SOZO: The Three-Fold
Salvation of God
Rock of Offence Special Commentary
This is part 2 of a two-part Bible study.
In certain situations, this study may be
used as a "stand alone" commentary in order
to address specific questions about the
nature of Christ's salvation. To access
part 1 of this study, click on the
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Misunderstanding The Way God Has
Designed His Redemptive Program
Can Lead Us Astray In Our Faith
THE WORD "SALVATION" HAS THREE DISTINCT DEFINITIONS AND APPLICATIONS THAT MUST NEVER BE MIXED TOGETHER. However, the Bible translators used the same English word “salvation” in each case. One common misconception occurs over the writings of the apostle Paul in Philippians 2:12; “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”. A great number of professing Christians are misled into thinking that salvation (eternal life) is obtained through good behavior, religious service, acquiring godly character or sinless living. In some churches the "fear and trembling" is expressed as an emotional and sometimes public display of distress caused by a perceived failure to "work salvation out" to God's satisfaction. Because of the erroneous Bible teaching of their church, any failure to "work salvation out" could be what causes God to revoke their eternal life. They can never know when they've "crossed the line", which means they can never have any real assurance of salvation. The apostle Paul calls this kind of theology "religious bondage" (Galatians 2:4-5). It's a common yet wrong way of believing the Bible. In our commentaries, we call it "treadmill religion", where someone keeps feverishly working, trying to please God in every aspect of their life because they can't know if their efforts are good enough to keep eternal life. It's based on a false understanding of how God designed His New Covenant redemptive program.
Saint Paul warned that salvation (God’s unmerited and undeserved gift of eternal life) IS NOT OBTAINED THROUGH OUR RELIGIOUS PERFORMANCE AND SELF-EFFORTS, REGARDLESS OF HOW WELL-INTENTIONED. It means that the word “salvation” in Philippians 2:12 is not talking about the same kind of "salvation" involved in receiving God's gift of eternal life (Read Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 6:23, Romans 3:24-26, Romans 5:18-21, Titus 3:5-7). In the Bible, the word “salvation” has three different applications that must never be mixed together. Ignoring or rejecting this vital rule of context continues to lead many astray in their faith.
Various Bible scholars and preachers, who understand the original languages of the Bible, often draw attention to the Greek root word behind the English word “saved or salvation”. Our English Bible (regardless of the version) is translated from ancient Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic texts. The meanings behind the original language root words are sometimes different and more detailed than the way they appear in a particular translation of the Bible (including the original King James Version). Due to this weakness in the translations, highly trained Bible scholars such as Dr. Robert Young and Dr. James Strong (and others) spent their entire lives (without a computer) creating an exhaustive concordance of the Bible (with cross-referenced Greek and Hebrew dictionaries). Their motive was to give students, ministers and theologians an accurate language reference in the hope of preventing the creation of erroneous doctrines and teachings, when only the translations are used as the source.
The Greek root word associated with the English word salvation is “sozo” and it carries several different meanings DEPENDING ON ITS USE. Some scholars warn that “sozo” or salvation (as used in the Bible) isn't just about “being saved from hell”, but also means; rescue, escape from judgment, deliverance, being preserved from harm, escaping temptation (avoiding sin), renewing the mind, prosperity--and physical healing from sickness and disease (this is not an exhaustive list). For example; Jesus healed the sick whenever He preached the gospel as an expression of what His salvation provides.
"When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: THAT IT MIGHT BE FULFILLED WHICH WAS SPOKEN BY ESAIAS THE PROPHET, SAYING, HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES, AND BARE OUR SICKNESSES.” (Matt 8:16-17 KJV—Emphasis Added)
Isaiah also says this about Jesus Christ;
"Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, AND BY HIS STRIPES WE ARE HEALED. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53:4-6 NKJV -- Emphasis Added)
Notice that Isaiah said that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ affects three different areas of the human condition, which are progressively covered in more detail in this commentary.
- THE SPIRIT : "He was wounded for our transgressions and bruise for our iniquities--the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all."
- THE SOUL : "Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows"
- THE BODY : "Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses--and by His stripes we are healed"
Jesus didn’t only bare our sins and our emotional hurts (griefs and sorrows). HE ALSO "TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES AND BARE OUR SICKNESSES”. That makes physical healing of the body (also referred to as divine healing) part of the overall salvation of Christ, which He purchased for us through the blood of His cross.
Unfortunately, we have to be ever mindful of church leaders that distort and redefine this incredible area of Christ's salvation. The following example illustrates the covert and misleading nature of the problem.
One popular pastor invited his radio audience to "believe on Jesus Christ for salvation" so that the Lord could "heal their life" from all of the trauma and painful experiences caused by sin. We generally have no problem with his invitation and hope that many in his radio audience responded. JESUS WILL CERTAINLY HEAL YOU IN THESE EMOTIONAL AREAS--REGARDLESS OF THEIR SEVERITY. As Isaiah correctly said, "He (Jesus) has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows". We don't know what this particular pastor privately believes about the overall subject of healing. Yet, we had a reason for using him in our example. Many take his approach of being "healed from sin" as a way to minimize or even replace physical healing from sickness and disease. Hopefully, this is not the position of the pastor in our example. In Matthew 8:16-17 and Isaiah 53:4-6, Isaiah is not exclusively talking about the countless types and expressions of non-physical hurtful experiences (Isaiah calls them "our griefs and sorrows") from our sinful past, which has traumatized our personality.
Well-meaning church leaders commonly twist and allegorize Scripture when it disagrees with their theology or causes too much controversy. Redefining a Scriptural principle or truth is usually the easiest way to deal with a divisive argument. Shockingly, under some types of Christian theology this is considered acceptable. Divine healing is a subject that brings out the worst in preachers and churches that practice this popular method of handling Scripture. You can be cheated out of an important benefit of the cross if you don't know the New Covenant benefits Christ's sacrifice provides for the Church.
MANY FALSELY TEACH OR SUGGEST THAT ISAIAH IS ONLY SPEAKING OF A "HEALING FROM SIN".
Some preachers openly and publicly insist that this "healing from sin" is God's original intention and has little (or nothing) to do with physical healing from sickness and disease. Yet, Isaiah is not only talking about a spiritual and soulish "healing from sin". He is also telling us about the healing that comes from Jesus bearing our PHYSICAL infirmities, PHYSICAL sickness and PHYSICAL disease ON THE CROSS (yes, we're being redundant on purpose). In this situation, Isaiah's words are not confusing. He didn't say something so unclear that we have to hold a Bible study in order to learn the true meaning of his words. Divine healing upsets a lot of overly religious people and their spiritual leaders, who have been taught to believe the Bible wrong on this subject. Just because someone claims to be a "Bible-believer" doesn't automatically mean that all their beliefs are right. As a result, many insist that God no longer performs these kinds of divine healing miracles (involving physical sickness). They passionately believe that God's original intention is to only "heal us from sin". However, both Isaiah and Jesus clearly disagree with their teaching.
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The Reasons Why Christians Suffer
Other Scriptures add more detail to the
story. It is estimated that Jesus spent
two-thirds of His earthly ministry healing
sick people. What should the priority Jesus
placed on healing the sick say to us today?
"And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them." (Matt 4:23-24 KJV)
"And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, AND HEALING EVERY SICKNESS AND EVERY DISEASE AMONG THE PEOPLE." (Matt 9:35 KJV)
"And they departed, and went through the towns, PREACHING THE GOSPEL, AND HEALING EVERY WHERE." (Luke 9:6 KJV)
"And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, AND HEALED THEM THAT HAD NEED OF HEALING." (Luke 9:11 KJV)
"Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him. But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, AND HE HEALED THEM ALL. . ." (Matt 12:14-15 KJV)
"And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases; And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, AND HEALED THEM ALL." (Luke 6:17-19 KJV)
It is not our goal to do an in-depth study of this topic because of its complexity. Yet, we will cover some general facts about the word “sozo” and the way it affects our understanding of salvation and “saving faith”.
Sozo: The Three-fold Salvation
If we condense everything down to its essential elements, Christ’s many-faceted salvation revealed through the Greek word “sozo” affects three primary areas of the way God created and designed humans. As we learned earlier in this study, the Bible reveals that God exists as a “Trinity” consisting of; the Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit. One of the mysteries in the Bible is how these three distinct Divine personages are referred to as “One God” (Mark 12:29 and Mark 12:32). This is why some theologians refer to God as “The Three in One” (hence the word Trinity). All three perfectly agree (share the same will and desires) and say the same thing. This is one of several characteristics that qualifies them as being ONE. In the beginning, when man was created, God said; “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). Notice that God uses the words “Us and Our” (plural) when referring to Himself. Since God exists in three distinct parts (or personages), He also created man in His image--as a “three-part” being. These three parts are known as; spirit, soul and body--as revealed in the following Scriptures.
"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, PIERCING EVEN TO THE DIVISION OF SOUL AND SPIRIT, AND OF JOINTS AND MARROW, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12 NKJV--Emphasis Added)
Note: The phrase “joints and marrow” used in this Scripture refer to the body. Hebrews 4:12 lists all three parts.
When speaking of the future salvation of the believer’s body (referred to as mortal “flesh and blood”) at what is commonly known as “the rapture or translation of the Church”, Paul made the following statement;
"Now this I say, brethren, THAT FLESH AND BLOOD CANNOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. BEHOLD, I TELL YOU A MYSTERY: We shall not all sleep, BUT WE SHALL ALL BE CHANGED--IN A MOMENT, IN THE TWINKLING OF AN EYE, AT THE LAST TRUMPET. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, AND WE SHALL BE CHANGED. FOR THIS CORRUPTIBLE MUST PUT ON INCORRUPTION, AND THIS MORTAL MUST PUT ON IMMORTALITY. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?'" (1 Corinthians 15:50-55 NKJV – Emphasis Added)
Paul says it a different way to the Roman believers.
"But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead DWELLS IN YOU, He who raised Christ from the dead WILL ALSO GIVE LIFE TO YOUR MORTAL BODIES THROUGH HIS SPIRIT WHO DWELLS IN YOU."
(Romans 8:11 NKJV--Emphasis Added)
Salvation of the Body
Most of us are painfully aware of our physical (mortal) body, especially as we get older. However, few consider the existence and separate roles of our spirit and soul. A vast majority in the institutional church are wrongly taught that the spirit and soul are the same. But, the Bible teaches in Hebrews 4:12 that the spirit and soul are divided (meaning they exist separately). God’s salvation deals with each of these three parts differently. Yet, the Bible translators use the general English word “salvation” for all three, which tends to lead readers to wrongly conclude that salvation only involves going to heaven when we die. This problem alone has led to countless false legalistic Bible teachings and shipwrecked faith. We’ve already looked at the future salvation (or sozo) of the believer’s body, when it is changed from mortal (flesh and blood) into an immortal state. We also discovered an aspect of salvation of the body (or sozo) that provides physical healing from sickness and disease. Jesus repeatedly healed the sick to demonstrate salvation through the gospel during His earthly ministry. Contrary to popular Christian teachings, God still uses “healing the sick” as a demonstration of salvation through the Gospel. Matthew 8:16-17 says that Jesus “took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses”. He “took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses” on the cross AND IT REMAINS PART OF CHRIST’S SALVATION TODAY. Divine healing hasn’t ended as the various critics and cessation theologians claim. In these instances involving the human body, we can see that God applies His salvation (sozo) in more than one way, and each of these ways involve different principles.
Now, let’s briefly look at the other two.
Salvation of the Soul
"...work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." (Philippians 2:12)
As we previously learned in this study, there are three vastly different areas of the human make-up, where salvation operates; Spirit, soul and body. Yet, the Bible translators use the same word “salvation” for each area, often without providing much information about its intended application.
The soul is the location of the will, intellect and our decision-making capabilities. Another term the Bible uses to describe this area is “the mind”. The mind (or soul) is where we make the decision to either obey God or follow our own way. It’s where we ultimately decide to sin or choose not to. When we initially “get saved”, eternal life is immediately imparted to our spirit and the Holy Spirit seals us to make sure God’s gift isn’t lost. However, we don’t immediately (or automatically) receive a new mind when we’re saved. Training our mind to think and act according to God’s ways takes a lot of work and effort. It is a process that Bible scholars refer to as “sanctification”. To illustrate a truth, I’ve heard it called “saint-i-fication”, or where you, in partnership with the indwelling Holy Spirit, begin the task of practically transforming yourself into a saint. It is a “work-in-progress”, where we are conformed into the image of the one who died for us on the cross.
Paul described sanctification (or the “work-in-progress) this way;
"....being confident of this very thing, that HE WHO BEGUN A GOOD WORK IN YOU WILL COMPLETE IT UNTIL THE DAY OF JESUS CHRIST." (Phillipians 1:6 -- Ephasis Mine)
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, THAT YOU PRESENT YOUR BODIES A LIVING SACRIFICE, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2 NKJV—Emphasis Added)
Notice in Romans 12:1-2 that Paul mentions both the body and the mind (or soul), which are two of the three areas where Christ’s salvation operates. He said that we should be TRANSFORMED BY RENEWING OUR MIND. It takes both the willingness of the Christian believer and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit (it’s a partnership) to be successful in this sanctifying work. Contrary to some popular church teaching, sanctification cannot happen until the Holy Spirit comes to live inside us at our initial salvation. We can never properly “clean up our life” WITHOUT FIRST BEING SAVED. The process isn’t successful without our cooperation, which is why Paul taught that this “salvation of the soul” is to be “worked out”.
A lot of confusion and false teaching exists on this subject. Oppressive and misleading salvation doctrine is taught in the institutional church (as bedrock Bible truth), which makes eternal life dependent upon sanctification and violates Scriptural rules of context. Eternal life (salvation of the spirit) is the gift of God that does not require any work on our part (Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 11:29, Romans 10:8-13, Romans 11:6, Romans 4:4-8, Romans 3:24-26, 1 John 1:7, Titus 3:5-7). This is why the type of salvation talked about in these Scriptures can never be the same “salvation to be worked out”, which Paul mentions in Philippians 2:12.
Sanctification (also referred to as “salvation” in Scripture)--or being conformed to the image of Christ, renewing our mind and learning obedience--requires a lot of painful work and sacrifice. Some of us will be more successful than others in learning to be like our Lord and obedient to His ways. HOWEVER, regardless of our success (or lack of sucess) in this area of sanctification, our efforts can never add to, subtract from or invalidate our eternal life (salvation of the spirit), which was sealed inside us as God’s guarantee of our future redemption.
Salvation of the Spirit
It is generally understood that the human spirit (the Bible also calls it “the heart”--it’s not the physical organ that pumps blood) is the unique place where the life of our flesh exists. When a person dies, you often hear family members comment, “their spirit has left” or “their spirit has gone to a better place”. Recognizing the spirit as the repository of life is inbred into the human race. When the spirit departs, the body ceases to live. When God gives us “eternal life”, it directly affects the human spirit because this is where all life resides. When we believe on Jesus Christ according to the Gospel, God IMMEDIATELY imparts eternal life (also called “everlasting life”) to our spirit. He then “seals us” so that this precious benefit cannot be lost. We might view this as God injecting or super-charging our natural human spirit (which has “limited life”) with His life that is “eternal” and never ending. Similar to humans, God’s life is found in the person the Bible calls, “The Holy Spirit”. This “third person of the Trinity” is also called, God’s Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of the Lord, the Comforter, and the Holy Ghost. AFTER THE CROSS, when mere humans believe on Jesus Christ and receive eternal life--a very powerful event occurs. God’s Holy Spirit comes to seal and indwell their physical body, which makes them “the temple of the Holy Spirit”.
"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s." (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NKJV)
"So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, IF INDEED THE SPIRIT OF GOD DWELLS IN YOU. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His (or doesn’t belong to God).” (Romans 8:8-9 NKJV -- Emphasis Mine)
"In Him (Jesus Christ) you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, YOU WERE SEALED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT OF PROMISE, WHO IS THE GUARANTEE OF OUR INHERITANCE UNTIL THE REDEMPTION OF THE PURCHASED POSSESSION (ALL TRUE BELIEVERS), to the praise of His glory." (Ephesians 1:13-14 NKJV) (Also Read About “God’s Guarantee” In 2 Corinthians 1:22 and 2 Corinthians 5:5)
An Important Truth That Operates In
The New and Living Way of Christ
UNDER THE NEW COVENANT OF CHRIST THAT STARTED AFTER THE CROSS, THE SEALING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT HAPPENS ONLY ONCE. CONTRARY TO POPULAR FUNDAMENTAL CHRISTIAN TEACHING, WE ARE NOT SEALED, THEN UNSEALED WHEN WE SIN--THEN SEALED AGAIN WHEN WE REPENT.
WHEN THE HOLY SPIRIT COMES TO SEAL AND INDWELL US, JESUS SAID THAT HE STAYS FOREVER (JOHN 14:16-17, HEBREWS 13:5-6, MATTHEW 28:20).
GOD REFERS TO THIS SEALING AS “HIS GUARANTEE”. IT’S A "SECURITY BENEFIT", WHICH WAS NOT AVAILABLE UNDER THE OLD TESTAMENT MOSAIC LAW PROGRAM, WHERE SIN WOULD CAUSE THE HOLY SPIRIT TO LEAVE AN INDIVIDUAL.
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The Holy Spirit's Role in Salvation
After the Cross
The Biblical term “eternal life” means what it says--it’s eternal (or everlasting). Once again, contrary to popular fundamental Bible teaching, nothing can interrupt or terminate the operation of God’s gift of eternal life in a believer’s life once it begins. Our “sealing” at the instant we believe the Gospel is what protects the gift (God calls it His guarantee).
Paul makes the following statement concerning this truth:
"FOR GOD'S GIFTS AND HIS CALL ARE IRREVOCABLE. [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.]" (Romans 11:29 Amplified Bible)
One shocking (and negative) example of “eternal salvation” is found in Paul’s epistle to the Corinthian Church. A young man (a member of the congregation) was having sexual relations with his mother (his father’s wife). Such an act was unthinkable in that day. This story sheds some light on a serious problem. Today, various fundamentalist and reformed churches would claim that this young man is not saved (or does not possess eternal life) because he is committing such a horrible sin. Many would justify their claim by saying, “Grace doesn’t give us a license to sin”. On the surface this sounds good. Yet, many fail to consider the hidden message behind this seemingly reasonable objection. It is certainly true that God does not approve of anyone misusing His Grace to excuse a sinful lifestyle. Yet, this is the suggestion being offered by these preachers and their followers:
Salvation is not permanent and
God can revoke it when we
In other words, eternal life isn’t really eternal--and it isn’t “forever”. It doesn't seem to matter that God disagrees with their position (John 14:16-17, Hebrews 13:5-6 and Matthew 28:20). This is a common unbiblical belief that is found in many areas (but thankfully not all) of Christian fundamentalism, Reformed theology and especially the Catholic Church. Years ago as a young Christian, I was a member of such a fellowship and I’m familiar with this kind of thinking, which carries the illusion of being based on the teachings of the Bible. It was common to hear various church members insist that that nobody can do such a thing and still be saved. Some claimed that the individual might have been saved before the sin, but God removed or revoked his salvation when he started this kind of lifestyle and refused to repent. Paul was certainly upset and strongly condemned the sinful practice and the congregation's failure to deal with it. However, Paul also made an interesting statement concerning this young man’s salvation. We provide the entire account below in order to understand the context.
"It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, THAT THE SPIRIT MAY BE SAVED IN THE DAY OF THE LORD JESUS." (1 Corinthians 5:1-5 NKJV--Emphasis Added)
The apostle Paul was clearly not defending this person’s sinful acts. There was no indication that repentance had occurred and the sin had stopped (actually, the context suggests that the practice continued). Paul mentioned other disastrous consequences that this individual would suffer for his disobedience (things we won’t discuss here). However, concerning the man’s salvation (obviously he was a "saved" member of the congregation), Paul said that the spirit (or the spirit of the one who was sinning) would be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. This is an astounding revelation, which reveals two important things. First, it confirms where salvation (eternal life) resides, which is the human spirit. Second, it reinforces what Jesus said about salvation’s everlasting (or eternal) characteristics, which remain intact even in the presence of deliberate willful sin. It illustrates a New Covenant truth THAT CONTRADICTS a lot of popular traditional teaching in the church. GOD'S GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE IS IRREVOCABLE AFTER THE CROSS according to Romans 11:29. Why? Jesus Christ, as the Lamb of God, took all our sin (especially its power to revoke salvation) completely away. Jesus dealt with all human sin (Past, Present and Future). If sin still has the power to cancel salvation, then John 1:29 is a lie and Jesus didn’t really take sin away.
"The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29 NKJV)
Since John was correct in what he said about the Lord Jesus, the following Scriptures are also true;
"For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace." (Romans 6:14)
(Note: The grace that took away sin's dominion didn't start until after the cross.)
"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." (Romans 8:1-2)
(Note: The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus didn't start until after the cross.)
"Therefore, as through one man’s offense (Adam’s) judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s (Jesus Christ’s) righteous act THE FREE GIFT CAME TO ALL MEN, RESULTING IN JUSTIFICATION OF LIFE. For as by one man’s disobedience (Adam’s) many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience (Jesus Christ’s) MANY WILL BE MADE RIGHTEOUS. Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 5:18-21)
(Note: The free gift wasn't available until after the cross and Christ's righteous sacrificial act.)
"...BEING JUSTIFIED FREELY BY HIS GRACE THROUGH THE REDEMPTION THAT IS IN CHRIST JESUS, whom God set forth as a propitiation BY HIS BLOOD, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:24-26 -- Emphasis Added)
(Note: Our free justification based on Christ's blood wasn't available until after the cross.)
The comments in this study are not meant to give Christians “a license to sin” or to excuse sin. It’s about exposing a popular misconception (a common yet false salvation doctrine) concerning sin’s ability to cancel something that Jesus says is “eternal and forever”. Contrary to the passionate religious beliefs of some, after the cross it is not necessary to “send the offender to hell” in order to deal with sin. Yet, for many overly zealous religious people that isn’t good enough. Many in the fundamentalist and Reformed sector of the institutional church seek to punish sinful practices by “holding a person’s salvation hostage”, claiming that God cancels eternal life when we disobey or fail to repent for every sin we commit (a nearly impossible requirement to satisfy). Some Bible scholars correctly call this kind of teaching “fear manipulation”. It might be a common belief in the church, BUT, IT DOESN’T COME FROM GOD--AFTER THE CROSS. It is correct to say that God’s redemptive system worked this way under the previous Old Testament administration of the Law BEFORE THE CROSS--BUT, IT DIDN’T STAY THAT WAY.
AFTER THE CROSS AND THE SACRIFICE OF THE LAMB OF GOD, THE ENTIRE REDEMPTIVE SYSTEM CHANGED (Read: Matt. 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20, 1 Cor. 11:25, 2 Cor. 3:6, Heb. 7:11-22, Heb. 8:6-13, Heb. 9:15, Heb. 10:19-23, Heb. 12:24).
This is the problem: Many professing Christians are taught by their church to live for Christ according to the principles of the old redemptive Mosaic Law program (also known as “Judaism”). BUT, GOD WARNS THAT HE DOES NOT HONOR THIS KIND OF FAITH AFTER THE CRUCIFIXION OF HIS SON. SAINT PAUL COMMANDS BELIEVERS TO “RIGHTLY (OR CORRECTLY) DIVIDE THE WORD OF GOD (2 TIMOTHY 2:15) FOR THE FOLLOWING REASON: JUDAISM AND THE NEW AND LIVING WAY OF CHRIST THAT STARTED AFTER THE CROSS ARE NOT THE SAME. THEY ARE DIFFERENT BIBLICAL PROGRAMS. CHRIST’S SALVATION IS NOT AN EXTENTION OF THE OLD TESTAMENT RELIGIOUS PROGRAM OF JUDAISM. IT’S A NEW AND LIVING WAY. Yet, as a result of living according to a “Judaized gospel of Christ”, we hear many say;
“Well, I just won’t accept the fact that eternal life is eternal or forever (some like to call it OSAS or “once saved always saved”). I’ve always believed that Christian people can’t continue to sin and keep their salvation (or continue to call themselves a Christian)--and I’m going to believe it my way.”
As a response, we might say the following to those who hold this belief:
People are free to believe anything they want. It is certainly right to be upset about those who deliberately and willfully sin and use God’s Grace as an excuse. We share the same concern. However, if the comment quoted above reflects your position, then you believe something contrary to the salvation Jesus established at the cross. Your intentions are admirable. But, you’ve fallen into the common religious "holiness" trap of redefining (changing) the Gospel of Christ in an effort to stop people from sinning. It's an attempt to usurp authority that God reserves for Himself--and it carries serious consequences. According to your modified definition of the gospel, God invalidates the salvation of those who abuse His Grace or don’t properly repent and avoid all sin (or fail to achieve some unknowable and unspecified state of sinless living). Your teaching on salvation illegally follows the principles of the Old Testament Mosaic Law (also known as Judaism)--and not Christ's New Covenant that started after the cross. Unfortunately, the Bible warns that all Christian believers, in some measure, violate your strict and prohibitive requirements to obtain eternal life or Christ’s salvation (which also includes you). On the surface, it sounds good and Biblical. But, according to your redefined gospel few, if any, can be saved (once again, that also includes you). Your passionate belief is closely related to the one that nearly destroyed the Galatian Church. It is not new. Some Bible Scholars refer to it as the Galatian error, Christian religion and Legalism. Saint Paul called it “a different gospel and another Jesus” and said that it carries a curse (Galatians 1:6-8 and 2 Corinthians 11:3-4).
The Bible warns that such teaching (regardless of how popular) leads us dangerously astray in our faith, while tricking us into thinking that we’re an obedient Bible-believer. Many professing Christians and their leaders routinely “believe and teach the Bible wrong”. The error occurs by ignoring the Bible’s context and merging (or mixing together) Judaism and Christ’s redemptive program, which are both recorded in Scripture. Unfortunately, counterfeit faith in Christ, which results from this “mixing”, is common throughout the institutional church. It is dominant in various expressions of Christian fundamentalism, Calvinism and both Holiness and Reformed theology. Under countless different names and labels, this influence crosses all denominational barriers, including the Catholic Church, where it started to gain popularity around the 3rd century. John Calvin and John Knox, two prominent leaders in the Protestant Reformation, were strongly influenced by the doctrine of the Catholic theologian Augustine. Their teachings contain this error (which originally came from Augustine's theology) of mixing Old Testament Judaism and Christ's salvation together. This is why we see it embedded in the doctrine found in many sectors of modern-day Protestantism.
The apostle Paul offered this warning concerning those who are part of this group.
"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark (or take note of) them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; AND AVOID THEM. FOR THEY THAT ARE SUCH SERVE NOT OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, but their own belly; AND BY GOOD WORDS AND FAIR SPEECHES DECEIVE THE HEARTS OF THE SIMPLE (OR SPIRITUALLY INEXPERIENCED)." (Romans 16:18 – Emphasis Added)
We don’t like to end this section on a negative note. Yet, sometimes the good news of the Gospel of Christ is best understood by first learning “what it isn’t”.
Additional information is available
at the following link:
Recognizing Religious Deception:
The Shocking Decision of the
Acts Chapter 15 Apostolic Council
Conclusion: Our Redemption
Jesus said that the current age was about to end AND OUR REDEMPTION WAS FAST APPROACHING WHEN WE SEE CERTAIN SIGNS BEGIN TO OCCUR. The first major sign was Israel coming back into their land in 1948 and the recapturing of Jerusalem in 1967. This was a fulfillment of Bible prophecy that God said would occur shortly before the return of Christ. Jesus said that these signs (such as earthquakes, wars, people and governments in distress, and certain cataclysmic geological and cosmic events) would increase like labor pains upon a pregnant woman. These things are happening (and escalating) right now. If they continue to increase at this rate many will die. It all seemed to start in December of 2004 when the earthquake and tsunami hit Indonesia killing an estimated 250,000 people. Some authorities claimed that it was the worst loss of life since Noah’s flood.
As of this writing (2014), the earth is experiencing mega-earthquakes (6.0 and above) almost every other day on average. These events used to be rare. Massive unexplained animal and fish die-offs are occurring all over the planet. The weather has gone wild. Unusual major storms, hurricanes, tornados and floods are making many families homeless. Large numbers of volcanoes are erupting globally AT THE SAME TIME. Crops are being destroyed. All of this is affecting the world’s food supply. It is estimated that over half of the 7 billion people on earth are malnourished or starving. Food prices are beginning to skyrocket and global famines are now underway. Incurable plagues and diseases are starting to spread. Nearly every major nation of earth, including the United States, is officially bankrupt. The massive and tragic nuclear disaster in Japan (Fukushima) and the new one in New Mexico (USA) are threatening all life on earth with radiation poisoning, which is currently killing marine life in the Pacific Ocean and on the West Coast of North America. Observers are saying that the Pacific is rapidly turning into a dead zone. Some authorities warn that the northern hemisphere will be contaminated and uninhabitable within the next 10 years if something isn't done soon. Scientists are starting to admit that the massive meltdown problem at Fukushima has no immediate remedy. People in Japan (especially the children) are slowly dying of radiation exposure and governments are hiding the danger through information blackouts. Japan is now essentially a dead nation. Everywhere you turn officials are warning that WW3 is about to start as a result of the new hostile actions taken by Russia (which was predicted by Bible prophecy). These occurrences are unprecedented.
Jesus made the following statement about these things:
"And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; FOR YOUR REDEMPTION DRAWETH NIGH." (Luke 21:28 KJV)
The Church Age (or the Age of Grace) is about to end as the Bible foretold. The completion and fulfillment of the salvation purchased for us on the cross will soon take place in the “twinkling of an eye”. Jesus called it “our redemption” and Saint Paul called it the “catching away”, which the Bible describes as “an escape for the righteous (or worthy) from the coming global tribulation” (Mark 13:19, Luke 21:25-36). The “escape” (the word Jesus used to describe our rescue) OCCURS BEFORE these cataclysmic events begin, which Scripture refers to as “Jacobs Trouble” (also commonly called the Tribulation Period). According to the Bible, it lasts 7 years, with the last three and a half years being the most intense. The destruction is brought to an end by the physical Second Coming of Jesus Christ to the earth. Everyone who hears this message needs to come to saving knowledge of Jesus Christ without delay. Our webvsite provides everything you need to know. The door is about to close. It’s now time to start “looking up”.
JESUS CHRIST IS COMING BACK AS
HE PROMISED AND BRINGING
OUR SALVATON WITH HIM.
"So Christ was once offered to bear the sins
of many; AND UNTO THEM THAT LOOK FOR HIM SHALL
HE APPEAR THE SECOND TIME WITHOUT SIN
UNTO SALVATION." (Hebrews 9:28 KJV)
We hope this Bible Study is helpful in your
relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.
This is part 2 of a two-part Bible study.
In certain situations, this study may be
used as a "stand alone" commentary in order
to address specific questions about the
nature of Christ's salvation. To access
part 1 of this study, click on the
About "Saving Faith"
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