Gift, gift, gift: everything about real life is a gift. Salvation and holiness are a gift that was given before the foundation of the world. Signed, sealed, delivered and the expression of the perfection physically, was when Christ stepped into time as a man. Love-filled, Jesus perfectly completed the work as us, hanging on a tree saying "It is finished"(This to me speaks of the total removal of all our badness for His goodness. "...The first Adam received life..." Jesus "the Last Adam is a life-giving Spirit....a final completion coming out of heaven.." 1Cor 15: 45, 47 Message translation). "In God's economy, Christ represents us; what man could never achieve through personal discipline and willpower as taught in every religion, God's faith accomplished in Christ." notes on 1Cor 2:12 Mirror "even though I know of nothing against my conscience, I am not thereby acquitted. The point is not how we judge ourselves or one another; the Lord's judgment is the only valid reference to our innocence. Any judgment prior to the Lord's coming is out of context. (The days of performance based judgment are over!) His coming illuminates all the hidden mysteries (concerning man's inclusion in Christ. 1 Cor.2:7,8)..." 1Cor 4: 4-5 Mirror
"The gospel is centred in God's Son and tells of a new existence given graciously to all who believe and trust in its power" Rom, 1:3 Phillips translation
Here is an interesting quote from C.S Lewis which may be almost what you guys are saying " Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong , but too weak. We are half hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea"
Or maybe you are trying to put across a message similar to this from Benjamin Dunn: "All of us who are believers are lifted from the pit (the slum)of sinfulness and self-possession into the glorious and heavenly perfections of Christ......The gift is given freely to all, without reservation. That all-inclusive satisfying gift is Christ!…Sometimes what happens, is we try to tier our salvation experience like a frequent flyer program. the longer we fly, the more ladders we climb; the more religious dues we pay, the more upgrades we get………Sanctification, HOLINEsS, and every other good thing, though being works of Christ, available freely…then become progressive works based not on the efforts of Christ but ours; on how long and how hard we've worked for them. What we literally have then, is some people that are "Holier than thou"" (Brackets mine).
So I think what I am picking up in what some of you are saying is that we have to go after holiness? Am I wrong? If so do we ever get it in time? To put it another way: Tonight Kate (My wife) has gone to a girls-only-birthday-party of a friend of ours. She has taken her a card as a GIFT. Now is Kate going to say to our friend: "Here is your gift but I am going to dangle it in-front of you and you have to pursue it?" "Now you are going to get it based on your performance of pursuing, or you may never get it at all before you die." Not sure I have ever given a gift that way. Have you?
" And because of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption (1 Cor. 1:30, ESV)
He is your sanctification. Any system that tries to draw your attention away from the person of Christ and onto your own efforts is Antichrist in nature. Your union with God is not an incomplete relationship that comes progressively. Time is not the magic formula that makes you holy. Jesus' sacrifice made you holy. Christ's work was enough to purify you, spirit, soul and body.
Often, when intellectuals cannot explain something adequately, they use the element of "time" as a magic ingredient to cover up their lack of understanding....." John Crowder- Mystical Union
"(If righteousness had anything to do with personal merit or performance, then only the good enough amongst us would qualify)(The word, lanchano, to be measured out beforehand, to be allocated something by allotment, emphasizes the fact that nothing we did or determined to achieve had any influence upon God to qualify us." Portion from 2Peter 1:1 notes by Francois Du Toit
"God’s rest celebrates His finished work; whoever enters into God’s rest immediately abandons his own efforts to complement what God has already perfected. (The language of the law is “do”; the language of grace is “done.”)"- Hebrews 4:10 Mirror Translation
I want to encourage you with this because if you think you are going to get holier based on what you do: Christ died in vain. Jesus died to make us totally right, right now. He was right in making us right. We are right because He is right. We are One: total happy union.
Now as far as this free 'right' goes, we are lived through by Christ to do good and not bad. In other words we do not use this Freedom to do bad things to one another. But we are thankful, satisfied and celebrating the truth that we are loved and Love effortlessly flows out of us as a river of life towards others.
"There never was such a thing as a created selfhood that could operate by itself....So now I am joyfully free from that wearisome lie of self-management (which in fact never was), and love every new interest and enticing adventure of my True Owner." Norman Grubb
Galatians 2:20: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
Or in the Distilled Bible translation:
" I consider myself as having died and now I am enjoying a second existence which is simply Jesus using my body."
Or verse 19 and 20 in the Mirror translation:
" My co-crucifixion with Christ is valid! I am not making this up; in his death I died to the old system of trying to please God with my own good behavior! God made me alive together with Christ (in his resurrection! Hos.6:2, Eph.2:5.) How can any human effort improve on this!The terms, co-crucified and co-alive defines me now. Christ in me and I in him! (John 14:20) His sacrificial love is evidence of his persuasion of my righteousness! (He believes in my innocence; it would be offensive to the cross to continue to seek to be justified by personal effort!)"
"Jesus has not only sanctified you or made you holy, He has perfected you forever!"- Joseph Prince
So Christ not only has given salvation and holiness but also maintains it. He is the goodness in us towards other people. He is the love. Jesus is the one healing and raising the dead through us. Jesus is our perfection.
"Christ has opened all His treasuries and given you all your breakthroughs in one fell swoop on the cross!.........your old sinful nature was completely, once and for all circumcised away.....but .... the yeast of Judaic religion still holds strong. For instance, people still pray and beg for holiness. They plead to be "purged." This alone is a telltale sign of absolute unbelief in the finished work of the cross. Religion wants you to kill yourself to earn holiness. There is a straining and a striving that is not suggestive of true faith. Jesus died to give you what you could never gain on your own. Religion gives us reams of books, keys and formulas for trying to get something that we already have as a free gift."- John Crowder: Seven Spirits burning pg55
"Grace has already done it; Law requires something to be done.
Grace has given man no boast but Jesus. Christ is Grace; Christ is love; Christ and God are one. Jesus is our salvation/righteousness/holiness/perfection/goodness. Jesus is: God and us as One: reconciled. One big happy One" -Jarah McNamara
"God saves us single-handedly............The word of the gospel- after all those centuries of trying to lift yourself into heaven by worrying about the perfection of your bootstraps- suddenly turned out to be a flat announcement that the saved were home free before they started." -Robert Farrar Capon
So I could go on and on cos this stuff excites me: all of the huge happy tidings (Gospel).
And also just so you know I like Paul (Romans 6) do not endorse sin.
………..Big love and bliss all yours