The Scriptures are very clear that this is actually not the case. Instead what we see is that the Bible is always reading in terms of us being ‘dead’ or ‘alive’. This is an important point to consider about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, otherwise we can be caught up in wrong teaching about Salvation and placing our ongoing sanctification after our moment of Salvation back in as a requirement of our justification with God through Christ.
In Luke 15, Jesus tells us of the story of the Prodigal Son who returned home. He had taken His Father’s inheritance early and went away doing all sorts of wrong living until the money ran out and he found himself in a pig’s pen eating as the pigs did. It is then he came to his senses and knowing he was very wrong in what he did he went back to his Father’s house to tell him that he was not worthy to be his son and ask if he could live as one of his servants. Yet as he approached the estate he seen his Father a long way off running toward him who then embraced him lovingly, without even hear what had happened to the son. We see what happens when his brother who never left his Father’s side all this time sees this and gets upset.
“21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
24 For this my son WAS DEAD, and is ALIVE AGAIN; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.
26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.
27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.
28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.
29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:
30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.
31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.
32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother WAS DEAD, and is ALIVE AGAIN; and was lost, and is found.” (Luke 15: 21-32 KJV)
In verse 24 and 32, one might expect it to say something along the lines of ‘the son had gone BAD and now has become GOOD’ but that is not what the text reads. Instead Jesus uses the contrast of one who is DEAD who has become ALIVE. This is the theme we start seeing throughout the Scriptures in regards to our Salvation and Justification with our loving God.
We see this again in this passage of Scripture:
“And you, being DEAD IN YOUR SINS and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you ALL TRESPASSES; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, NAILING IT TO HIS CROSS; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” Colossians 2:13-18 KJV)
And in this wonderful passage of good news for believers the word ‘ALL’ in the Greek is Strongs # G3956: πᾶς pâs, pas; including all the forms of declension; apparently a primary word; all, any, every, the whole:—all (manner of, means), alway s), any (one), × daily, + ever, every (one, way), as many as, + no(-thing), X thoroughly, whatsoever, whole, whosoever.
This word ‘ALL’ is telling us ALL our sins committed in the past, present and also in our future have all be paid for by Christ on the cross. ALL MEANS ALL.
If our Salvation had a requirement that we are changing from a bad person to a good person through our own efforts, even if done in gratitude for what Christ has done for us, that is a false teaching because it is Christ who paid for our sins – not us after our Salvation. We cannot be the mediator between man and God. That position is reserved for Jesus Christ alone.
“For there is ONE God,and ONE mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself A RANSOM for all, to be testified in due time. (1 Timothy 2: 5-6 KJV)
I love the Book of Hebrews and in Hebrews 10:14 is a very clear statement regarding our Salvation through faith in Christ alone:
“For by ONE OFFERING he hath PERFECTED FOR EVER them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;” (Hebrews 10:14-16 KJV)
I ask you, who gave this ONE OFFERING? Was it you or me? No it was Jesus Christ on the cross. Being a ONE offering that perfected us for ever, do we then make being a good person after our Salvation a requirement of staying saved? I am making a point here because it is so important to understand. Christ paid it all my friends!
On the cross Jesus cried out “IT IS FINISHED”. And of you look at the Greek it literally means ‘DEBT PAID IN FULL’. What debt? Our debt of sins against God. Jesus did not make a partial payment on that cross! He made a FULL and COMPLETE payment for the sins of the WHOLE WORLD and as we read Jesus’ own words,
“…whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:15-18 KJV)
Apostle Paul tells us the very same thing stating very clearly that “…he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be MADE the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV) You see, we are MADE the righteousness of God in Christ; not that we work our way to being a good person in hopes of becoming nor staying righteous positionally before God. That is a very big difference!
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10 KJV)
The word JUSTIFIED as used in the Scriptures is an interesting word. In Greek it means ‘to declare, pronounce, one to be just, righteous’. So this is God declaring a person is justified and righteous once they believe on Christ alone for their Salvation.
Salvation and Justification with God are only by BELIEF and FAITH in the only atonement available for our sins which is Christ crucified. Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, who is God in the flesh who was born of the Virgin Mary, who, as God, lived a sinless life in thought and deed and then willingly gave His life on the cross as a sacrificial payment for the sins of the whole world. All who believe this can have full assurance of their eternal Salvation and the Scriptures I mention above (plus so many others in the Word of God!) make this clear.
When Did You Die?
If you are reading this you are probably acknowledging that you are NOT DEAD YET! Right? Yet, if you believe on Christ as your Savior you are actually now dead! You already died when Christ died o the cross 2000 years ago.
Apostle Paul makes this amazing statement,
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20 KJV)
When Jesus died on that cross, He took our ‘old self’, our ‘old man’, and nailed it to the cross with Him and paid for our sins in our place. And so, when Jesus rose from the dead, so did we rise to newness of life. A believer’s eternal life does not start at our physical death. No. The above verse shows us that it starts from our very moment of Salvation and belief on Christ!
Christ truly does live within us now through the comforter; The Holy Spirit. From our very moment of belief on Christ we are SEALED and given an ‘earnest’ (which means ‘guaranteed down payment’) that one day we will receive our new resurrected bodies, free from the sin nature we struggle with right now.
“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, Which is the EARNEST of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1: 13-14 KJV)
Apostle Paul tells us this same thing and adds that once we recognize this truth, it should encourage us to start living as our NEW SELF, our NEW MAN. The ‘old self’ has died with Christ on the cross and our newly created Spirit has become the REAL US now. This is the Doctrine of the Two Natures of a Believer as Paul taught in Romans 7. We are a newly created spirit yet we have The Flesh, our sinful flesh body not yet resurrected and it causes a struggle between the new us, that is our ‘new self’, and the sin nature of the body with it’s lusts.
Paul show this in a beautiful way in Romans 6,
“For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:7-11 KJV)
So to summarize:
1. Our ‘old man’, our ‘old self’ DIED on the cross as believers.
2. We should be living our lives in the light that God has MADE US the very righteousness of God , IN CHRIST. Our ‘new self’. BELIEVE THAT!
3. We are FREED from the penalty of our sin because all our sins, even future ones, were all nailed to the cross and paid for in full by Jesus The Christ.
4. We are called UNTO good works and right living after our Salvation because we are now in Christ and He is living through us in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Yet, these good works and deeds and right living are not requirements of our justification with God. Apostle Paul tells us to walk in the spirit to avoid the lusts of the flesh. We are to focus on our ‘new self’ and move forward with good works in gratitude for such a great Salvation we have been given.