Monday, April 10, 2006

God's Orderly Work Of Salvation


Only the just God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob can save anyone from the guilt of sin and the punishment of it. This God that saves men is the Triune God of heaven. The Trinity is the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. In the salvation that God provides it is the Father that has chosen His people from the before the foundation of the world and has predestined them to be conformed to the image of Christ. The Son, the second Person of the Trinity, gave Himself in their place to redeem them from the judgment of a just God, thereby bring the forgiveness of sin. In the shedding of His blood He purchased those whom the Father has chosen; they are bought with the blood of Christ. The Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Holy Trinity, enlightens the sinful mind to the truth of the purposes of God in the death of the Son Jesus. He then sets a seal on them, securing and establishing them in the salvation Christ purchased for them.

Notice what the Apostle Paul stated in the letter to the Ephesian Christians:

Eph 1:3-14 Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly [places] in Christ: 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love: 5 having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 to the praise of the glory of his grace, which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved: 7 in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trepasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 making known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; [even] in him: {heaven: Gr. the heavens} 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. {trusted: or, hoped} 13 In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

The call of God and the work of redemption by God in the elect is not an act simply just done, but it is a labor of divine love that is worked by the triune God toward those called to Himself in fellowship. In this labor of divine love God makes all the provisions which are needed for fallen man to believe in Christ for salvation. In working to redeem men God works in a series of acts: calling, regenerating, justifying, adopting, sanctifying, and finally glorifying those whom he calls His own. Each of these series of acts are distinct functions of divine labor of love worked by God in bringing men to salvation. These workings of God , in man at the time of salvation, may happen almost simultaneously, nevertheless they are in an order and one part of His work must be done prior to the next. An Example is that His calling must always be before regeneration.

God is a God of order. He has shown Himself to be orderly in His work in creation, in the way He established the church to function, and in the works of history, etc. (1Cor. 14:33; Gen 1-3; Gal 4 (in the fullness of time) etc.) Therefore we can only expect the Bible to tell us the orderly way in which He works in man for salvation. In the salvation of men we can continue to see His revealed character for He continues to be the same yesterday and today and forever.

God from eternity past has orderly decreed the salvation of his chosen people from the sin and misery which was brought about due to the fall. Notice the orderly works of God in the following passages:

1 Thess 2:13-14 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received [it] not [as] the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. 14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they [have] of the Jews

1 Tim. 1:9-10 Who hath saved us, and called [us] with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

God has decreed salvation and therefore the Bible declares that men are called "according to His purpose". And His purpose is carried forth and worked in an orderly fashion. "For whom God foreknew he predestined".

It can be understood in the writings of the Apostle Paul that there is an orderly flow in the work and process of salvation from the foreknowledge of God to the completed salvation worked in the believer at glorification. The Apostle uses a broad brush, and not a detailed portrait, (yet an accurate account) in giving the scope of the orderly salvational work of our God to us. Notice the phrases "whom he ...he also" as "phase one" of salvation leads to "phase two" and so forth. It is clear that God first foreknows then predestines so forth and so on it goes in the passages below.

Romans 8:29,30 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Here listed are a chain of events and a brief description of their meanings which the Apostle Paul lists are:

Foreknowledge which is the English translation of the Greek word "prognosis" meaning foreknowledge, forethought, or pre-arrangement. Biblical foreknowledge refers to the redemptive thoughts and special love which God set forth on the people it has pleased Him to call His very peculiar ones. Because of the special thoughts and love He set upon His people they then are predestined. NOTE: See the recent blog “Biblical Foreknowledge Defined” for an understanding of the idiom “to know”.

Predestinate is translated from the Greek word "proorizo" which means: predestinate, determine before , ordain, to predetermine, decide beforehand. It means to be appointed or ordained beforehand in the eternal decrees of God. God predetermined that those who have the love of God set upon them due to His "prognosis" are to be conformed to the image of the Son, Jesus Christ. Believers are appointed beforehand, by the special love and thoughts of God, to become similar or are to be fashioned like unto the Lord Jesus Christ.

Called is translated from the Greek word kaleo {kal-eh'-o} meaning to call aloud by name so as to bear a name. Christians are people specially set aside by God to bear His name and banner, in "prognosis" love, therefore God the Father has predestined the believer to be conformed to the image of Christ, His Son. Therefore they are effectually called to bear His name in all the earth. They are known as His people. Those whom God sets his special foreknowing love upon are those whom He predestines to be changed in character to be more and more like Christ. These people God effectually calls to salvation by the work of regeneration by the Holy Spirit and through the redemptive work of Christ. Thus in the end when salvation has been accomplished in them they are "become the sons of God", adopted into the family and carry forth His righteous name in praise.

Justified is the English translation of the Greek word dikaioo {dik-ah-yo'-o). The word means: to be rendered in a judicial sense, righteous. Those whom God foreknew and predestined He then regenerates and by the perfect life and blood sacrifice of Christ, judicially declares righteous. He then treats them as if they had never sinned and adopts them into the family of God. In the shed blood of Christ our sins have been atoned and we are no longer enemies of God. We are reconciled and are now His children. What a comfort and a blessing. We are now constituted righteous. God has worked and now has imputed the righteousness of Christ to us. We therefore have the forgiveness of sins, are treated as though we had never sinned and are adopted into the family of God and we will in the day of our Lord be glorified.

Glorified here comes from the word "doxazo" from which we understand that on the day of the Lord we will be made glorious, adorned with a new body, clothed in majesty given to us by the grace of God. On that day our salvation will be complete in that we will be fully delivered from the power, and presence of sin. He on that day will cause us to likened unto the Son. Therefore we can say that all the ones whom God set His love on, calling them to justification and righteousness will be glorified on the day of the return of our Lord. We will shout on that day in a full measure, "Oh death where is your sting, grave where is your victory" there will be no more death sorrow or tears for our Lord has triumphed in all things. Our Lord will return, we will be raised with a body incorruptible that will never pass away in death, and we will give forth praise to the Lord who bought us and redeemed us.

It is important for us to understand this salvation in an orderly manner for then we have greater assurance in our salvation than we did when we first believed. We also will have grown in our knowledge of the God of order. We will know that it is He who works all things for his own glory. We also can move in this life with greater obedience, praise, worship and adoration to the Sovereign King.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. Amen!


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