(2nd article in the Salvation Series)
By considering the story of the Bible (see my article, What is Salvation and Why is It Needed?) we discovered that man’s fallen condition is the result of his EGO. It’s man’s ego that leads him to eternal death.
Unwilling that any man should die eternally, God came to earth in the form of a man, Jesus. He lived a sinless life so that the sinless nature created by that life could be passed on to man thereby saving him. But how is this new nature transferred to man?
How God Transfers His Unlimited Nature to Man
It’s transferred through the death/life process illustrated by a seed.
An example of this process can be seen in nature. Scientists tell us that plants produce new life through the DEATH of their seed. For example, if you take an apple seed and plant it in the ground, that seed will die in order to produce the sprout coming up from it. What we see in the death of Jesus is an amazing 2-step process of a similar kind. God takes the old fallen limited nature of man, kills it and then raises Jesus’ new unlimited nature for mankind to access.
Let’s take a look at each step so you can see how this is accomplished.
STEP ONE is the death of man’s limited nature. In order for God to release man from the control of his limited nature he had to remove the penalty of death from it. With death hanging over man’s head how could He give him new life? To give man new life, God took the penalty of every mistake, past, present and future for every man, woman and child that will ever exist and placed them on Jesus. Since God foreknows, He has the capacity to do this. Death is the natural penalty for mistakes and if God wants to take the penalty of every mistake and pay the price of it for you, He can— and that is what He did. He became you— He became your limited nature through Jesus.
|My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?|
This happened on the cross when Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me”? Having the sin of mankind placed on him, Jesus (the man) died spiritually as God separated His Spirit from him (spiritual death is separation from God). As a result, Jesus could no longer see or hear God through the eyes of his Spirit. Without the ability to see and hear God’s voice, he became 100 percent LIMITED in perspective. Then with Jesus’ physical death, God killed the SEED of man’s limited nature. Jesus paid the price for every mistake (sin) ever committed by dying with man’s limited nature attached. Man does not have to pay for the penalty of his mistakes anymore. They have already been paid.
In STEP TWO of the seed death/life process, new life arises. We see this in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. But the Jesus that went into death is NOT the same Jesus that came out of death. The Bible refers to Him as the FIRSTBORN FROM THE DEAD (Colossians 1:18). In that he defeated death, he represents a NEW SPECIES, a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Whereas Adam before him populated the world with a limited nature, this Jesus populates the world with a newly created unlimited nature. The new nature He offers is the new life (sprout) created by the death of a seed. But how does he transfer His new nature to you?
Natures are populated by BIRTH. Just as you were born into Adam’s limited nature through the seed of your parents, you can also be born into Jesus’ unlimited nature by being born of His Seed (1 Peter 1:23). In the physical we see sperm penetrating an egg for conception. In the spiritual it’s God’s Holy Spirit that penetrates the egg of your heart. Our fallen spirits are regenerated by His Spirit. We become sons and daughters of God by birth.
So we see the PROCESS of Christ’s new nature, but what does man need to do in order to RECEIVE this new nature?
Man's ONE ACTION is to BELIEVE in the work of Christ (John 6:29).
As I’ve explained the story of the Bible over the last two articles, do you see any correlation between the Bible’s explanation of man's problem and your personal problems (ego, selfishness, sin, limitedness)? If so, step out in faith— respond to the story of the Bible.
Man's one action of belief is accompanied by an ATTITUDE OF REPENTANCE. Bring yourself under the DEATH and RESURRECTION of Christ.
Remember, the story of the Bible says that He died and rose for YOU. He died for your sins so that you could have His life.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21
But you have to appropriate this into your life. You do this when you TELL GOD that you IDENTIFY with His actions toward you.
This begins the process of salvation. God justifies your spirit (see my article, Understand Who You Are in Christ).
The Apostle Paul puts it this way:
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Be BAPTIZED. Baptism is always the first action of a new born Christian. Why?
Because it is an outward expression of the death, burial and resurrection experience of Christ in your heart. The Apostle Paul says:
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
It is also the first step of obedience to Christ living in you.
Whoever BELIEVES and is BAPTIZED will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Notice that baptism is a function of believing, it DOES NOT save you in and of itself.
The Importance of Repentance in the Process of Salvation
We’ve seen that salvation is a combination of belief and an attitude of repentance. It is identifying with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
This process continues through 3 phases of our salvation experience. God doesn’t just save us all at once. If He did we’d be perfect overnight. Instead, He does it in stages:
Justification: God saves our SPIRIT. This happens instantly. This is the INITIAL believing, repenting and baptizing experience. I just described it above. By believing in the work of Christ (John 6:29), God rebirths your fallen spirit (1 Peter 1:23) and places you in the Kingdom of God (Ephesians 2:6). He gives you His Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19).
Sanctification: God saves our SOUL. That is, our mind, will and emotions. This takes a lifetime, but God does it the same way He saves our spirit. He does it through the death/resurrection process. As we die to ourselves each day, God raises Himself up in us.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must DENY THEMSELVES and take up their CROSS (an instrument of death) and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.
As we lose our life for God by dying to our self (ego), we become the righteousness of God— our mind, will and emotions are changed.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God— this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world , but be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your MIND. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is— his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Glorification: God saves our BODY. This happens at the resurrection of the dead.
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the DEAD IN CHRIST (their bodies) will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
At the resurrection, our salvation will be made complete. As God raises our bodies from the grave, they will be made imperishable. Our spirit, soul and body will operate in perfection. We will reign with Christ in His earthly Kingdom (Revelation 20:6).
So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is RAISED IMPERISHABLE; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
1 Corinthians 15:42-44
The Emergent Church on the other hand gets it all wrong (see my article, The Emergent Church Deception). They never (hardly ever) mention repentance. For the Emergent Church it’s all about what God can do for you. You know the good stuff— prosperity, healing, miracles! It’s “your best life now”. They forget about the DYING part. It’s Christianity without the cross.
Christianity Without The Cross
Christianity Without The Cross
Do you want to be a REAL Christian— a Christian that actually reigns with Christ and goes to heaven?
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. MANY will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I NEVER KNEW YOU. Away from me, you evildoers!’
A real Christian submits himself/herself to the death/life process. Because many confuse this issue, be sure to read my next article, What It Means To Believe in Jesus.