And I agree with imputed righteousness we have now in Christ, and would say the final stage of the process of salvation is termed "glorification." It involves the perfecting of the spiritual nature of the individual believer, which takes place at death, when the Christian is absent from the body and present with the Lord. (Which is open for thought).
In this life, while believers have been granted and given the gift of righteousness, our spiritual perfecting will occur in a future completion of the process, begun in regeneration and continued in sanctification.
Our "position" is perfect in Christ now, our "practice" in ever growing into Christ likeness.
- I believe I John 3 teaches "whosoever abides in Him does not continually habitually practice sin." So Believers sin? Yes. Do they sin on purpose? Occasional, sometimes, once in a while intermittent. But if they do, they will respond with grief and repentance. Ps. 51. And this is the thesis of I John 3:4-10.
I don’t know how long one can continue in deliberated sinning. A day, a season! But I know he will not enjoy it for long.
But I think the question given by Dan was: Didn’t Christ come to destroy the work of Satan? And if so, why do believers continue to live in sin?
The point of John in I John three is a believer will not live is life as if there was no law (I John 3:4) The sin that is spoken here, I think, is "to live as if there were no law of God is to live as if there were not God." Which is the definition of sin.
Christ will one day destroy Satan himself and all his workers who seek to destroy Believers today. That is a future event. What Christ accomplished when He became the Son of God, as Jesus Christ, was to provided the means whereby God could justify granting unbelievers salvation.
What Christ did was to destroy the power of the devil in the life of the Christian. I often said "You don’t have to sin, you chose to sin." The fact is, to the believer, we are a lost cause to Satan. The work "destroy" means "to loosen" or "to undo" or "to remove." Christ didn’t destroy sin, but threw off the chains and freed us from sin. The work that Christ did was to unite us with Himself in His righteousness, and release the work of the devil. The work of Christ was to give us a new nature, we are given as my brother likes to say, "a seed" that remains. A seed of divine existence. i.e. God himself was planted in us. I became a "son" of God. Sin can no longer be the habit of such a life.
SIN WAS NOT DESTROYED IN THIS WORLD, BUT THE POWER OF SIN WAS IN THE LIFE OF THE BELIEVER, THOSE BORN OF GOD.
The ground of the imputation of our sin unto Christ. He took on him the person of the whole church that had sinned, to answer for what they had done against God and the law.
If it be a perfect righteousness that is imputed unto us, so it is esteemed and judged to be; and accordingly are we to be dealt with, even as those who have a perfect righteousness; and if that which is imputed as righteousness unto us be imperfect, or imperfectly so, then as such must it be judged when it is imputed; and we must be dealt withal as those which have such an imperfect righteousness, and no otherwise. And therefore, whereas our inherent righteousness is imperfect (they are to be pitied or despised, not to be contended withal, that are otherwise minded), if that be imputed unto us, we cannot be accepted on the account thereof as perfectly righteous, without an error in judgment.
This imputation is an act of God "ex mera gratia," of His mere love and grace; whereby, on the reflection of the mediation of Christ, He makes an effectual transfer and gift of a true, real, perfect righteousness, even that of Christ Himself unto all that do believe; and accounting it as theirs, on His own gracious act, both absolves them from sin and grants them right and title unto eternal life.
That the righteousness of Christ is imputed unto us as unto its effects, has this reverberate sense in it,--namely, that the effects of it are made ours by reason of that imputation It is so imputed, so reckoned unto us of God, as that he really communicates all the effects of it unto us.
All that we aim to demonstrate is, only, that either the righteousness of Christ itself is imputed unto us, or there is no imputation in the matter of our justification;
Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant