“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Deut 6:4-5
Clearly a two stage salvation? How can that be? If so, what stage are each of us in?
Paul said, “But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 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, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:4-7 (NASB)
Note two processes. 1. the washing of Regeneration (Greek means renewal or regenerated but is formed from 2 root words meaning to bring back and (to) life or birth) See Strong’s 1343
2. “Renewing” (Greek means “renovation) see Strong’s 342.
Paul (again) makes it a little clearer.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified, by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 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 by His life.” Romans 5:8-10 (NASB)
Note: 1. Justified (declared righteous) and so reconciled to God by the blood of Jesus. 2. (future tense) through Him. Again, 1. Reconciled (by justification) to God by the death of Jesus, we shall be saved by His (Jesus’) life.
We must first be declared righteous by identification with the blood of Jesus where we ask Him to be Lord of our lives. Then we enter into the process of making Him Lord by embracing His Way, Truth and Life.
John expresses the two stage experience this way, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:36 (NASB)
Again two processes. Expressing trust while knowing that believing means to entrust yourself to the Lordship of Jesus, to obey the Son! Once reconciled, to not obey or disobey is rebellion and the breaking of the covenant you have entered into with God. The Ways of Jesus are meant to empower us further through life in righteousness by righteous choices. Only obedience accomplishes this.
Much of the church has not seen obedience as an expected fruit or criteria by God, I believe, because we have not recognized the two stage plan of salvation. Many have prayed a prayer and think OK I am good to go? You know they have! What about us? Are we obedient in the Lord’s ways? Do we hate anyone? Does anyone hate us? Who are we going to vote for? Do they adhere to Godly principles? Does this question make you angry with me?
Of course we have no chance of salvation without reconciliation. We have no chance of future salvation if we violate the rules and do not repent from our heart. We will have made our birthright of no account by choosing to hate or apologize, clinging to our bowl of soup, if you will. (Heb 12:14-16)
Remember Jesus said (I paraphrase) he who endures to the end will be saved. (Matthew 24 13-14) That is future tense. He is speaking to believers of their future reward, their eternal salvation in the future and the fact that something very specific will cause them to lose that reward. He also would have lost His resurrected life if He had not loved us enough to forgive and intercede for us from the cross.
“Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. 13 “But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” Matthew 24:12-13 (NASB)
Jesus is also saying that a cross-like type of experience does not exempt us from loving our offenders and interceding for them.
Clearly there is a future understanding to our salvation. That is profound and contradictory to our thinking that nothing is required of us. Jesus came to tell us saying there are things required of us in our development as children of God IN Christ.
I heard a loved and honorable local preacher on the radio us a slogan that sounds good. “All you need is Jesus.” Yes that is true if you understand that there are two stages to salvation. Reconciliation which means mutual submission between God and us, and then the renovating of our souls in the renewing of our minds as demonstrated by us in our obedience to the Ways of Jesus the Christ.
Renewing (which follows reconciliation) is the result of learning what is expected of children of God, we the joint heirs with Jesus, and obeying these several commandments. John 14:15, 15:10, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.
“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:18 (NASB)
Finally, in Sunday school the word “believe” was discussed. “Pisteuo” to believe, to entrust. Strong’s 4100, and I did not have to say a word at all in class! PTL! The Lord told me not to speak at all in class before I left home for church.
“He who believes [entrusts himself to] Him is not judged; he who does not believe [entrust himself to Him] has been judged already, because he has not believed [entrusted] in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:18 (NASB)
Jesus name means “Yahweh saves.” This is the meaning behind the name of Jesus and it is what we must believe entrust ourselves to. How do we do that? Proceed from being reconciled to God into a life of practiced obedience to Jesus and His commandments.
Our future salvation is arrived at by two stages, reconciliation and renewing or renovation by the Holy Spirit; resulting in our obedience. “We are saved by His life.” Romans 5:10
One last point. The renewing to come after reconciliation had to happen after Jesus departed when the Holy Spirit would be sent. He would bring to our remembrance the Words of Jesus guiding us into all truth. Truth that requires a guide.
“If we remain in His grip, how far from His heart can we be!”
In the guardianship of Christ,
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