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Podcast 257:   Salvation 101

Podcast 257: Salvation 101

Jesus, at the close of the Sermon on the Mount, speaks some of the most frightening words in all of Scripture.  He draws a clean distinction between those who are saved and those who are deceived in thinking they are saved.

He begins by explaining the narrow way to life and the broad way that leads to destruction (Matt. 7:13-14).  And many, He says, go the way of destruction.

He then tells us we will know those who are deceived by the lack of fruit in their lives.  Spiritual fruit is the only evidence, according to Jesus, of true salvation (Matt. 7:15-20).

Finally Jesus tells us many will be deceived on the Day of Judgment and be cast from the Lord’s presence.  Why?  Because they “practiced lawlessness” (Matt. 7:21-23).

Incredibly sobering words.  Want to hear more?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on True Salvation.

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Salvation:   Can Faith and Feelings Exist Together?

Salvation: Can Faith and Feelings Exist Together?

Previously we looked at the three phases or tenses of salvation— past, present, and future— from the golden chain found in Romans 8:29-30.  We can sum up what we’ve discovered as follows:

Past – Justification – Separation from the Penalty of Sin
Present – Sanctification – Separation from the Power of Sin
Future – Glorification – Separation from the Presence of Sin

But there’s so much more in these few verses.  Let’s take a look at them one more time.  Romans 8:29-30 reads:

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

Once again, this golden chain, as it is called, goes from eternity past (foreknew, predestined) to eternity future (glorification) and includes the point in between where we become aware of our salvation (justification).  Some of these links in the golden chain of salvation can be personally experienced by each of us emotionally.  Some, we can only appropriate by faith.  And this is where confusion enters into the equation.

Faith, Feelings or Something Else?

For centuries, since the Reformation, the church has preached salvation by grace through faith— plus nothing and minus nothing (Eph. 2:8).  And this, without a doubt, is true and orthodox.  The church has tenaciously fought against adding anything to salvation and somehow cheapening Christ’s sacrifice on the cross or deeming it less than sufficient to redeem those He died for.  To add to the completed work of Christ is, in itself, one of the greatest forms of blasphemy.  But we will look at that topic in detail in the future.

In addition, to guard against the deception and false salvation that can come when emotions are added to the salvation mix, over the last century and a half much of the church has equated any emotions as of the flesh and the antithesis of faith.  In other words, faith is non-emotional.  Faith is the opposite of emotions or feelings.  And, if our faith is centered on our emotions and not on the tenets of the Gospel, then true salvation doesn’t take place and the emotional, recent convert is still dead in their trepasses and sins (Eph. 2:5).

But not all of that is true.  Yes, if someone’s faith is placed in their emotional feelings, such as tears at the altar or a euphoric sensation of bliss or peace, and not on the completed work of Christ on the cross, true salvation doesn’t take place and the individual is still in their sins.  That’s a given.  But that doesn’t mean faith and feelings are mutually exclusive and cannot even be together in the same room.  The Scriptures simply don’t teach that matter is bad and spirit is good, like ancient Gnosticism, nor that all emotions are evil and the opposite of faith.  Why?  Because repentance and conversion and the dying of the old man and the resurrection of the new man can, and should, be a spiritual and an emotional experience.

This exchange of the old life for the new life should impact the very depth or core of the repentant sinner (2 Cor. 5:17).  Salvation and the imparting of the Holy Spirit as our guarantee of our future inheritance with Christ (Eph. 1:14) should dramatically affect the entire person:  physically, spiritually, emotionally, morally, socially, and intellectually.  There’s not a single door in our makeup that Christ will not now invade.  The Holy Spirit now takes up permanent residence in our lives and will create in us “rivers of living water” (John 7:38).

So salvation is by faith through grace and not of any human work (Eph. 2:8) and is first experienced by us at justification (Rom. 8:30).  It’s here, at justification, that we first become aware of our cleansing by the blood of Christ and the fulfillment of His promise to give us the Holy Spirit (John 14:15-17; Acts 2:38).  It’s at this point the crushing gravity of our sins are revealed and we understand, maybe for the first time, that we are guilty, condemned, and sentenced to an eternity of torment in Hell for those very sins.  Our utter hopelessness is paraded before us.  Our supposed good works, our ace in the hole, our own self-righteousness, is now seen for what it really is— filthy rags, refuse and putrid garbage (Isa. 64:6).

We repent of our sins, our failures, our arrogance, pride and rebellion and receive, by grace through faith, the forgiveness provided only by the death of Christ— an eternal forgiveness and reconciliation offered by Christ alone.  Conversion takes place.  Regeneration.  And now we take the faith God sovereignly provides us and place it in the hands of the living Lord Jesus believing, above all else, that His death atoned for our sins, satisfied our eternal debt with God, and were paid in full (1 John 2:2).  As Jesus said from the cross, “It is finished!” (John 19:30), or “Paid in full!”  Our sins were imputed to Him and His righteousness is imputed to us and we are free, forgiven, saved and justified in the sight of God (2 Cor. 5:21).

Sorry, but what we just described, the salvation experience, would also involve your emotions as well as your spirit.  Just look at the emotions involved in repentance alone.

And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil (Luke 7:37-38).

You also have the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-24) and Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10) and many other examples of those whose repentance of their sins was accompanied by great emotion.  Emotions of joy, emotions of gratitude, emotions of shame, emotions of hope.  They run the gambit.

Question

So, you ask, “What is this so important?  Why are we making such a big deal of this?”

The reason is simple, part of our golden chain of salvation can be experienced by us in real time, in the flesh, emotionally.  We know for example, and not just on blind faith, when justification took place in our lives and the old man died to sin.  We can also know, looking back, of God’s effectual call on our lives when we could sense Him moving us towards Him.  Any testimony you hear will include elements of God’s effectual call.  “I was listening to the radio and, well, I don’t know… something a preacher said just resonated with me.  I couldn’t get it out of my mind. Later, when I came to Christ, I realized God was calling me to Him long before I actually came and surrendered my life to Him.”

Sound familiar?

The entire journey of sanctification can be known emotionally as well as spiritually.  We know when we fail God and we know when we can feel His pleasure.  We know when we are convicted of our shortcomings, driven to our knees in repentance, suffer the grieving of His Spirit for some selfish sin, and can feel the joy and exhilaration of experiencing a renewed relationship with Him.  We’ve all experienced some, or most, of these and we know when they happen.  They are both spiritually and emotionally appraised.

On the other hand, glorification is something we can only know by faith.  And so is God’s foreknowledge and His predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom 8:29).  We accept these on faith since we have no emotional way of knowing or confirming when they happened or if they happened to us at all.  Some of the golden chain is known spiritually by faith alone and some is known spiritually by faith with an accompanying emotional aspect to it.  No, make that a wonderful emotional aspect to our salvation.  After all, simple love is more that faith, it is also emotion

But what happens when someone claims to be saved, to love Jesus more than anything, and yet has no, none, nada, zero emotional affection to the Lord, His church, His Word, or other Believers?  What would we say about a person like that?  Are they saved?  Or, are they just quiet, not a people person, private, withdrawn, an introvert, stoic, or maybe… “Uh, I don’t like to talk in front of people”?  What happens when someone tells you they love their wife and kids more than anything but feel nothing towards then?  Do they really love their kids? Are they a liar?

Or maybe they are deceived?

We will look deeper into this issue next.

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Salvation:  Past, Present and Future

Salvation: Past, Present and Future

“It may be that the Deity can forgive sins, but I do not see how.” – Plato

In Romans 8 we have what is commonly known as the golden chain of salvation.  It goes from eternity past (foreknew, predestined) to eternity future (glorification) and includes the point in between where we become aware of our salvation (justification).  Romans 8:29-30 reads:

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.  Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

This golden chain also speaks of the three tenses of our salvation:  past, present and future.  In essence, “I was saved, I am being saved, and I will be saved” all accurately and Scripturally describe salvation, or the phrase “you are saved” found in 1 Corinthians 15:2.  Let me explain.

Justification – Free from the Penalty of Sin

In the past, God saved us from the condemnation of sin, or the penalty of sin.  He did this on the cross and it is appropriated to us at the moment of our conversion— when we believe, in faith, the words of God regarding the Gospel and our faith was “accounted (or, reckoned, imputed) to him (and us) for righteousness” (Rom. 4:22).  This is called justification.  It’s defined as a legal act whereby God views our sins as forgiven in Christ and then views Christ’s righteousness as now belonging to, or imputed to, us.  It is the point in the golden chain when God “declares us to be righteous” in His sight (Rom. 5:9; Gal. 3:24).

Justification separates us from the penalty of sin and it is the time when we first become aware, personally and experientially, of our salvation.  We know something has changed in us, some sort of “new birth” has taken place (John 3:3), our old man has died and the new man is now alive and we are now dead to sin but alive to Christ (Rom. 6:11).  For us, this is where our salvation begins.  This is when we say, “I have been saved”— it is the time when my sins were forgiven by the blood of Christ.  This is the past tense of our salvation.

Sanctification – Free from the Power of Sin

The present, active tense of our salvation is called sanctification.  It’s in this phase or tense when we are separated from the power of sin that previously ruled over our lives and we are in the process of being conformed to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29).  It’s the “I am being saved” aspect of our salvation.  It’s when we desire to walk like Him (1 John 2:6), to think like Him (1 Cor. 2:16), and to live like Him (Gal. 2:20).  It’s the maturing process of our salvation when we learn, often gradually and by trial and error, to put off the old man in practice and continually put on the new man and grow in our likeness to our Lord (Eph. 4:22-24).

Sanctification can be defined as a separation unto God, and is the same Greek word, hagios, as holiness.  So we are separated unto God in holiness, to reflect His nature and to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:13-16).  It has an eternal component to it whereby we are eternally and positionally separated unto God, once and for all, by the blood of Jesus Christ at salvation (1 Cor. 1:30).  But it also involves the practical, day by day, experience of separation unto God by obedience to the Word of God and faithfulness to the commands of Christ while we wait for the Lord’s return.  In essence, through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit the Believer, through trials and hardships, temptations and testings, or the everyday ups and downs of life, is transformed into the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29) and free from the power of sin.  Thus sanctification is the present, on-going, real-time, current aspect of salvation for the Believer.

Glorification – Free from the Presence of Sin

In the future, in the “I will be saved” phase of salvation, the Believer will be forever freed from the presence of sin.  Forever freed.  This final removal of the presence of sin in the lives of all Believers is called glorification and will take place at the Lord’s coming when His glory and honor and praise and majesty and holiness— literally all His wonderful characteristics and attributes, will be realized in each Believer (Rom. 5:7).

According to Philippians 3:20-21, our true citizenship is in heaven with our Lord and when He returns He will “transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”

How do We Live in the Past, Present and Future?

So how are we to live knowing our salvation as revealed in the past, present and future?  How are we to spend our days serving our King knowing what glory awaits us with the Lord?  Consider and reflect on the words of John, the Apostle Jesus loved (John 13:23), as he answers this very question:

Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.  And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure (1 John 3:2-3).

We are to purify ourselves, just as Christ is pure.  We are to be holy, just as Christ is holy (1 Peter 1:16).  We are to walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh (Gal. 5:16) as we take every thought captive in obedience to Him (2 Cor. 10:5).  We are, in other words, “once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Walk as children of light” (Eph. 5:8).  And how do we do that?  By striving to discover what is acceptable to the Lord (Eph. 5:10) and what the will of the Lord is (Eph. 5:17)— and then obediently following, without looking back (Luke 9:62).

Amen and amen.
Come Lord Jesus.

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Podcast 252:  The Feasts of Israel and the Coming Messiah

Podcast 252: The Feasts of Israel and the Coming Messiah

For the Jews, prophecy was not just predicting the future as we think of it today, but prophecy dealt with patterns that pointed to a deeper truth, a future truth. So all the Jewish feasts were not just commemorating some past event, but they were also, by their schedule and pattern, also pointing to something in the future, something prophetic.

For example, we know the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread was fulfilled by Jesus and the cross. But did you know the Feast of Firstfruits was fulfilled in the resurrection and the Feast of Weeks in the birth of the Church?

What about the Feast of Trumpets or the Feast of Tabernacles or the Day of Atonement. What future events do these point to? Want to know more? Then keep listening.

The following is a study on Zechariah 14:16-21 and Leviticus 23.

To download the notes from this message, click – HERE

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Podcast 251:  All the Bloody Stuff We Don’t Like Talking About

Podcast 251: All the Bloody Stuff We Don’t Like Talking About

Romans 12:1-2 speaks of our response to God for His abundant grace and mercy. In essence it asks, “What are we to do with all the goodness You have shown us?” And the answer is simple:

I beseech (or, urge, beg) you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present (what) your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

And how do we go about doing that?

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, (why) that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

How does this fit in with the book of Leviticus? Listen and find out more.

The following is a study on Leviticus 1:1-17.

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