March 27, 2015 - A. V. Rauf
Stages of Salvation (Part I)
I want to spend the next few posts focusing on the importance of spiritual maturity, stages of salvation as well as rewards that await believers when we meet our Lord and Savior at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. That being said………..
One of the real reasons we have been called is to let our actions show forth Christ. The “fruit of the Spirit” in our lives is proof that we are, indeed, Christians.
Galatians 5:16-26—This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
In this regard we must examine the importance of sanctification.
The 3 “Stages” of salvation:
- Justification—saved FROM the BONDAGE of sin
- Sanctification—saved FROM the POWER of sin
- Glorification—saved FROM the PRESENCE of sin
Justification means receiving God’s eternal Life in our spirits. It means accepting what Christ has already done for us on the Cross. He paid the price and because of that we have been declared justified and not guilty. Justification means we have passed from being separated from God to being united with Him. Thus, if we were to die at this point, we would definitely go to be with Lord and be guaranteed an entrance to the Kingdom of Heaven.
So, think of justification as the first step towards salvation—our spirit at this point is saved. However, our soul (mind, will, emotion, intellect & imagination) is still the same as it was before we were “born again.”
Romans 12:1-2— I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
It has not been changed at all. This is where the next step of salvation comes in. It’s called “sanctification,” which simply means seeing the Life of God that was placed in our spirits and hearts when we were justified begin to come forth and actually transform our souls into the image of Christ—His thoughts becoming our thoughts, His Love, our love and His desire become our desires and so on and so forth.
The word sanctification (Strong’s #38, hagiasmos) simply means “separated unto God.” It means to actually become clean, holy and righteous in all we think, say and do.
Sanctification is simply the process by which God actually conforms us back into His image, so we don’t just “talk” about being Christians, we actually show forth Christ’s character.
Romans 8:28-31—And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 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. 31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
Furthermore we learn in 2 Thessalonians 2:13 tells us that God has chosen us “to salvation through sanctification.”
2 Thessalonians 2:13-17—But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. 16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, 17 Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.
In other words, sanctification of our soul is God’s will for every believer, however, it’s going to be our own moment-by-moment choice whether we allow Him to conform us into His image or not.
Ephesians 5:26-27—That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Sanctification is the means God uses to make us partakers of His Life so that we can become those over-comers who inherit the Millennial Kingdom. Remember that each of the Seven Letters to the Seven Churches in the Book of Revelation promises a reward to the overcomer.
Revelation 12:11–And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
Of course, the “ransom work” has already been finished (the external completeness, our justification), but the inward completeness must still be secured. Thus, there is a conditional aspect of sanctification. This will depend upon the willingness of the believer to die to self and be alive unto God. Sanctification, therefore, is the first step in the “ladder towards the kingdom:”
- Sanctification (being open and cleansed) leads to partaking of Christ’s Life (actually living His Life)
- Partaking of Christ’s Life leads to overcoming
- Over-coming leads to inheriting and co-reigning with Christ during the Millennial reign of Christ.
(TO BE CONTINUED……)