8. BASIC BIBLE DOCTRINES – THE STUDY OF SALVATION (Part 2)

GOD’S WORK IN SALVATION

The function of God The Father in our salvation completes the work of each Member of the Godhead, and He does many things for the believer at the moment of faith in Christ. Some of these are: Justification: this is one of the most important doctrines of the Christian faith. In this act, God justifies the ungodly in ascribing righteousness, because of the righteousness of Christ, not because we deserve it but because we are justified freely by His grace . We also see that we are justified by faith, by the blood of Christ, by Christ’s righteousness , and that the results of our justification are peace, freedom from condemnation, inheritors with Christ, and glorification . Another type of justification (righteousness) is our righteous acts which are the result of our justification by faith . Regeneration: since our separation from God, or our spiritual death, the result of sin , does not make us appropriate for existence in God’s presence – heaven. All mankind must be born again, and we are born again by God’s Spirit and by The Word of God . By regeneration we receive a new life and are a new creation in Christ, we put on a new character and live a new life, and as God’s children we are subject to His correcting . God’s purpose is that we become His offspring, inheritors and doers of good deeds . Adoption: in this God declares His acceptance of His regenerated children with all the legal rights of inheritance in Christ; and this is also a result of faith and is effective at the moment of our salvation. Although we have the Spirit of adoption, we await its full materialization . The evidence of our adoption is seen in our being led by The Holy Spirit, our separation from the world, living a victorious life and being subject to God’s discipline . Sanctification: meaning to be “set apart” or “to be holy” and again this is received immediately at our salvation. Thus we are separated from the penalty, and the power of sin and in the future at Christ’s coming we will be separated from the presence of sin. This is a once-for-all action and it cannot be repeated since Christ is our Sanctification . Now it is the duty of all believers to maintain our sanctification on a daily basis . Forgiveness: this simply means that we are released from our sins – past, present and future , but on the practical side, in order to maintain our fellowship with God The Father we need to confess our sins each time that we fail . Access to God: God now gives us the right of entry to His presence, again through our faith, and provides us with unlimited blessings and is based on the reconciling work of Christ . Freedom from the Law: the Law was not given for the righteous but as a restraint to the ungodly, it was never intended as a way of salvation ; and Christians are not bound by the Law as a directive for living the Christian life, for the Scriptures teach that as believers in Christ we are free from, we are dead to, and are delivered from the Law , and is effective from the moment of our salvation; we now respect the Law as a statement to God’s standard of holiness, and by the grace of God we live by a much higher principle than the Law requires.

SECURITY OF SALVATION

Scripture teaches that once an individual is saved, our salvation can never be lost, taken away, or given up, as a punishment for a mistake or wrongdoing. There are two words or phrases used to describe this security: Assurance – the primary source of our assurance is the Word of God and the basis is that God declares that it is so, and He cannot lie or change His mind: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”   “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” <Jn.5:24 (NIV); see also Jn.3:36; 1 Jn.3:1>. Evidence of our salvation is seen in our profound consciousness of issues pertaining to God and the internal witness of the Holy Spirit. Such experiences include love for fellow believers, desire for understanding the scriptures, conviction of sin, good works; . Eternal security: the question, “Can a truly born again Christian ever be lost?”, is asked by may believers; and some teach that since we have eternal life we can live as we like – even in sin without fear of judgment. We must, however, be careful to understand that God’s chastening even to the point of death will take care of such behaviour. God’s wrath will be upon all immorality and disobedience, and it could be said that such behaviour is evident in false professors of Christianity . The Scriptures teach that our God is able to keep all that have trusted in Him for their salvation, and that nothing can ever separate us from Him: “To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy…” . As Christians we are encouraged to work out our salvation with the understanding that we can do so because God is working in us , and that we should always turn away from evil since our Lord knows all those that belong to Him . There are many other scriptures that teach that we can never lose our salvation and that we can never be separated from our heavenly Father . Some scriptures may be misinterpreted because they are taken out of context or incorrectly applied to the Church; our Lord in reference to the end of the age, or the period of tribulation, stated that those Jews that endured to the end would be saved or delivered , this enduring would indicate that they really believe. Some teach that our failure to warn the unsaved of coming judgment will cause us to lose our own souls, but here again the reference is not to the Church, it is to the nation of Israel and to the prophet Ezekiel . There are also those that are known as apostates or false professors, who are never actually born again, and these will abandon “the” faith, not a personal faith in Christ , and false teachers who are not saved and have left the “straight way” (NIV) . Our “holding on” or “holding fast” is the evidence of our salvation and not a condition . Another passage that is often taken out of context, saying that believers can “fall away”, is referring to Jewish believers urging them to leave the rituals of Judaism and to mature in the character of Christ, and there are other references to Jewish people who falsely profess to be believers in Christ . These have only been mentally but not spiritually enlightened, they have only tasted but are not partakers of the divine Spirit; and despite their spiritual opportunity they chose to reject Christ and cling to the dead ritual of Judaism. This passage does not apply to true believers in Christ, but it is applicable to individuals today who may be students of Christianity yet decide to reject the salvation offered to them, and God cannot offer anything further but eternal judgment. “You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.” ; this “falling from grace” refers to falling from the principle of living by grace to the principle of living by legalism; and other passages refer to loss of rewards rather than a loss of salvation . The attributes of each Person of the Godhead guarantees a permanent and secure salvation, completely by grace and not by our works, and cannot be lost .

 

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