My contention is that Real Justification actually makes people righteous, not just in standing, but also increasingly in practice.
If a person is not growing in righteousness, that person is not saved. Growing in righteousness is actually how a person knows they are saved before Judgment Day’s final verdict.
This sort of statement is scary, because most people playing church today are not growing in righteousness. Most are staying exactly the same and many get worse.
Unrighteous people will get defensive with this teaching (because, think about it, if you actually were a righteous person this teaching would bother you none at all).
“So you’re saying I’m only saved if I never sin? Only if I’ve reached sinless perfection?”
Nope, not what I said. Go back and read what I said. It’s clear I’m not teaching sinless perfection, yet this is defensive maneuver #1 of objectors.
I believe sinless perfection is our aim. I do believe that. I also believe that you will never know if you actually achieve it, because the moment you realize you achieved sinless perfection, you’d be arrogant.
I have met people who believe they haven’t sinned for years. I have never come across more arrogant Christians than these.
Jesus said in The Sermon on the Mount, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
Paul says the Bible was given to us “That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
Perfection is what we’re shooting for. I’m not sure why this would be a bad thing. Not sure why so many are afraid of admitting this, let alone shooting for it. If we are dead to sin, why would we want to live any longer in sin?
In one of the most neglected passages of the Apostle Paul, 2 Corinthians 7:1, we’re told
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Wonder why we don’t know that one so well?
If we sin we have an advocate with the Father. There is provision for messing up. This provision, however, is never given so people will chuck doing good and just keep sinning.
If you are a believer and are growing in your understanding that the God of the universe bore your sins in His body on the cross, your sinful desires will drain away.
Perfection is our aim. We’re to be like Christ, who was perfect. The Holy Spirit and the Word of God work together to bring us closer to this aim every day, until the glorious day we are made like Him when we see Him as He is.
I cannot wait. Why would I not want that new life earlier?
Anyone who thinks sin is OK because of the Gospel is not hearing the Gospel. Anyone who thinks aiming for perfection is wrong is not familiar with the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Justification makes you righteous, and righteous people do righteous things. That doesn’t mean every single thing we will ever do will be righteous. But it will grow and increase and will become habitual.
It just will. It’s the power of the Gospel. If that’s happening in you, then you are saved. If it’s not then you are not saved.