Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Process of Salvation

Romans 10:8 "But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
The process of salvation may take an instant or a period of time, but culminates in death. It is outlined in these passages.

Firstly, one must hear the word. Being the word it can be read, or be presented audibly as Philip did to the eunuch when he was born-again. After understanding God, the word is taken to heart, then faith develops. Faith is trusting that the word is truth, and is the only way to be saved. Faith is accepting Jesus Christ's death, as payment for one's own sins, and allowing that is the only way to be saved.

It doesn't take much faith to be saved. Even a little faith is ample because of God's grace. However, the more faith one has means there is less doubt. Doubt is the reciprocal of faith. The degree of faith is imperative because there is less doubt. Satan's forces uses doubt to steal the believer away. True, one must believe, but that implies enough belief to trust. The more trusting one is, the more dependent that person is on God. Faith, then is dependence on God. It's when a person comes to realize, I can't save myself, but God can. The moment that, that Light shines on a person, they are enlightened, and are born-again. Darkness is replaced by God's Light, or the knowledge of God.

Belief in the resurrection is a must. If Jesus is not alive, how can a sinner be? Paul presented salvation and the resurrection to the Greeks in Athens. To be saved requires a belief that the person shall live forever. If that were not the case, what is it that anyone would be saved from? The answer to that is, eternal death in hell. When is it that sinners are saved from hell? At death. Paul wrote, "now is our salvation nearer than when we believed." This implies that salvation is down the road a spell from the time that we first believed (trusted) in Jesus. Thus, being born-again is being made safe, but salvation occurs at death.

This last statement is imperative for Arminians - those who accept the doctrine of falling away called conditional security. Indeed the moment one is born-again, Satan's legions do all they can to use the doubt still within the believer to defuse them. The best example in scripture of an attack on the faithful is the Book of Job. Job believed in the word. He knew Jesus would someday be born to save because he spoke with God. That wasn't God's little secret. He told all the patriarch of his plan. From day one, salvation through the death of Jesus Christ was his plan, and there was never a plan B!

Paul referred to the safety in putting on the whole armor of God, and referred to it as the hope of salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:8). Hope is the time between when we first believe and death. Hope actually implies there is some degree of doubt, otherwise Paul would have said the certainty of salvation. It's not, are you saved? - I hope so! but I am safe, and have hope that I never give up confidence in God because Satan's job is to undermine the confidence of those with hope. A loss of confidence is losing faith, and that is called apostasy, and is blasphemy; denial of God.

When one has the hope of salvation, that person can lose hope. Satan works on the doubt implied by hope, and endeavors to enlarge doubt to the point it becomes certainty - one can become certain that God will not punish to the point that God, in whom they formerly trusted for salvation, is no longer trusted at all! It's hope they lose because they had never yet obtained salvation, still being alive. That is important because one can only be saved one time, and salvation means that the time has already come and passed. Once done nothing can be undone. That is part of natural law and is of God.
Hebrews 6:6 "If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame."
Jesus was crucified one time for the sins of all mankind. Salvation can't be undone because if it were, it would be as if Jesus was crucified again. Because one can lose faith, it can't be regained, because loss of faith implies distrust. After failing to trust Jesus once, it would be a lack of trust to move in and out of hope because distrust in God is not hope at all.

The process of salvation is not yet done. What would the prize be worth if we failed to tell others about it? It would show lack of enthusiasm for the gift, and an apparent taking it for granted attitude.  we are not owed hope. It is a gift. When a sinner receives hope God expects that person to be grateful enough o share that hope. In our confidence we are expected to, with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Because we are safe our desire is that others have the same hope that we have . We want their eternal destiny to be salvation. We know that we truly are born-again when we confess Jesus, or give him the credit, for our eternal life. That is taking the emphasis off the self, and crediting God for his mercy.

Then as a demonstration of faith, we are to carry the message to the world.
Matthew 24:14 "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
Being born-again entails loving others to the extent that just as God, you would want that none should perish (John 3:16).  What is it that you can do? Confess to others with your mouth by carrying the gospel to the people. This takes work, and works are the assurance of salvation.
Hebrews 6:10 "For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. 11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end..."
 If you're not working in showing love for others, then you should doubt that you were born again. In this case doubt is from God, but it is to bring one to repentance, not to destruction. You see God can use doubt for his will too because it is a recognized trait of our humanity. It's why we have just hope, and not confidence. Only God is confident in our destiny because he knows his own will. We must trust him with limited power - thus hope.

"Salvation" in Romans 10:10 is swthria or "safety".  With faith we are brought to safety and shielded there by God. Satan nor his legions can harm us, but merely use persuasion as he did for Job. He destroyed others, but not faithful Job. He passed the test and ran the race well. God was pleased with him.

The more faith that we have the more confident we are with our salvation. Job had doubts at times, but his faith made him safe from the evil one. God put a hedge around him - his armor. Job, just like Abraham, had great faith. His works, like Abraham's, was attributed to him as righteousness. What must we do to inherit eternal life? Keep the faith!
Revelation 14:12 "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus."
Keeping the faith is hard work because Satan goes to and from to undermine it. I am confident that I will keep the faith because my trust runs deep. If I choose, I can allow myself to be redirected but my confidence in Jesus is too great for that. With that said, Satan still tempts me because if he cannot win me back, he can at least try to diminish God in the eyes of those less confident.

I am not on my own. I don't run the race by myself, but accept God's power. 
2 Thessalonians 3:3 "But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil."
Because I am faithful, God is, and the other way around! God complements me as I compliment him, or do his will. My faith is a gift from Him, but in order to keep the faith, it takes work. God's grace is even the source of my own works. What I am able to do is not from me, but from God. He will maintain my faith if I allow that of Him.

Safety culminates is salvation. In the end, we all will be judged. If my name is written in the Book of Life - that I maintained my faith until the end, then my eternal destiny is secured. Of course it already is at my death, but justice demands that I stand before God so that my sins are exposed to me. I must know the tragedy of my life's priorities to fully be punished. God doesn't want people in hell wondering why? Part of our punishment is fully knowing why, just as the rich man did in the story of Lazurus.

Hope is that we hear the words, well done good and faithful servant. Salvation is at the moment we hear them. Until then we have the hope of salvation or for most, the dread of punishment for injustice.

For those who have no hope, their life is all about dread. Those who have no faith, dread death because punishment lies on the other side of it. That can be rectified. Right now with what little light God allowed me to shine with this commentary, you fully know your destiny, and only you can prevent eternal fires.

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