Vol. 17, No. 24 – June 17, 2018
Eph 6:17, “And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
The Meaning of Salvation
The benefits of your union with Christ are described in various ways. We can group the Bible’s many images into three distinct categories: new situation, new self, new steps. As we have seen and will see below, salvation in the Bible is a three-dimensional phenomenon, (Past, Present, Future; New Situation, New Self, New Steps; involving God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit). In this section we are going to note the categories of new situation, new self, and new steps.
New Situation: Salvation as objective change, (continued).
To be saved means that your legal status has changed, and you have acquired new rights and responsibilities as a result of your union with Jesus Christ. Four leading images depict the new situation brought about by God’s saving work.
1.) The first is the image of “redemption,” that reminds us of the marketplace, the place where things are bought and sold. Jesus Christ purchased our lives by paying for our sins upon the Cross. Therefore, we have been purchased from the slave market of sin.
2.) The second imagery is that of “justification,” an image drawn from the court of law. To be justified is to be declared innocent by the presiding judge. Sinners who are “In Christ” have been formally pardoned from the guilt of sin by God the Father and now live a new life in Christ.
3.) The third image is that of “adoption,” HUIOTHESIA, υἱοθεσία from HUIOS, “son” and TITHEMI, “to “place,” it means, “to place a son” or incorporation into the family. In the believer’s case, it is placement or incorporation into the Royal Family of God. Therefore, to teach the Church Age believer about His position “In Christ,” Paul draws an analogy to the custom of “adoption” practiced by the Roman aristocracy.
Roman adoption officially designated someone as an heir, whether or not that person was related by blood. The Caesars usually adopted successors who were not their sons. Often, however a father would adopt his own son, granting him the full privileges and responsibilities of the family name.
The ceremony of adoption also marked the boy’s transition into adulthood, traditionally at age fourteen. Paul depicts Israel as an immature son in Gal 3:23, and the Church as an adult son and heir in Gal 3:25-26. At a dramatic moment in the Roman ceremony of adoption, the new heir is clothed with the magnificent “toga virilis,” the garment of manhood, Gal 3:27.
Gal 3:27, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
Christians wear the spiritual equivalent of the “toga virilis” from the moment of salvation, when the Baptism of the Spirit occurs, Eph 1:13.
The significance of our adoption into the family of God is that the Church Age believer has been removed from the cosmic system as a child of the devil, and has been placed as an adult son into the Royal Family of God, of which the Lord Jesus Christ is the Head, Col 1:13-14. Adoption means that the Church Age believer is spiritual aristocracy now and is intimately related to all three members of the Trinity.
Col 1:13-14, “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son. 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Through the merits of Christ, Church Age believers are adopted as adult sons of God and joint heirs with Christ at the first instant of faith in Him, Rom 8:15-17; Eph 1:5.
Eph 1:5, “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.”
Although a spiritual infant in experience, every Church Age believer is a spiritual adult in position. He is granted the full privileges and responsibilities of an adult son of God because he is in union with the Lord Jesus Christ, Rom 8:23; 9:4; Gal 4:5-7; Eph 1:5; cf. Ex 4:22; Isa 1:2; 56:5; Hosea 1:10; 11:1.
Gal 4:5-6, “So that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!””
The process of adoption is linked to the work of the Holy Spirit, whom Paul calls the “Spirit of adoption.” The body of the saved are members of God’s kingdom and God’s family alike. The believer is not a child of God by nature; the image of adoption emphasizes the graciousness of salvation. Adoption pictures union with Christ in terms of enjoying all the privileges that come with one’s status as a legal child of God, as “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,” Rom 8:15-17; cf. Eph 1:13-14; James 2:5.
Eph 1:13-14, “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.”
Gal 4:7, “Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.”
Titus 3:7, “So that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
Sonship / adoption thus relates to the present and also to the future consummation of adoption and the inheritance of eternal life. At the resurrection of the Church, also called the Rapture of the Church, the believer will obtain the full manifestation of his sonship, called the “redemption of the body,” Rom 8:23; 1 Thes 4:14-17; Eph 1:14; Phil 3:20-21; 1 John 3:2.
Therefore, our “New Situation” speaks of our adoption into the family of God, as sons and daughters, because of our union with God the Son, Jesus Christ, with all of its privileges and blessings of an eternal inheritance.
4.) Finally, Paul depicts the “New Situation” of the saved with an image drawn from the domain of personal relationships, “reconciliation.” The doctrine of Reconciliation first speaks to the removal of the barrier between God and mankind that kept us from having a personal relationship with God. Yet, through the salvation work of our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross, that barrier called sin was removed, providing peace between God and man, and giving man the opportunity to enter into a personal relationship with God.
“Reconciliation,” is the Greek noun KATALLAGE, καταλλαγή, that also means “restoration to favor,” which is a picture that assumes a previous estrangement that has been overcome or healed. In ancient Greek it meant, “the restoration of the original understanding between people after hostility or displeasure.” This original understanding is the state in which God created man that was interrupted by sin in the Garden of Eden.
The root word KATALLAGE denotes action initiated and completed by God in restoring man to right relationship with Him through Christ. Redeemed man is the recipient of God’s reconciliation, Rom 5:11; 11:15; 2 Cor 5:19.
Likewise, the Greek verb KATALLASSO means, “to change someone from a state of hostility into a state of tranquility and peace, from enmity to reconciliation.”
All people are by nature enemies of God because of sin, Rom 5:10; Col 1:21.
Rom 5:10, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved (delivered) by His life.”
Col 1:21-22, “And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.”
God is similarly alienated from human beings because of his righteous anger, Rom 1:18. Yet, it was the death of Jesus Christ that overcame sin and averts the Divine wrath, 2 Cor 5:19; Eph 2:16.
2 Cor 5:19, “Namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”
Eph 2:16, “And might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.”
“The reconciled” is the expression of the transformation of the relationship of enmity between God and man, which has been brought about by the new Adam, Jesus Christ, cf. Rom 5:12ff. Through personal faith in Jesus Christ, the barriers between man and God are removed and we are entered into right relationship with God and Jesus Christ, Rom 5:8-11; 2 Cor 5:17-19.
Rom 5:8-11, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”
2 Cor 5:17-19, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”
Peace is a synonym for reconciliation, since being reconciled to God through faith in Christ establishes peace between God and the believer. Peace is not only a synonym for reconciliation, but is the only way to completely understand what God did for us and that there was nothing we could do for salvation. Peace means that we have His righteousness and His life, Col 1:19‑22.
“The revealed truth of the Bible is not that Jesus Christ took on Himself our fleshly sins, but that He took on Himself the heredity of sin that no man can even touch. God made His own Son “to be sin” that He might make the sinner into a saint. It is revealed throughout the Bible that our Lord took on Himself the sin of the world through identification with us, not through sympathy for us. He deliberately took on His own shoulders, and endured in His own body, the complete, cumulative sin of the human race. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us …” and by so doing He placed salvation for the entire human race solely on the basis of redemption. Jesus Christ reconciled the human race, putting it back to where God designed it to be. And now anyone can experience that reconciliation, being brought into oneness with God, on the basis of what our Lord has done on the cross.” (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest.)
Our Lord commands us to also have a heart of reconciliation towards our fellow man in the image of our reconciliation to Him, Mat 5:24, “First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
Thanks to this reconciling work, one who is “In Christ,” enjoys restored relations with God and, like Abraham, may be called, “the friend of God,” James 2:23.
New Self: Salvation as inner change.
Next, we have the “New Self.” This means that to be “In Christ” is to undergo inward renewal, 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15.
2 Cor 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
This means that we have a new subjective condition, a new self, to go along with new objective status of our new situation, noted above. It means that because of our new situation being “In Christ,” we are to live for Christ.
One of the most striking images of this inner transformation is Jesus’ metaphor of rebirth, being “born again,” John 3:3-7; cf. 1 Peter 1:23.
1 Peter 1:23, “For you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.”
The need for this inner renewal was perceived by the psalmist in Psa 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
As a macrocosm to the spiritual life of the Church Age believers, the prophets foresaw a time of national renewal and spiritual cleansing for Israel, Ezek 36:25-28, when God would make a new covenant by writing His law on people’s hearts, Jer 31:31; Heb 10:16.
Ezek 36:25-27, “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.”
Paul exhorts all believers to walk in the newness of this rebirth we have received, as Jesus’ resurrection is a sign that the new life has already begun. Because believers share in Christ’s resurrection, Paul can refer to the “new man,” which is the reborn spiritual nature inside of the believer that provides for his personal relationship and walk with Jesus Christ, Rom 6:4; 8:1; Eph 2:10, Col 2:6.
Rom 6:4, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”
Col 2:6, “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.”
John also exhorts the believer to walk in the newness of life, 1 John 1:7.
1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
God calls upon men and women who are “In Christ” to put off their old natures and be renewed in the spirit of their minds, Rom 12:1-2; Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:9-10.
Rom 12:1-2, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Eph 4:22-24, “That, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
Col 3:9-10, “Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him.”
The “New Self” designates a new power and a new orientation to life, which is described as a renewal of God’s image in humanity, defined by Christ. To be born anew means, to join in the new humanity of the Second Adam, to be made more Christ-like through the renewal of one’s inner nature by the Holy Spirit, John 1:13; Titus 3:5.
Titus 3:5, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.”
Therefore, as part of our salvation past, present, and future, being “In Christ,” having been made a new creation, a new spiritual species, we are to walk in that new nature consistently, allowing God’s transforming work to occur within our souls through the intake and application of Bible Doctrine through the power and filling of God the Holy Spirit.
Eph 4:23-24, “And that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
New Steps: Salvation as behavioral change.
The company of the saved, as a result of their union with Christ, rebirth, and gift of Christ’s Spirit are expected to live differently.
Not only the natures but the actions and interpersonal relations of the saved are transformed, Gal 5:22-25. 1 John also provides special emphasis on the moral and spiritual implications of our rebirth.
Gal 5:25, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”
1 John 3:9, “No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”
1 John 2:6, “The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”
James’ epistle demonstrates that as a result of salvation by faith, a new way of life should emerge that is filled with Divine Good Production, good works, which are the evidence of faith, James 2:24f. Therefore, salvation received in faith is expressed in good works performed in faith, rendering that believer a “vessel of honor,” 2 Tim 2:21-22.
Christ gave himself for the Church not only to change our legal standing before God, but also “that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word … that she would be holy and without blemish,” Eph 5:25-27; cf. Col 1:22; Heb 9:14.
Col 1:22, “Yet, He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.”
Heb 9:14, “How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
The body of the saved give evidence of their new natures by walking according to the Spirit, and in particular by the quality of their love for one another, 1 John 4:7.
1 John 4:7, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”
Therefore, the meaning of Salvation to the believer is that they have a “New Situation,” an objective change to their legal status before God. What signifies this new status is that they have been redeemed, justified, adopted, and reconciled by God through the work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross and the resultant ministry of the Holy Spirit. With that, believers have a “New Self,” an inner change which means to be “In Christ” is to undergo inward renewal. This is first accomplished by the regeneration of your human spirit at the moment of your conversion, and then the continued renewal of your mind by the intake and application of God’s Word through the filling of God the Holy Spirit. That then leads to the “New Steps,” or behavioral change we are to undergo as a result of our salvation with the result of producing Divine Good, the Fruit of the Spirit. Believers are expected to live differently in this world because of the Christ-like nature that is developed within. This is the demonstration of our salvation to God and to a lost and dying world.
Taken together, the biblical imagery for salvation makes up a three-dimensional description: Salvation is an objectively new situation, a new self, and a new way of life that is past fact, present experience, and future hope, and partakes of the economy of the gift of God’s own triune life; Father, Son, and Spirit, to those who do not deserve it. To be among the body of the saved is to be united with Him who is, “the way, the truth, and the life,” John 14:6. It is to enjoy a New Situation, (the truth of our life in Christ), a New Self, (the life of the Spirit of Christ in us), and a New Way of life, (the way of righteousness defined by Christ). With all this said, the Bible’s controlling image of salvation is neither of a process nor of a promise, but of a person, Psa 27:1a, “The Lord is my light and my salvation.” 2 Cor 9:15, “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”
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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#18-062 – 18-063
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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.
Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I Welcome You to the Eternal Family of God !!!