The Daughter Of Zion Eternally Presents

THEOLOGICALLY SPEAKING

Salvation Justification Sanctification faith works and the Christian life. Are we earning our way into heaven or are we being obedient to God because we have heaven?

 

What do I mean by "have heaven"? We dont OWN heaven but in being "born out of God" we have a place IN heaven. More to the point, heaven is for those who have Eternal Life.

I have a minister friend who tells me that I would be surprised at the people who trot out their Christian Resume of perfect attendances since childhood or all the positions thy have ever held in the local church or all the stuff they have done in Jesus name as the reason why God would accept them into His heaven. The come across as workers and heaven is the "pay off". She herself was the daughter of a church deacon and grew up in church. She married a man that wasnt so "churchy" and he got "saved"... she thought that now things would change in her household like they would be able to say "grace before meals". Things did change alright, but not in the way she was expecting. Her spouse gets saved and now she is on the outside looking in. She puts it that "whatever he had I didn't. He was "in" and I was "out". She couldn't sleep at night for fear of death. Her salvation testimony was to discover the actual battle for her soul in the spirit realm and to be "apprehended" for God. This testimony puts a damper on the concept of "earning ones way into heaven"

Still there is a fundamental confusion between salvation's Justification and the Christian life of Sanctification. One writer of the New Testament tells us we are "saved by grace through faith and not of works" another tells us that he would show us "his faith by his works" and we read all this and the debate begins in earnest.

What we fail to see, just as Jehovah's Witness fails to see, is that the Salvation moment and the Sanctification which follows are two distinct things. Salvation gets you "into heaven" in that God will let you into His heaven because you are "saved" or more acurately you are "born out of God", what we call "born again". Salvation is the OPEN DOOR the NARROW WAY ENTRY. In Salvation you are DECLARED to be holy blameless and without reproach. In the Sanctification Process you BECOME what God has already declared you to be. Sanctification is that NARROW WAY of life IN this world and yet not OF this world. Now in Salvation the "work" is seen as COMPLETE by God but it is in Sanctification that the "work" becomes actually as complete in us as God sees it to be at the time of Salvation. For in Salvation we are JUSTIFIED by the free gift called Eternal Life, but while it is free to us it is not FREE at all; for it does come at a cost to somebody.

That "somebody" would be God who "so loved the world that He GAVE His Only Uniquely Begotten Son" to take His wrath and curse on our behalf; even though of all those who ever walked the Earth this "man" actually EARNED His Salvation via a life of perpetually, perfect, personal obedience unto God under the Law of Moses. HE alone establishes and fulfills all the Law and it will be His Spirit who empowers the "born out of God" to obey the Moral Law and Keep the Commands of Jesus Christ. To continue to walk in the "faith of the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us"(Gal 2:20) as the work of the Holy Spirit is being done in us to make us all God has declared us to be.

In Sanctification we live out the Life of Christ as it is "exchanged" in us for our life, and here is where all the Scriptures about putting off and Putting on come into play. Here is where the gift of the Faith of The Son of God carries us and works in and through us to "both will and to do the pleasure of God". (Phil 2:13)For we are "God's workmanship created for Good works that we should walk therein." (Eph 2:10) The "Good Works" are the things that are "wrought of God" that God originates and causes us to perform, such things as are pleasing to Him. This goes from the private life to the public life, to ministry or business; in fact even EVERY aspect of our lives. This is where the baptism and walking in the Light and in Love (the Love of God, law of Christ) being holy as He is holy etc come into play. This is where the works "demonstrate" the faith of Jesus Christ. (We obey what we believe or rather our beliefs dictate our actions) But NONE of this applies to Salvation. ALL of this flow out FROM the Estate of being Effectually Born out of God, aka Effectual Salvation.

SO then, what of faith works justification and salvation? Surely God will not save a dead wretch will He? Will He not? For if we apart from Christ who unlike Christ are born of Adamic seed and original sin and have iniquity and are considered to be "dead in tresspass and sin"(Eph 2:1) should be able to boast of having any part in our salvation then what are we? God? In the place of Him who determines whom He will show His mercy to? Really? For if we can save ourselves why should the Father have ever gone to the trouble of sending His Son to die in our place and to take the wrath and the curse of God in our place? To pay the penalty we deserve IN OUR PLACE. Lest we forget that Jesus, The Christ of God, does NOT HAVE iniquity or original sin AT ALL. He is in a class all by Himself and although He can "relate to our struggle" having eperienced what it is to be tempted in all the same manners as are we in our Sanctification Process ... He never gave in for unlike us, it was never in His nature to want to sin or to exercise will over His Father. He is not born and shaped in His mothers womb IN INIQUITY. He is GOD. He is above all that but because He has taken on Human flesh, He understand the weaknesses of Human flesh or the Human Condition. He understands the need to push through fatigue, hunger, pain, mental anguish, physical discomforts, and the constant sense of the evil surrounding that tends to entice man to sin. He also can boast to us that in all this HE OVERCAME. He pushed through and succeeded and in His Spirit so can we. For He shows us that to be Human is not necessarily to sin.

If the problem of Original sin can be dealt with, in that we are indebted to it; then, the chance to be in God's good favor might be possible. Jesus comes and solves the problem by being the One through who God Almighty reconciles the whole Earth unto HIMSELF. In that He earns His salvation and does not need a savior HIMSELF but becomes the offering and offerer of sacrifice in blood and body for OUR ESTATE OF SIN AND MISERY; taking upon Himself ALL the wrath and curse of the Father on our behalf He becomes the WAY back to The Father. We on the other hand, have no hope outside of Christ for we are DEAD in our Trespasses and Sins (Eph 2:1). We cannot initiate faith to believe or ears to hear or a heart to recieve because we are DEAD, sealed up and shut up into our sins (Rom 11:32). But when Christ comes...

His is the faith given and the Good News is that Power of God unto Salvation or... the result of Regeneration of our spirit by The Holy Spirit. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word Of God (Rom 10:17) or the Gospel message as the Holy Spirit causes us to "hear". The dead heart is Quickened to LIFE or Regenerated and the heart of Stone becomes the heart of Flesh that can now be moved upon and recieve the GIFT OF FAITH to believe. For we are SAVED BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH. This gift is not a wage or payoff for services rendered as if we could ever render anything apart from Christ that is remotely pleasing to God.

The Whole Enchilada

Grudem's Systematic Theology breaks the whole Salvation experience down.

First, there is the Gospel call.
Many are called but few are chosen (Matt 22:14). The many of the whole world is mandated of Christendom to be given the Gospel or Gospel call, which the Gospel message in and of itself is The Power Of God unto Salvation. But we being dead in trespass and sin cannot answer that call. For that call must be answered by Faith and the dead ... have none.

At the funeral home if the fire alarm goes off, unless the funeral director moves the corpse, it is generally understood that all the living will be heading for the door but the dearly departed will be going nowhere. I daresay the attitude of the corpse would be "let it burn... I wont feel a thing" because he or she is DEAD. The dead do not speak, nor do they feel, nor do they care. Neither does the reprobabte soul of the unbeliever when faced with the Gospel message. But unlike the person at the flaming funeral home our reprobate souls have an "out" if we are ... Chosen or Elect. This leads to the second thing.

Second is Regeneration.
This fancy word is the action of the Holy Spirit on the spirit of an Elect person to "hear" the "Gospel Call" and "respond" accordingly. This is the Gift that is Effectual Salvation. Without Regeneration there is no hearing or heeding and there is no "faith to believe". Once again I must underscore that we are DEAD here. Funeral home is fully engulfed as is the path of our eternity, straight into Hell's flames, forever; and we could care less. So over and over again we are faced with the Gospel call perhaps and yet we keep turning a deaf ear, but then one confrontation comes along and for some "insane reason we cant explain" there is a response. We "hear and believe and are converted". The faith like the hearing is part of Regeneration and is a gift as is the message itself. Lest we forget that the Gospel is the Power of God unto Salvation.(Rom 1:16)

Third is the Response.
Now that the Holy Spirit has Regenerated or "awakened our heart" as has often been said, we find ourselves cut to the quick of the heart asking what must we do to be "saved"? Believe and Repent. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, that He is who He said He is and that His work is sufficent to save you and call upon Him to save you and repent, placing the faith given you upon Jesus into a position of trusting on Him to redeem you fully. Some people also add baptism as a part of the Salvation response. There are ongoing arguments to this. For my part I take the "jewish thing" reponse. In Acts the speaker was a Jew speaking to Jews and proselytes gathered for the reading of the Law and the Pentecost Offering. John the Baptiser had already come along before Jesus ever preached His first sermon, telling the Israelites to repent and be baptised in order to prepare their hearts for the coming of Messiah. Baptism is also a ceremony of washing to be cleansed ceremonially and is also done in order to enter the Temple itself. Done in a pool with steps called a Mikvah and done as immersion fully, it is the outward cleansing which expresses the Covenantal standing of the person so being immersed. This Baptiser's call was for Israel and the Mikvah was for jewish males only as a prelude to entering the Sanctuary of Temple. In the Yom Kippur ceremony the High Priest will go into the mikvah ceremony not once but twice. First to don the white linen and second to doff it for the regular priestly vestments. But baptism does not save. Not even infants are saved through it. But rather baptism is a sacrament as most protestants understand it. It is said to be the outward response to the inward grace. But believing and repentance are the essential ingredients that comprise "the response" to the "Gospel Call". Repentance meaning to turn away from the wicked way or the path that leads to your destruction and enter into the Covenant of Grace through the faith of the Son of God being placed on the sufficient means of redemption done by Jesus to make a permanent atonement for the soul of an Elect person. This repentance is expressed as the "calling upon the Name of the LORD so as to be saved". (Acts 2:21, Rom 10:13)

Finally The Conversion.
For by grace through faith we are saved and not of works. So we can brag of nothing. (Eph 2:8-9) You did not choose to "Try Jesus" God chose you before the World was created. In fact before anything was created for it was His plan and you were chosen to be part of it long before you even were a glimmer in your mother's eye. Salvation is a gift of Grace on God's part. Conversion is the action of Effectual Applied Salvation, converting the spirit of a person.

This all ends our part. We were there, we heard, we were regenerated at the right moment, we responded, the Effectual Salvation occurred. But our part was to BE. Air does not become regenerate and is not converted, it takes the presence of a human being. But still God innitiates and empowers so really we had no part at all. Still for the purpose of the argument, we had our part.
But what happens next is completely and totally God and God alone. We dont respond, we dont get a moment with anything, save to be acted upon. This moment is when God responds to our repentance and "expressed believing faith" and Justifies us. In this act we are Declared "forgiven". This is a Legal Decree which removes from us the handwriting of all ordinances which were against us and imputing them to His Dear Son on our behalf. The legal Decree of Justification is that though in essence we are without hope and guilty, someone else has paid the penalty meant for us and having satisfied the justice of God The Father, Jesus Christ of Nazareth's self earned righteousness is imputed to us and our estate of sin and misery is imputed to Him. This is also been termed the Life Exchange. His life for ours. His righteousness for our sin. His one Righteous Act for our Original sin and sins committed past present and future.
It is said the Justification could be said to be "just as if I'd never sinned". This is just the Legal Declaration mind you. The rest of the life of the Born out of God one that declaration will be Made into a Glorious Reality.
That is Sanctification.

 

But in order to appreciate the Sanctification process and in order to walk fully in it, one must come to a correct understanding of this thing called Justification. First off you have NO PART in it. According to Grudem's Systematic Theology Paul specifically speaks on the topic of Justification in Romans 8:30 "Those whom He predestined He also called and those whom He called He also Justified and those whom He justified He also Glorified." So the first thing we see in Justification is that it is tied to Election. The Call is the same as the "many are called but few are chosen" as in it is the Gospel call. According to Gruden, it includes, Regeneration by the Holy Spirit and Belief with the "Faith of The Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us"; which gives rise to our response of repentance unto conversion. All of this is involved in the Call. The next step is one that God alone does for Paul tells us that Whom God calls God also Justifies. Romans 3:26 tells us that God justifies the person who has the faith that Believes on Jesus for salvation. Most put it as does Grudem, "the faith in Jesus" but the Greek tells us this may be best understood as the Faith OF Jesus. For the faith to be saved come from Jesus ... not from us as the manner in which this is being described seems to indicate. Moreover this is not of works. Now when we say works we have to take into account who Paul is talking to. Paul is talking to Rome, to both Jewish and Gentile believers and quite possibly a lot of Jewish prosalytes. The synagogue and indeed Judaisers taught that to be truly saved one must not only go through the whole regeneration applied effectual salvation conversion justification thing but also be "circumcised". Circumcision of the foreskin is the sign of the Old Testament covenant. Circumcision of the heart to put off the heart of stone and put in the heart of flesh... is New Testament. There IS a difference. Be that as it may, circumcision according to Jewish law is also called a WORK OF THE LAW. To capitulate to this on any level meant that what has already happened was insufficient to save. This could not be farther from the Truth.


For Paul tells us that this justification is done APART from the Works of the Law. Because the Law only shows you your sin, it is insufficient to save you from that (those) sin(s). Since we are justified apart from the LAW, Romans 5:1 tells us we now have PEACE WITH GOD. In Galatians 2:16 Paul tells us that man is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ; or rather through THE faith OF Jesus Christ. Our Bibles tend to make it out that we supplied the faith and placed it in Jesus, but the reality is that the Faith OF Jesus is supplied by the Holy Spirit and we use it to BELIEVE the Gospel message which HAS THE POWER TO SAVE. This is more correctly understood as Heeding The Call.

So then exactly how would we define justification? Grudem puts it thus: Justification is an instantaneous legal act of God in which he (1) thinks of our sins as forgiven and Christ's righteousness as belonging to us and (2) declares us to be righteous in His sight. That thinking of Christ's righteousness as belonging to us is better stated as IMPUTATION. The psalmist cries out in joy and says blessed is the man whose sin are forgiven him to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity. Part of sin is iniquity which is best understood as the evil bent of the heart. This Imputation is the same as that the righteousness of Jesus, WHICH HE EARNED, is now ours "BY LAW", that is the law of The Court of God on high, not Torah Law. He then DECREES IT AS SO. Now this declaration of Decree is powerful because it starts the Sanctification Process of the Holy Spirit now resident in us to actually make a real fact the Decree so spoken. By the time our mortal puts on immortality, which is glorification, our souls WILL BE Holy Pure and WITHOUT BLAME.