A Scriptural Study Newsletter edited by Elder Vernon Johnson

How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

 

 

 

Glorified

"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."

In previous essays we have considered God's action of foreknowing a people, predestinating those he foreknew, calling those he foreknew and predestinated, and justifying those he foreknew, predestinated, and called. In this essay we will consider God's glorifying those that he foreknew, predestinated, called and justified.

In Rom. 4:17 we read where God "called those things which be not as though they were." God can do this because he is God and because his promises will come to pass just as He promised. Throughout the description of the covenant God has used the past tense to describe his actions. While we are not yet fully glorified in the way we will be glorified, yet in the mind and purpose of God it is as though it were already done.

When we were born of the Spirit we were given a perfect, glorified spiritual nature as we read in the following verses:

a. 1 Pet. 1:23 "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God that liveth and abideth forever."
b. 1 John 3:9 "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God."

Though we are glorified in spirit having the incorruptible seed within us, yet in body we are not yet glorified to the extent that we will be in the resurrection of our bodies.

A comparison is made in 1 Cor. 15 between our unchanged earthly body and what it will be like after the resurrection when our change comes.  First (v.42) it is sown in corruption and raised in incorruption. That which is corrupted is brought into a worse condition. When sin entered into the world, man was brought into a worse (fallen) condition. In the resurrection we will be raised incorruptible. Our state or condition will be perfect and it cannot be corrupted. Thus we will be in a perpetual perfect condition.

Second (v.43) we are sown in dishonor and raised in glory. Sin brought only dishonor or disgrace to ourselves. It rendered us unfit for God's glory world, yet by the grace of God we shall be raised into a state of being without sin and without capability of sinning.

Third (v.43) "it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power." Sin has rendered us so weak that we cannot keep ourselves from dying though we try ever so hard. Furthermore once we die, we don't even have the power to bury ourselves as someone else must do that for us. Yet in the resurrection we will be raised up to die no more. Just how much power we will have, I know not, but it will be sufficient for our every need.

Fourth (v.44) "it is sown a natural body and it is raised a spiritual body." According to v.49 "as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." As we live in this life we bear Adam's fallen image. When we are raised in the resurrection we will bear the image of Jesus Christ. As Jesus was/is holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners, so shall we be holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. As Jesus is in his essential nature, so shall we be in our nature in the resurrection.

Fifth (v.54) mortality shall put on immortality. We currently live in timely bodies with every event marked by the passage of time. We are mortal having a beginning and an end. Yet in the resurrection these mortal bodies shall be changed into immortal bodies having no end.  Because of the actions of God and his promise of glorification, we can say as Paul stated: "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

How we should praise God for his covenant of redemption in which he chose us before the world began to be his and then by the terms of that covenant predestinated our final glorious outcome, calling us into spiritual life and justifying us from our sins that in the morning of the resurrection we might stand before him glorified and become possessors of that glorious inheritance that awaits us! May God add to your understanding of this wonderful covenant he made with himself before the world began.


Salvation

This is the first in a series of essays on the subject of salvation.  The word, save, means "to deliver, to make or keep safe, to preserve."  In all but a couple of times in the new testament the word is used as a verb or a preposition.

To understand the subject of salvation there are a few rules we must follow:

1. First, we must know what we are being delivered from or what we are being delivered to. For instance, if I say, "I am saved." That statement begs the question, "What am I saved from?" or "What am I saved to?" Without knowing the "from" or "to" the statement loses meaning.

2. Second, we must know the context in which it is used. Most often the context defines the meaning and application of words.

3. Third, we need to know what brings about the salvation. For instance is the salvation brought about by my actions or works, or is the salvation brought about solely by the actions or works of God and we are the recipients of that salvation by the grace of God? To illustrate the above, someone cried out "Lord, save me." Without any more information we don't know if the person was concerned with the condition of his soul or if he was concerned with the immediate surrounding conditions. As it turns out, Peter was walking on water to go to Jesus. When he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. Peter was concerned with the immediate surrounding conditions and was crying out for the Lord to save him from drowning. He was not at that time occupied with thoughts of where he would spend eternity.

There are two categories of salvation taught in the scriptures. There is the category that deals with our eternal salvation, i.e., our salvation from the condemning effects of sin, our salvation from being dead in trespasses and sins, and our salvation into heaven's glory world. All aspects of our eternal salvation we find is brought about by God's grace and is not by the works or actions of man.

The second category deals with the many timely deliverances God's people can and do experience in our timely stay upon earth. Included in this category are deliverances from ignorance, from vain worship, from the pitfalls of life, from going about to establish our own righteousness, from this untoward generation, etc. In this category certain works or actions are generally required by the child of God to bring about the deliverance.

2 Tim. 2:10 illustrates these two categories of salvation: "Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory." The verse indicates with the words, "also" and "with," that these are two categories of salvation taught in the scripture.

One category as we have discussed pertains to eternal glory. The elect in this verse already have eternal glory due to the work and actions of God and by his grace. The second category of salvation is conditioned on the elect performing some work or action in order to obtain the timely salvation. This is a conditional salvation. The elect may or may not obtain this salvation based on whether or not they fulfill the conditions prescribed. The eternal glory is an unconditional salvation. God has and will perform every thing necessary for the elect to obtain eternal glory.

Next one must already have been saved from the condemnation of sin and from being dead in trespasses and sins before he can experience the timely category of salvation. Phil. 2:12, 13 illustrates this principle: "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of his own good pleasure." Thus we see that before we can work out our timely salvation God must first have performed a work in us that gives us both a desire (to will) toward God and his service and an ability (to do) to perform the service of God."   Therefore, we have to be saved eternally in order that we might experience timely salvation.


Forgiveness of Sins

Eph. 1:7, "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace." Col. 1:14, "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins."

The Greek word for redeem is "lutroo" meaning to release on receipt of ransom (akin to lutron, a ransom) and is used in the Middle Voice, signifying to release by paying a ransom price (Vines).

The Greek word for forgiveness is "aphesis" and denotes a dismissal, release; it is used of the remission of sins (Vines).

According to Rom. 6:23 "the wages of sin is death." That which we earn (wages) from sin is really a debt that we owe to God. The debt is death (not dying). This death is the wrathful judgment of God poured out as retribution for every sin that is ever committed. Every transgression and disobedience receives a just recompense of reward (Heb. 2:2).

Since God gave the law and God set the penalty for transgression of the law and sin God is Just then every sin must be justly judged and the execution of that judgment carried out. Thus as a result of our sins we were all carrying a huge sin debt (the wrathful judgment of God awaiting to be poured out on the transgressors).

God could not just release us from our sins debt without the payment of that debt. To do so would render God unjust. Since God is Just the debt has to be paid. Thus God cannot just forget about sin and the judgment of sin. Remember all sins must be judged and the wrathful judgment of those sins executed.

Can the sinner pay the sin debt? Of course and he will except someone else pay it. Payment of the sin debt requires an eternal separation from God and the glory of his power and to be cast into the lake of fire of God's vengeance and into the mist of darkness forever. That is not the kind of debt I would care to pay.

Can someone else pay my debt for me? Yes, but he must be without sin and must have been approved of God beforehand to pay the debt. Anyone with their own sin debt cannot pay someone else's sin debt for they have their own debt to settle. Jesus was approved of God, before the world began, in the covenant of redemption to pay the debt of those that God foreknew (Rom. 8:29...30 "for whom he did foreknow...them he also justified). It was said of Jesus by the angel to Joseph that "he shall save his people from their sins." When Jesus went to the cross to pay the ransom price according to II Cor.5:21, "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." Thus Jesus at the cross not only took our sins upon himself, but actually became sin for us. During the three hours of darkness Jesus suffered the wrathful judgment of God poured out in execution of our sin debt. The scene was so awful that God turned out the lights (there was darkness over all the earth for three hours). The ransom having been paid Jesus said "It is finished," and bowed the head and gave up the ghost. Thus Jesus through his blood offered himself through the eternal Spirit without spot to God (Heb. 9:14). According to Heb. 10:14 this offering was accepted of God, "For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." According to Eph. 1:7 this work of redemption and consequent forgiveness of sins was a covenant work for it says that "in whom" (i.e., in Christ) we have redemption..."

In Eph. 1:4 we read, "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love."  Thus God chose us that he might redeem us and make us holy and without blame before him in love.

Also in Eph. 1:7 we are told that this was done "according to the riches of his grace." Grace is defined as unmerited favor. We didn't do anything to earn or warrant or obtain the redemption or forgiveness of sins. We were redeemed and forgiven by the grace of God through the blood redemption of Jesus Christ. This was a complete redemption. In Rom. 8:33, 34 the question is asked and answered, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us."

Because Christ paid the complete price, no charge can successfully be brought against God's elect. God has justified us, therefore we stand before God in judgment, justified. Praise be to our magnificent and wonderful and gracious God who has loved us even when we were ungodly sinners and has redeemed us by his blood thus forgiving us of our sins.

Primitive Baptist