Christians need to know that God's work in them is COMPLETE. Many think that when they were saved, only their past sins were forgiven and they now have to struggle to keep the slate clean, this is simply not true.
ALL of our sins WERE forgiven in the mind of God even before we were born. When Jesus died, all of our sins were paid for. As Christians, we are no longer sinners, we are dead to sin and to this world. As Children of God we are alive in Christ and have become as Romans says "Servants of Righteousness."
God's word tells us that we are already in God's Favor and in His Grace because we are one with Christ. EVERYTHING is settled. God sees us just as He sees Christ. NOTHING can increase or decrease your favor with God. Why? Because POSITIONALLY your standing with God is PERFECT. Hebrews 10:14 says, "For by the one offering He (Jesus) made FOREVER PERFECT in the sight of God all those whom He is MAKING Holy". (LB)
Forgiveness is complete because ALL your sins were taken away. In Colossians we read (Colossians 2:13-15) "For He forgave ALL your sins, and blotted out the charges proved against you, the list of His Commandments which you had not obeyed. He took this list of sins and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ's cross. In this way, God TOOK AWAY Satan's power to accuse you of sin, and God openly displayed to the whole world Christ's triumph at the cross where your sins WERE ALL taken away". (LB)
I hear Christians saying, "I'm a Christian and I love Jesus Christ, but I'm not without blame or blemish. I'm not spotless. I'm not Holy". God says, yes you are.. Positionally. God talks about our position in Christ, not our practice. We are Holy before God. Why? Because (Ephesians 1:3-4) "He hath chosen us in Him". We are "In Christ", and because we are in Christ, His Holiness, His Righteousness, His Spotlessness is imputed to us.
Let's look at the Truth of God that sums up the whole thing. In First Corinthians 6:17, God says, "But if you give yourself to the Lord, you and Christ are joined together as ONE PERSON". (LB) In other words, when we become Christians, we BECOME ONE with Jesus Christ. In fact, a Christian HAS NO TRUE IDENTITY APART FROM JESUS CHRIST. For example, in Philippians 1:21 Paul said, "For me to live is Christ".
In Galatians 2:20 Paul says, "I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me..." You see, he lost his own identity and took on the identity of Christ.
So, as we become one Spirit with Christ, all that He has is ours and all that He is we are. Look at Romans 8:16-17, "We are the Children of God: and if Children, then heirs - heirs of God, and JOINT (equal) heirs with Christ..." ALL that is His is ours because we are IN CHRIST. We are as rich as He is, as Holy as He is and as righteous as He is. ALL the resources HE HAS, WE HAVE.
His POSITION is my position (perfect and sinless), His PRIVILEGE is my privilege, His POSSESSIONS are my possessions; and His PRACTICE is my practice.
There seems to be a trend in Christianity today that I've heard called "THE QUEST FOR SOMETHING MORE". It is the idea that being in Christ is not sufficient, that it does not give you all there is so you have to seek for something more. Christians talk about getting MORE of Christ, MORE of the Holy Spirit, and MORE of His power. It is as if the resources of Jesus Christ are doled out like a pharmaceutical prescription...one dose at a time, or that you are qualified to receive them by some particular ritual or routine.
The implication is that salvation in Christ is not complete, that there is something more. Second Peter 1:3 says. "According as His Divine Power hath given unto us ALL THINGS that pertain unto life and Godliness through the knowledge of Him...", and Paul in Ephesians 1:3 writes, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with ALL spiritual blessings in heavenly places IN CHRIST...". It has already been done ("Blessed" is in the past tense) in Christ. Again Paul writes, in First Corinthians, "NOW you have EVERY grace and blessing EVERY spiritual gift and power for doing His will..." (LB), that is pretty clear. The Biblical view of the Doctrine of Salvation is that salvation grants the believer EVERYTHING in Christ.
There is no need to search for something more. In fact, to search for more is to undermine the essence of the Doctrine of Salvation. It undoes what Jesus said in John 19:30 immediately before He died. He said, "Tetelestai" (Greek), which meant, "It is completed, finished, done, accomplished, fulfilled, the debt is paid - you owe me nothing." So you see to seek for something more says that there is something missing in salvation.
There have always been, and always will be, people who say that having Jesus Christ through His marvelous act of salvation is not enough. They say, "You have to do this...not do that...and keep the other to get it all".
The key to the whole argument is in Colossians 2:9 -10, Paul says, "For IN HIM (Christ) dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead Bodily. And ye are COMPLETE IN HIM..." Is there anything missing in Christ? No! And since we are in Him we are complete. The essence of what Paul is saying is, "You don't need ANYTHING else, It is done, taken care of, settled, finished." In other words, we are COMPLETE in Christ. This is the Doctrine of Salvation that the Word of God teaches. It is not a question of finding something more, it is simply a question of using the available resources that are ALREADY resident in EVERY Believer.
So we've said, that when we were saved and placed in Christ, all of our sins were forgiven, we received eternal life, and we were made perfect through the Righteousness of Christ being imputed to us. That is our position before God. But what about our practice, what about our growth?
Our Christian growth has nothing to do with our position. Growth occurs in our practice.
Christians are not Spiritual Polliwogs. You are COMPLETE. All your parts are there -- it is simply a matter of maturing. When God does a work of salvation it is total and complete. You are perfect before God; now it is just a matter of growing to match your practice to your position.
Instead of seeking more favor with God, or trying to make God like us more, or trying to be more fit for Heaven, we should just thank GOD WHO HAS ALREADY "Made us fit to be Partakers of the Inheritance of the Saints in Light (Colossians 1:12)". This WAS all accomplished by FAITH in Jesus Christ, by TRUSTING in what He says He has already done, and is continuing to do. It is the SAME with Christian growth. It is God who is doing the work. Just as a True Christian is not trying to earn his way into Heaven, because he knows there is ONLY one way - through FAITH IN CHRIST. So a True Christian knows that his works and growth must come the same way - through FAITH IN CHRIST.
Look at what Paul wrote to the Philippians, (Philippians 2:13) "For it is GOD which WORKETH in you BOTH to WILL and to DO of His good pleasure", and in Second Thessalonians 1:11, "That our God WILL MAKE YOU the kind of children He wants to have - WILL MAKE YOU as good as you wish you could be! Rewarding your FAITH with His power". (LB)
You see it is His work, His ability, His power, we are His workmanship as we put our trust and faith in Him. And just to make sure nobody ever got confused, He laid it all out before any human being was ever born.
"It was for HIS OWN Good Pleasure" (Eph 1:4-5) that God fit us into His body before the world began, to be the Praise of His Glory.
The real heart of living the "Christian Life" is simply learning to trust Christ for EVERYTHING (salvation, justification and sanctification) and know that the work He has done and is continuing to do in you is complete. "Tetelestai".