December 12, 2018
Charting The Process
of God’s Salvation
William L. Owens
In eternity past, the self-existing God who reveals Himself as Father, Son and Spirit, created all spirit creatures such as angels who attended His pleasure. Angels were assigned their appropriate duties. One angel, whose name was Lucifer, seems to have been the guardian of God’s throne (Ezekiel 28:14).
Lucifer rebelled and attempted to usurp the authority of God (Isaiah 14:12-14). God discovered iniquity in his heart. God judged him and cast him down to earth, and he became the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4), but his ultimate judgment is eternal damnation (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 12:7-12). He was Lucifer, meaning son of morning, but is more often called Satan meaning the adversary. As the adversary of God, Satan also is the adversary of all mankind. He is working against all God is doing in the world to restore creation to its former glory.
We are not given the details of creation other than earth. (It is possible that God created other planets, galaxies, and universes before or at the time He created earth (Genesis 1:1).
God created Earth, all living creatures, and a man He called Adam (Genesis 1:2-2:20).
God created a woman out of Adam and she was named Eve (Genesis 3:20).
God created a perfect garden in Eden and instructed Adam and Eve to tend it and to eat from the trees in the garden for their nourishment (Genesis 2:8-16).
However, there was one exception; they could not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil or they would die (Genesis 2:17).
The serpent came into the garden and tempted Eve to eat from the forbidden tree. He suggested she would not die, but would be like God, knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:1-5). Seeing the fruit was good to eat and desirous, she ate and invited Adam to eat and he ate. Eve was deceived but Adam was not (Genesis 3:6).
When Adam and Eve ate of the tree they knew imme- diately they were naked and became fearful of God. Their awareness alerts us to how quickly sin affects one’s life. They also died spiritually being separated from God’s fel- lowship (Genesis 3:7-19).
God’s judgment on sin quickly followed; He judged the serpent (Satan) for tempting Eve; He judged Eve for not believing God’s instructions; He judged Adam for dis- obedience (Genesis 3:14-19).
The rebellion did not take God by surprise. God the Son had agreed in eternity past to pay for the sins of the world by dying as a sacrificial Lamb for sin (Revelation 13:8).
Adam and Eve tried to cover their nakedness with fig leaves and hid from God among the trees (Genesis 3:7). (Their action was apparently unacceptable to God.)
God restored fellowship with Adam and Eve by providing them animal skins to cover their nakedness (Gene- sis 3:21; Hebrews 9:22). (The skins represented the shed- ding of blood for their sins.)
Because of the testimony of Jesus, we now know the skins were a foreshadow of His death as a sacrificial Lamb in human history for the sins of the world (John 3:16).
The disobedience of the first human parents removed innocence from the human spirit so that all descendants of Adam and Eve are born with a nature that has a nat- ural tendency to sin (Romans 6:23).
Salvation is revealed to be a three step process. (God has chosen to save all who believe His witness by justifying, sanctifying and glorifying them.)
Step 1: Justification
Justification takes place when one believes in Christ as personal Savior. Because Christ died for the sins of the world, the Father pronounces believers justified and saved from His wrath against sin.
Failure of the First Adam Dooms All
Adam, the 1st man was a created being (Genesis 2:7).
He was tempted by Satan to believe God’s forbidding them to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge was not for their benefit (Genesis 3:5).
Adam sinned by not obeying God; Eve sinned because her flesh desired the fruit and because she believed Satan’s lie. She yielded to her desire and partook of what God had forbidden (Genesis 3:6). Note the following facts:
- All mankind, as the offspring of Adam and Eve, are lost without innocence, and are rebellious toward the will of God (Romans 5:8).
- In the state of our natural birth, we are in bondage to sin (Romans 8:21).
- In bondage, man finds himself the servant or slave of sin (Galatians 5:1; Hebrews 2:15).
- As a sinner, man is ruled by his fleshly desires.
- The Law of God is a curse to him. Why? Because it
condemns his behavior driven by his flesh (James 1:14, 15). Therefore, man is lost because he is separated from God and under God’s curse of both physical and spiritual death (Romans 3:23). (There is no evidence that death existed before Adam sinned.)
Success of the Second Adam Saves Believers
The 2nd and last Adam (Jesus) was the only begotten Son of God (John 3:16). He has always existed; He was not cre- ated; He was incarnated in human flesh (John 1:14). Je- sus is the only Son (born of His seed) God has ever had.
He was tempted in His humanity to sin against the Father, but He refused to do so (Luke 4:1-13). In all His earthly life He never disobeyed; He never sinned (Hebrews 4:15).
The 2nd or last Adam (Jesus) was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).
The 2nd Adam, innocent of sin, died for all sins ever committed in the world and took upon Himself the wrath of God that we sinners deserve (1 John 2:2). (Jesus’ substitutionary death for the sins of the world, satisfied God’s holiness and enabled Him to grant forgiveness and mercy to those in bondage to sin.)
Christ was crucified to pay the penalty for sin; He was buried to submit to God’s curse of death on those who sin; He rose showing Himself to be the source of life and victorious over sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).
God declared He would forgive all who repent and believe His good-news regarding Christ dying for the sins of the world (John 3:14-16; Romans 5:8). God restores the believer to a spiritual state through the new birth (John 3:5).
Because Christ committed Himself to the cross be- fore the world began (Revelations 13:8), God made it possible to save believers from every generation who placed their faith in His witness (Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6; James 2:23). (It was on this basis, that God forgave Adam and Eve, Abraham, Moses, David, etc. He forgave them on the expectation of Christ’s crucifixion in earthly history.)
Step 2: Sanctification
Sanctification is an act of being set aside for God’s exclusive use. There are two aspects of sanctification.
The first is known as positional sanctification and it takes place immediately upon trusting Christ. When one believes on Christ, the Father spiritually positions the believer alongside Christ in heaven.
The other aspect is experiential sanctification and is progressive in nature. It takes place in the dimension of time and is completed when the Lord terminates the believers time on earth and brings him home. He will use either physical death or the rapture to bring us into His eternal presence (John 14:1-3; I Thessalonians 4:13-18).
Sanctification has only one goal: the glory of the Father through the sanctifying power of the Word (John 17:1,17).
The Father is glorified when His children take on the spiritual likeness of His Son (2 Peter 3:18; Romans 8:28,29).
The Christian life is a series of experiences directed by God to assure the believer arrives at the desired desti- nation of completeness in Christ (Romans 8:28, 29; Hebrews 13:20, 21).
God provides the Christian with the Holy Spirit who guides, instructs, comforts, and convicts.
The believer responds to the Holy Spirit’s leadership:
- He counts himself in the heavens with Christ (Eph- esians 1:20);
- He counts himself free from the judgment of the Law (Romans 8:1);
- He counts himself dead to the condemning power of sin (Romans 6:6; 11);
- He counts himself holy or perfect in Christ (James 1:4);
- He counts himself resting in Christ (the vine) to provide him with the spiritual energy (life) to live abundantly to God’s glory (John 15:5);
- He counts himself as having God’s presence when facing the trials and temptations of life (Hebrews 13:5; 1 Corinthians 10:13).
Step 3: Glorification
The Christian's glorification occurs when he receives his spiritual body in Heaven. It is unclear what believers will have in the way of a body before the resurrection. Some have suggested that God will provide us with a temporary body until our resurrection.
All glory belongs to God. He alone is deserving of adoration and worship.