Salvation Series 4 How?
Truly, we are “saved by faith” which started with the “faith of Jesus” in the promises of the Father that they will all be fulfilled. Jesus’ faith in the Father is first and foremost, without which, “the faith of Abraham and ours”, while needed for salvation, becomes inconsequential, because it has to be started first and foremost only by Christ. Be reminded that as Rom. 1:17 says, “from faith to faith“. Jesus, the Creator-Word (Jn. 1:1) is the “beginner(founder) and finisher(perfecter)“ of our salvation as in Heb. 12:2 “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God”.
Righteousness that is required by the Father for salvation is the “righteousness of faith”, not of works, (even by Jesus’ following the Ten Commandments), so that “no one can boast”. However, being saved by faith, is only a basic foundational start and initiates a mechanism in the process of how we reach the goal of “salvation“. As a process, salvation takes time to unravel towards its fulfillment. Time is needed for our spiritual growth and development (Isa. 26:17; Rev. 12:4-17) in the “church” as much as an embryo has to physically develop and grow before coming out of the womb. And, Jesus is central to achieving this by the grace of God the Father.
Proof that Salvation to see the Kingdom of God is a process:
It has been taught that by respectable and well-meaning preachers that “just believe and you will be saved”. This is factually true but the context is lost because the emphasis stops from the word “believe” and marginalizes the futuristic promise of “will be saved”. What was glossed over was that salvation is a process that starts with man-Jesus and will find conclusion with humanity.
Jesus’ explanation to Nicodemus about this process is revealing. Notice the discussion:
John 3:1-8 (NIV) “Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
From the above narrative, one sees that Jesus acknowledged that being born of water, i.e., “flesh gives birth to flesh” is a process. That, it takes a process of fertilization of the ovum by the sperm to develop into a zygote, then development into maturity for about 8-9 months in the womb before delivery as a newborn flesh-baby. Similarly, being born of the Spirit (Spirit gives birth to spirit) is a process that follows the same stages, i.e., the “Holy Spirit” of God has to “fertilize” the “spirit of man” (psyche/mind), go through the process of development in the “womb of the church” through sanctification and guidance of the Holy Spirit of God, bear fruits and develop wisdom, before delivery into an immortal glorious-spirit body at resurrection. As physical development in the womb may not come to maturity and can be “aborted“, so can spiritual development in the church may not come to fruition (not overcomers) and although “written in the book of life” to be partakers of the Holy Spirit (Rev. 3:5; 17:8; 20:15; 22:19; Phil. 4:3) may not “bear fruits of the Holy Spirit” and miss out for failure to be “overcomers” to the end.
Any “good works, decision or righteousness” that come from our “flesh” without the guidance of and coming from the Holy Spirit are as “filthy rags” and as “dung” to God (Isa. 64:6;Rom. 3:10; Phil. 3:8-9). Even Job has to be “lectured” by God that while “perfect” on his own, that he was still dirty in the eyes of Go (Read the whole book of Job). Our righteousness is the righteousness of faith that started with faith “of” Jesus for which he received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit then given to the faithful to bear “fruits of the Holy Spirit“, not fruits of our flesh. It has to be God’s fruits through the Holy Spirit in us, and not our own fruits that come from flesh. One can deny or reject the guidance of the Holy Spirit, because freedom of choice is key to the development of wisdom and to be “one” with the Father. Even Jesus with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, has to correctly choose between “his” will and that of the Father’s (Matt. 26:39; Lu.22:42) to be “one” with Him.
Salvation follows the process of:
1. Faith of Jesus in the Father regarding promises made to him from the foundation of the world; an unwritten covenant between the two. Jesus at that time was known as the Creator God in Genesis 1, the YHVH Elohim/Lord God in Genesis 2, Logos in John 1:1. Whereas, the identity of the Father was “Ancient of Days“. The Father-Son declarative relationship was planned but not established until the New Testament times. This was an unwritten covenant between him and the Father. This covenant was intimated through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob but actually a covenant, not to them directly, but to the “seed“ according to Paul (Gal. 3:16). With the surety of fulfillment of the promise of the Father to him, anchored on the “faith of Jesus“(Creator), he then gave an inkling of this promise to Abraham, “the righteousness of faith”, with which promises are based on, by grace and love of the Father. YHVH (Jesus) then “re-promised” to others what will happen in the future through and only through Him (Jesus). That promise of the Father was the “good news of the kingdom of God“. Yes, the kingdom of God composed of immortal sons and daughters of God , beginning with the Son of God(Jesus), “then many sons to glory” manifested at the second coming of Jesus (Rom. 8:19-25).
2. Incarnation of the Creator God of Genesis 1, the YHVH Elohim/Lord God in Genesis 2, the Logos in John 1:1. into man-Jesus. Without this incarnation from immortal spirit to mortal flesh/body, his death would not have been realized. He had to be mortal flesh to die.
3. Death of the Passover Lamb/Jesus for the “remission of sins“ through shedding of his blood (Heb. 9:22). His death substitutes for man’s death and “reconciles“ mankind to the Father, as in:
2 Corinthians 5:18-21 (NKJV) “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
The death of man-Jesus (the Creator God) was substitutionary to pay the penalty of human’s sin (2nd eternal-death), for mankind to be reconciled to the Father. The goal of his death is for “remission of sins“, for reconciliation with the Father, nothing more; his death did not proximately and actually save us. Had he not been resurrected by the Father, Jesus could have died eternally and we are still “dead in sin” (I Cor 15:17).
4. Jesus’ resurrection to claim the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father.
He said in John 16:17, “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.“ Because of the Father’s promise of resurrection and the “faith of Jesus“ in him, he was made alive. Having been resurrected to life, we “shall be saved by his life“(Rom 5:10;his post-resurrection). Notice, the phrase “shall be saved”, meaning future, not yet, or still in the process of salvation. But, how are we going to “be saved by his life”, his resurrected life? Remember Jn 16:7; 15:26; 14:16? He was resurrected for this very purpose, i.e., to receive the promised Holy Spirit to be given and dwell in us, for us to “be endowed”with power to overcome the Devil, starting at Pentecost (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4; Gal 3:14). We received this Holy Spirit not by (our) works of the law but by “faith of Jesus” (Gal 3:2).
5. Faith or evidence, then Believe.
With these events that were learned by the disciples and apostles, we now understand and have faith in Jesus. Rom. 10:17, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Heb 11:1). Faith is not trust nor hope; it is evidence or substance. Hearing and seeing the works of Jesus lead to development of our faith in Him and subsequently we believe in the promises he made. Abraham is the “father of the faithful”(Rom. 4:16) because he saw evidence or proof of God’s power; then he believed in his promises. Faith is evidence-based that emanates trust and hope.
6. In-dwelling of the Holy Spirit of power in us.
With us having faith/evidence, we then believed and are now given this gift of the Holy Spirit by grace. As Acts 2:38 connotes, one has to believe in Jesus’ sacrifice for the remission of sins, repent and be baptized with water, and the gift of the Holy Spirit will be given. Where does the Holy Spirit dwell in us?
Remember the tabernacle and the temple ? These were the places that God manifest himself as the “Shekinah glory”. His “abode“ to show his presence. Notice though the temporary nature of all of these. The tabernacle had to be pitched from one place to another along the span of Israel’s journey. This was replaced by the 1st Temple in Jerusalem and then the 2nd Temple. It was in the “holy of holies“, (the innermost partition) of the Temple that God manifests his presence. Both temples are now destroyed. All these temporal nature of his abode reflects on the future in-dwelling of God in the mind of humans, in the spirit-of-man. Notice what the Bible said that God does not dwell in temples made by human hands, as in;
Acts 7:44-,”Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen. Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David; Who found favour before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob. But Solomon built him an house. Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? Hath not my hand made all these things?” Notice that Solomon “built him a house“, as the Son of God is building a “house“(church) that is spiritually composed.
Acts 17:24, “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands”
2 Cor. 3:3 “You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”
The preceding verses intimated the future dwelling of God in humans. This occurred for the first time to man-Jesus(I Tim. 2:5), the “precursor“, the “forerunner“(Heb. 6:20) towards the development of a “new creation/creature“(2 Cor. 5:17) and manifestation of the “Son of God” and others as well(Rom. 8:19-25).
7. Sanctification and Development of Fruits of the Spirit as expressed in the obedience to the Ten Commandments, guided by the Holy Spirit.
Why do we need the Holy Spirit? As circumcision is a “sign“, the HS serves as a “seal” to identify us being in the “body of Christ“ (Jn 6:7; 2Cor.1:21-22; 5:5; EpEph 1:13-14; 4:30. Aside from that, we need “spirit-power“ as the “flesh is weak”, (Matt 26:41). We need the Holy Spirit of power to be used by us to express and bear the “fruits of the Spirit” (Gal.5:22-23). The HS gives us “cognition” as to which way to go or do, “conviction” to follow Jesus'(YHVH ELOHIM’s) Law, and “affection” for him and whatever is “good“, giving us the “mind of Christ“ (I Cor 2:16). Also, Matt. 7:19-20 states that “Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. “
That said, according to Paul, “the Law is holy“ (Rom 7:12, v-14,v-23); nothing wrong with the Law and the Covenant. What was wrong was us, the flesh-nature that we have, that is “weak“. Remember that in Genesis, YHVH made “man (from dust) after his image”, and in the future to be “like him’. But that “clay” was flesh and “weak” so Adam could not be “like him” by his “own works“. It has to be by the “works and faith of Jesus”.
Adam, not knowing his “weakness“, did not “listen and follow” God, so he sinned and was banished from the “garden of Eden”. Adam was separated from God and needs to be “reconciled“. Having been reconciled by Christ’s death, we are now “being saved by his life through the function and power of the Holy Spirit“ given to us as promised, to “bring many sons to glory” (Heb 2:10).
Therefore, with the power of the Holy Spirit, follow the Ten Commandments as part of our process of “sanctification“ (I Cor 6:11; Rom 8:9-11; 15:15-16; 2 Cor 1:21-22; Eph 1:13-14; 2 Thes 2:13; itus 3:4-7; I Pet 1:1-2; 2:9-12; John 17:17; Rom 6:19-22; 8:5-14; Gal. 5:16-24;I Pet 2:11; Rom 2:6-7).
8. Eventual salvation from 2nd death. This requires a change from mortal flesh to immortal bodies. Notice, I Cor. 15:52, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we (who are alive) shall be changed.”
Only when we have immortal bodies can we say in 1 Corinthians 15:55-57
“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.“ And this is when salvation is realized.
By the way, all these things have been all along planned by God the Father.
While the Son started it, a well-established truth is that it was the Father who planned all and the Son that executes the plan. This truth is proven by :
“But when the fulness of the time was come, God (Father) sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.“(Galatians 4:4-6). The Father did not just do the “sending” but also established the “time” when the Son will be sent or incarnate through “a woman“(Mary).
Even all creation, while actually done by the Logos/Creator God/YHVH (just saying the “word”) was also because of and planned by the Father (I Cor. 8:6; Jn.1:3; Col. 1:16).
Moreover, Peter and Jude confirmed that it was the Father who orchestrated salvation in the covenant. Election, and foreknowledge (I Pet. 1:2), and Sanctification (Jude 1) refer to the initial act of God whereby He chose those whom He loved and set them apart to salvation before the foundation of the world.
God(the Father) foreknew people,“For whom He did foreknow…” (Rom. 8:29). God’s choice of a people before the world began was based on His own initiative to establish a covenant relationship with those whom He loved: “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God…” Those whom He loved and chose, He also set apart for Himself, that is, He sanctified them (Jude 1).
Similarly, the Father “sanctified“ the Son (i.e. set Him apart in the covenant of grace) and sent Him into the world (Jn. 10:36, He also sanctified His people (again, He set them apart in the covenant as His own special people) and “sent redemption” to them: “He sent redemption to His people: He hath commanded His covenant for ever: holy and reverend is His name “ (Ps. 111:9). It was precisely this group of people, i.e., those set apart in the covenant, who were redeemed by Jesus Christ: “For by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified” (Heb. 10:14).
The Galatians passage presents God the Father as the great Choreographer of salvation, dispatching (sending) the Son (v.4) and the Spirit (v.6) at the precise and appropriate time, in order to bring us into his family as His adopted sons. The Father who initiated the covenant also orchestrates and deploys the covenant requirements for salvation (Eph. 1:5).
In summary, God the Father planned everything and the Son concurred willingly with the strategic plan and executed his Father’s will (Lu.22:42). This occurred even before creation of “invisible and visible things”. The promises of the Father to Jesus (because of the “faith of Jesus”) has come true, viz.,
1. Jesus’ death was imputed for mankind’s “second/irreversible death” to reconcile mankind to the Father.
2. That Jesus would be resurrected by the Father so the Holy Spirit would be received by him and given/sent to us.
3. That the Holy Spirit will imbue us (as it did Jesus at river Jordan) to seal us and sanctify us, so all of us will be “one” (yet many) with the Father through his Son,…us being the “body of Christ“. The critical spirit-power needed before one is judged is the in-dwelling in man of this Holy Spirit and is the same for those before and after Christ’s return.
4. That as the “flesh is weak“ it needs the Holy Spirit “written in the fleshly tables of our heart“ for all of us to be empowered to follow the Law of Love which summarized the Ten Commandments and bear the “fruits of the Holy Spirit“. These laws were “written in tables of stones“ previously then subsequently by the Spirit-indwelling in our “fleshly tables of our hearts“. This, so that we will have through spiritual growth and development the “mind of Christ”, to be “one“ with him and by extension “one“ with the Father.
5. Our mortal flesh will be changed in a twinkling of an eye to “immortal spirit bodies“, the body-composition for “eternal life“. With this change, then and only then is the process complete and salvation comes to fruition away from “second and irreversible death“.
Those who have faith and works by the power of the Holy Spirit, given on faith and by grace, will reign in the Millenium and beyond.
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Original post: October 4, 2015
Revised and posted:February 20, 2017