If Not Completely in this Life, Then Surely in the Life to Come

As he faces up to the reality of his besetting sins, Paul does not conclude, “I’ll just have to read my Bible more and try hard,” even though as a Pharisee he had earlier exhibited far more willpower than any of us possess.  Instead he casts himself on the mercy of God and looks to his rescuer to deliver  him from his own sinful flesh – if not completely in this life, then surely in the life to come.

Duguid, Barbara; Extravagant Grace: God’s Glory Displayed in our Weakness; P&R Publishing; Philipsburg, NJ; copyright 2013; Page 97

Saints Are Average, Simple People Who Love Jesus

For Paul, sainthood was not a result of something wonderful you’d accomplished nor erased something horrible you’d done. According to him, being a saint requires one step; be in Christ. And the total cost to you is $0. Anyone who is connected to Jesus by faith in his death and resurrection is a saint. Gods Saints are average and simple people who love Jesus.

– Driscoll, Mark; Who Do You Think You Are? Finding Your True Identity in ChristThomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, copyright 2013; Page 32

Maturing As a Saint Brings Clarity to Our Sight as Sinners

As saints mature in relationship with Jesus, they often see there sin more clearly and grieve it more deeply. Paul himself, as a mature Christian, demonstrated this in looking back at his past life in comparison to the perfect life of Jesus Christ as one that had qualified him as the “chief” sinner.

– Driscoll, Mark; Who Do You Think You Are? Finding Your True Identity in ChristThomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, copyright 2013; Page 35

Appreciation Goes Both Ways

Paul was keenly aware that none of his suffering or service to God was unseen by God. Simply and significantly, he knew that he was appreciated. This allowed him to press forward and spite of harsh criticism, lonely ostracism, and brutal opposition. It also made him more appreciative of servant-hearted Christians and compelled him to encourage them by saying often that both he and God appreciated them.

– Driscoll, Mark; Who Do You Think You Are? Finding Your True Identity in ChristThomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, copyright 2013; Page 57

Salvation and the Church are Not Actually Different Topics

The gospel is not about us an what we have done; rather it is the Good News for us.  The church is not simply the effect of the gospel, but is itself part of the Good News that is promised.  That’s why Paul, in his epistles said keeping up divisions between Jews and Gentile is tantamount to denying the gospel.  Salvation and the church are not actually different topics.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 191

To Whom Does Psalm 68 Point To?

Interestingly, the Jewish Targum interpreted Psalm 68 as referring to the ascension of Moses, who now gives the Law as a gift to the world.  But Paul interprets Psalm 68 in light of Christ’s ascension actually having occurred (Ephesians 4).  It is not the ascension of Moses, but of Christ, that Paul proclaims.  Even if Moses had ascended to heaven (as later Jewish tradition held), Christ has ascended “far above all the heavens” (v. 10) and his gift is not Torah but peace.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 181

It Has Accomplished Far More than We Imagined

Nowhere in the lodestar passage (Romans 7) for the Christian life does Paul direct our attention to the imitation of Christ.  he has already painted too dark (realistic) a picture of human depravity to imagine that the devil, the world, and our sinful hearts could meet their match in our deeper commitment to follow Christ’s example.  Yet he does not ignore the issue of conformity to Christ.  Rather, he teaches something far greater than an example to imitate.  He calls us not to simply imitate Christ but to be crucified, buried and raised with him.  Sine we are in Christ, we must act accordingly; daily putting to death the deeds of the unrighteousness and bearing the fruit of our union with him.  But before he speaks an imperative, he announces the indicative of the gospel; Christ’s saving work has accomplished far more than we imagined.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 150