What is man's problem?
4. All men are born condemned (Rom. 5:18; John 3:3). Man is born in a lost state.
5. Adam's sin condemned the entire human race to death, not because they were guilty, but because they were unfit to live (Rom. 5:12,19).
6. Adam's sin caused us to inherit a sinful nature, that is, a degenerate body and a depraved corrupt mind (Rom. 7:14-18). The sinful corrupt nature of this mind, makes us only fit to die (Rom. 8:7-8).
7. Our sinful bodies are not our main problem. The problem is the carnal mind which we are born with (Mark 7:21-23). This is what condemns us and makes us sinners by nature. Jesus was born with our degenerate body, but not our carnal mind.
8. This carnal sinful mind always produces sinful actions (Rom. 8:7). Sinful actions are the result of our being sinners by nature (that is, we have by nature a carnal mind), they are not the reason why we become sinners.
9. Man's great need is a change of nature, not a change of actions (Ezek. 36:26,27). Of course when nature changes, actions will naturally change.
What is sin?
10. Sin is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4)
11. Sin is also described in the Bible as being more than an action. It is regarded also as an irresistible power in the carnal man (John 8:34; Rom. 7:17,20), or a state of being, because the very nature of the carnal man is opposed to God and His law.
12. The root and the source of all sinful action is separation from God (John 15:15). The source of all such separation is the choice to let self rule rather than God.
What is Righteousness?
13. Righteousness is a state, a quality of nature which exists inherently, only in God (Matt. 19:17; Rev. 15:4; Rom. 3:22)
14. Fundamentally, righteousness is not something which a person does. It is not an action or a series of actions. (Isa. 64:6; Rom. 3:20)
15. Righteous actions appear when a person is righteous (1 John 3:9). They do not make a person righteous, but they reveal that he is righteous (Gal. 5:22, 23) because the righteous one (Christ) is living in him (Rom. 8:10,11)
16. Righteous actions are always and only and totally the work of God (John 15:5; Rom. 7:18; 1 Thess. 5:23,24)
17. God does not become good by doing good. He does good because He is good. The same is true of those who are in Christ.
How to become righteous?
18. Righteousness is a gift from God which is given to all men in Christ Jesus. (Rom. 3:22; 2 Cor. 5:21)
19. This gift is received only by faith. (Rom. 4:16; Eph. 2:8)
20. All that man needs, whether forgiveness, justification, sanctification etc. are already given to all humanity in Christ (Eph. 1:3,7,11; Col. 2:9,10). These things belong to every man, but need to be accepted and received personally by faith in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:19; Rom. 5:10)
21. Righteousness as a total gift includes sanctification as well as justification. (1 Cor. 6:11)
22. Man's works contribute nothing to either justification or sanctification. Both are entirely gifts of God's grace in Christ. However, growth in Christ (sometimes referred to as sanctification) is a process which God accomplishes with man's continued cooperation. This process continues for all of the Christian's lifetime whether he lives for two years or nine hundred and sixty-nine.
23. When a person has biblical faith in Christ it means that He has become a part of the very life and existence of Christ as His spirit is united to Christ's spirit (1 Cor. 6:17; Gal. 3:26,29; Rom. 8:9; Eph. 5:30).
24. This union with Christ is the key to everything in Christianity. Because we are united to Christ and are a part of His existence, all that He is and has is ours and is what we are. We are accepted “in the Beloved.” (1 Cor. 3:21-23; Eph. 1:6)
25. This is not a theory. This is an actual reality and is our true experience the moment we truly believe. This means that every blessing which God has to give (including the gift of the holy spirit) is ours, to be received, not by hard laborious effort, but simply by faith (Gal. 3:2,5). Available to us at this very moment, because these things already belong to Christ. It is impossible for us to be denied them because we are a part of Christ (Rom. 8:32).
26. This union with Christ is what produces perfect harmony with the law, not because of our laborious efforts, but because Christ is the one who is living and Christ is not the minister of sin (Phil. 2:18; Rom. 8:2-4).
27. Man's place in the whole plan is to yield or to surrender to Christ. To choose to have Christ live instead of himself (Rom. 6:1-18; Luke 14:26-27). This surrender, sometimes described as death in the Scriptures is the result of faith in Christ. True faith recognizes that only Christ is fit and able to live, therefore yielding unconditionally and entirely to him is the logical result.
28. This leads to the conclusion that our efforts must be to obtain faith and to maintain faith in Christ (1 Tim. 6:12). When Christ lives in us He will defeat sin in us (Rom. 8:3). When we have a struggle with sin, it is because we are still alive and Christ is not in control (Rom. 6:7).
29. This concept views the Christian life as a total and immediate change (2 Cor. 5:17; 1 John 3:19), rather than a gradual change which takes place through hard struggles. The idea is that what we need is one single act of commitment where I choose that Christ shall live and not I (Rom. 6:6; Luke 14:33). My life in Christ is the maintaining of that position (Gal. 5:16; Col. 2:6). This is what death to self means. I do not have the option of making any personal choices when I have made that choice that Christ shall live instead of me. So the yoke is “easy,” for sin is not difficult for Christ to overcome.
30. In Christ the nature becomes good immediately . It is Christ who lives and not I (Gal. 2:20). However, the person in Christ can only live the life of Christ in harmony with the knowledge which he has. Christ does not hijack a person's will or supernaturally give him perfect knowledge. We are still educated by the word of God. So while a person may have a perfect nature (mind - the mind of Christ), yet he may still be a babe in that he still has a lot to learn concerning God's will (1 Pet. 2:2). As a result he may even still be worshipping on Sunday for example. However, this is not counted as sin by God (John 9:41) because his nature is in perfect harmony with God's nature, even though he is not perfectly educated.
31. We may understand this concept better if we consider that when Jesus was a child of four, His obedience to God was perfect, but only insofar as He had knowledge of God's will (Luke 2:52). His nature desired only to obey, but He could only obey in harmony with the light which He had. When He was twenty His actions and His lifestyle were a more complete revelation of God's character than when He was four, but at every step, He was perfect because His nature was perfect.