reason the author of the book to the Hebrews, in Heb. 9:26, could write this.  “For then [if future payments were necessary] must He [Christ] often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now ONCE in the end of the world [better, age] hath He appeared to PUT AWAY SIN by the sacrifice of Himself.”  If everything we’ve already read is true, the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished everything He set out to do.  He put away the sins of the world when He sacrificed Himself for those sins.  We might also note these words, written in Heb. 1:3, “Who [Christ] being the brightness of His [the Father’s] glory, and the express image of His [the Father’s] person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He [Christ Jesus] had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;”  If Christ had not accomplished what his cross work was designed to accomplish where the sins of the world are concerned, then the risen, ascended Lord of glory would NOT be sitting “on the right hand of the Majesty on high”.  The fact that we serve a risen ascended Savior is proof that Christ was successful in what he had come to do.  Little wonder our Grace Apostle Paul called this good news “the glorious gospel of Christ”.   The word “gospel” simply means “good news”.  Could the world of all mankind ever be given news better than the great news that God is not imputing their sins to their account because He imputed all those sins to the person of His Son?  Having put those sins away forever, it is no longer an issue of what God CAN DO where men’s sins are concerned, but an issue of what God’s Son, Jesus Christ, has already done.  What Does That Mean?  “Knowing that all the sins of the world of humanity were transferred onto Jesus Christ at Calvary is an unfathomably wonderful message!  Does this now mean, however, that everyone will go to heaven?”  My pastor friend answered that question, too.  He told me the answer is a resounding, “NO!”  This good news must be BELIEVED in order for that person to be able to dwell with our Savior.  At the point of a person’s belief, another great transfer takes place -- the transfer necessary for eternal life.  This is NOT the transfer of our sins to Christ.  That transfer took place over 2,000 years ago, whether that wondrous news is believed or not!  This is a transfer of an opposite kind.    To explain this great transfer, we might think back to Adam and Eve after their rebellion in the garden.  When Adam rebelled against God (and Adam willingly did so), God supplied a sacrifice for Adam and Eve’s transgression.  That sacrifice was an animal sacrifice that pictured an innocent victim’s blood having been shed as it died for (or,in place of) the guilty.  It was God’s picture of Calvary.   Studying further, we should note that Adam hadn’t measured up to the righteousness belonging to God, even before his rebellion in the garden.  They were corruptible human beings, while God is incapable of being corrupted.  Transferring their transgression to the one being sacrificed on their behalf was one thing; but being made as righteous as God Himself was quite
another thing altogether.  Do you remember what Adam and Eve set out to do?  When Adam and Eve realized their unrighteous condition they sewed fig leaves together in an attempt to cover their nakedness or, their unrighteous condition.   We might call their futile efforts “fig-leaf righteousness”. (Unfortunately, fig-leaf righteousness is still being conducted in our day.  Men attempt to cover their unrighteous condition through various types of “good works” done for the purpose of appearing righteous before God.)  However, God refused to accept the sewing attempts of the first parents in the garden.  Instead, God clothed Adam and Eve -- He covered their nakedness in the skins of His sacrifice for them.  Gen. 3:21 tells us, “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.”   Their attempt to appear righteous before God hadn’t worked to make Adam and Eve righteous.  In like manner, the attempts of men to appear righteous before God today, through their religious works, will not make those men any more righteous before the Lord than had the fig-leaf efforts of our first parents in the garden.   In order for Adam and Eve to appear righteous before God, He had to do something for Adam and Eve.  This was not something that they could do for Him, but something He had to do for them.  God was the One who had to cloth them, according to the Scripture we’ve just read.  The same is true today.  In order to be righteous before God, a person must be “clothed in the skins of His sacrifice.  This is not something a person does for himself, or for God, but something that God does for the person.  

Clothed Upon With Righteousness  “I asked, How does this clothing operation take place?  What is the clothing?  Who is clothed upon?”  My friend went on to say  that having already settled the issue of who paid the price to take our sins away -- an accomplishment of Christ at Calvary -- the question now becomes, Who will God cloth in the skins of His sacrifice for them?  The answer is, ONLY those who  believe that Christ successfully paid the price to take their sins away at Calvary will be clothed by God.  Only those who believe the Bible’s good news concerning Christ’s Calvary accomplishment where their sins are concerned are “baptized INTO Christ”.  Being baptized INTO Christ is a miraculous spiritual transaction that is performed by God, the Holy Spirit, when a person believes the Gospel of Christ.  This is not a baptism that is felt, seen, or heard, nor does this baptism have anything to do with water.  This spiritual baptism is absolutely true, nonetheless, as the Bible records in 1Cor. 12:13.  Our Grace apostle wrote God’s words, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”  You might wonder how this Holy Spirit-performed baptism is connected to the “clothing” mentioned earlier.  The Apostle Paul provides the answer in Gal. 3:27.  He wrote, “For as many of you as have been baptized INTO Christ have PUT ON Christ.” It is this “spiritual baptism” (identification) INTO Christ that joins all believers to the person of the Savior.  This is how God is able to make the judicial decree that those who have believed the gospel of Christ are as righteous as the Godman himself.  In a marriage between one man and one woman, two individuals become “one flesh”, the Bible tells us.  This one-flesh relationship is likewise true of all who have trusted that Christ paid their sin debt at Calvary.  The Apostle Paul speaks of this “one flesh” relationship in Eph. 5:30-31.  Our apostle wrote, “For we [believers] are members of His [Christ’s] body, of his flesh, and of his bones.  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.”    From a legal standpoint, one man and one woman have become “one flesh”, what belongs to one member of the marriage relationship belongs to the other.  This is equally true for those who are joined to Christ.  In our oneness with him, what belongs to our Savior now belongs to those who are joined to the Savior, and one of the things that belongs to Jesus Christ is perfect righteousness.  In 1Pet. 2:22 the Kingdom Apostle Peter, speaking of Jesus Christ, said, “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:”  The Kingdom Apostle John was in total agreement with Peter, as seen in his words of 1John 3:5, “And ye know that He [Jesus Christ] was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.” This brings us right back to our passage in 2Cor. 5:18-21, in which we learned that God is not imputing the sins of the world to the world of sinners.  According to the Grace Apostle Paul, Christ’s accomplishment at Calvary, of taking away the sins of all mankind, made possible a divine purpose that God had known about and planned from before the foundation of the world.  That purpose was that those having their sin-slate cleared by Christ at Calvary might be joined to the One who came to put their sins away, thus making what belongs to Christ (His perfect
righteousness) something that now belongs to those who are “joined to Christ” at the moment of their personal faith.  This is God’s judicial decision, and it is a believer’s spiritual position in Christ. You might think of it as having “Christ’s test score for righteousness placed on your paper in heaven”.  Christ’s righteousness is freely attributed (imputed) to the account of anyone and everyone who believes that what Christ came to do at Calvary -- put away their sins -- He accomplished successfully. This is what our Apostle Paul was talking about in our earlier passage.  Let’s read 2Cor. 5:21, once again.  “For He [the Father] hath made Him [Christ] to be sin for us, who [Christ] knew no sin; [so] that we MIGHT be made the righteousness of God IN Him.” To sum things up let me ask you, “Where were YOUR sins dealt with?”  God dealt with your sins when the Son of God died on the cross (on your behalf) paying the price FOR your sins at Calvary.  Christ appeared on earth to “put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself”, according to Scripture.  If the Bible is to be believed, the Son of God accomplished what He came to do.  Your sins were judged successfully when Christ was judged for them. All of God’s work to save you has already been done, and Christ is One who has done it at Calvary!   When you believe that Christ accomplished what He came to do (put away YOUR sins by the sacrifice of Himself), the Holy Spirit performs a miracle in your life by JOINING you to the Savior who died for your sins, and was buried, and rose again from the dead.  Being “IN CHRIST” is how God MADE YOU to be His own righteousness.  Christ’s righteousness is now YOUR righteousness if you are IN HIM.  

Notice, once again, WHEN (The word, “when”, in Rom. 5:10 is indicating the need for God’s gracious action toward spiritually lost mankind.  God met that need at a time in history -- at His Son’s crucifixion.) God reconciled any person -- the whole world -- unto Himself.  Let’s again read that verse in which our Grace Apostle Paul wrote, “For if, WHEN WE were enemies, WE were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”   God had to be identified with man in order to die effectually for his sins.  Men must now be identified with Christ’s resurrection life in order in order to have HIS GIFT of justification to eternal life.  God’s mind is forever settled as to the all-sufficiency of the cross work of His Son to have “put away sins”.  On that, God’s mind will never, and can never, change.  (Calvary was in accordance with His determinate counsel and foreknowledge.)   The only minds that need changing now are the minds of those who have yet to accept what God believes to be true about the justice-resolving accomplishment of the cross work of His Son where their sins are concerned!  The entire world has been reconciled to God by the death of His Son for ALL sins.  Paul could not have penned God’s words and thoughts any more clearly than he did in Col. 1:21-2, in which he wrote, “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled, in the body of His flesh though death....”  This tells us that God is not waiting to save people, nor is He waiting for something further to be done for their sins.  Rather, He is waiting for those, for whom His Son died (all mankind), to believe to be true in their minds that which is true in His mind. 

The Apostle Paul spoke to the issue of believing in 2Cor. 5:20.  Paul wrote, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”   The moment a person takes God at His word by faith (that God ceased counting his sins against him when His Son paid for the sins of the world at Calvary), that person is immediately placed INTO Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit.  That person is thereby justified -- declared to be righteous by a gift decree of God’s justice -- unto eternal life.  Here’s a question, Pastor.  Did Calvary cover the sin that was so rampant in the world during the time in history before and after the world-wide flood in Noah’s day?  Yes, but those people rejected God totally, even in their mind.  Rom. 1:18-23 describes them, and the way they rejected the truth.  Even though knew God, they glorified Him not.  Therefore, God didn’t impute His righteousness because of their unbelief.  Can Justification Unto Eternal Life Be Reversed?  The resurrection of Jesus Christ, after His sacrificial death at Calvary, is God’s guarantee of the justice- resolving cross work of His Son where sins are concerned.   The sealing ministry of the indwelling Holy Spirit is God’s guarantee that those who have believed in Christ’s Calvary accomplishment can never be lost.  The apostle to whom God gave the stewardship for His heavenly redemption plan penned a beautiful verse in Scripture, telling us of God’s unchangeable guarantee.   Our Grace Apostle wrote, “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise,” (Eph. 1:13)


Have you taken God at His Word that Christ put away your sins at Calvary?   Accepting this Truth places you into Christ.   Only then are you justified unto eternal life by God’s imputing His own righteousness to you.  God’s righteousness, through Christ Jesus the Lord, will allow you to spend eternity in His glory of heaven.  “How did I miss this?!?!  Thank you, Pastor, for showing me God’s amazing grace in the Bible!  The Lord’s grace allowed me to answer question after question after question as I came to realize that, not only is forgiveness of sin a settled issue, but that God also sees me as being the total righteousness of His Son!  All the answers I sought were found in the Word of God.  My pastor friend assured me that after I believed God’s cross work, through Christ Jesus, I was sealed into my Savior, and fitted for an eternity with Him in heaven!  Salvation in Christ is gained and kept by faith plus nothing on my part!