This saying is one of my favorites:
The Holy Spirit brings us along at God’s speed. Sometimes that’s the speed of lighting and other time, that of molasses.
Sometimes we can facilitate, other times facultate, but we should always emulate.
We aren’t saved by works. The Word tells us that so we can not boast. We had nothing to do with our sin state. We were just born into it. That is the same a being re-born. Salvation is by faith, we must simply receive it.
By studying Scripture, we find salvation happens in three distinct stages. Maybe that’s why so many preachers often have three points. We also see trinitarian actions and elements elsewhere. Chief is that of the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, Spirit).
Dr Jeremiah shares an analogy of salvation as like a river. In the Old Testament, the river Jordan is often used as a metaphor for salvation.
3 Phases of Salvation
1. RESTORATION – this is the catalyst by faith; being born-again! Our relationship with our Creator is restored, made as new. Made as our sin had never happened. Our relation is restored by receiving Christ’s redemptive work He did on the Cross. This is believing and acceptance of the Gospel. Once saved, this is our positional righteousness; our dear Saviors’ imputation upon us. Once saved, this is our past tense of salvation and leads us into the next phase; santification.
2. SANCTIFICATION– is a Christian’s current state. This is the primary point of this devotional. If you are a true believer, then this is your current status as reading this now. This is my status as I write this.
Our works had no bearing in our salvation but they sure do in our sanctification. We see that in the very next verse:
10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.Ephesians 2:10 ESV
We called for good works, for we are His work. God took action by creation and redemption, by sending His Son. The sanctification, by dwelling us with His spirit. We are to work accordingly. As we read, to walk (move) in them. We are co-create, to co-work, as we are made in His image. We are to exercise our dominion over the earth, under the sun as humble and diligent servants in response our gifts with an attitude of gratitude.
As we read here:
12Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.Ephesians 2:12-13
As Dr. David Jeremiah teaches from the Bible: We are to work OUT what God works IN. If you didn’t catch that in the previous verse, please take a 2nd deeper look for the words OUT and IN.
When Craig Barnes was asked out long it takes to be a Christian, he said “It takes a moment and a lifetime.” In a twinkling of God’s eye, we are saved. Over a lifetime, we work it out. We mine the precious minerals God has placed within.
That is the point of the parable of the Talents Jesus taught; to grow and increase God’s investment in each of us. Not to hide them. This ship of sanctification should not thought of relaxing Cruise ship where we are always being served but that of a Battleship or Hospital ship.
We see this call from Paul to his protege Timothy:
11But you, O man of God, flee from these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.
12Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession before many witnesses.1 Timothy 6:11-12
We take hold of our new life by partnering with Creator as a dutiful sailor in war time. We fight the good fight with our full armor (See vs11 above and Ephesians 6 for more protection)
Yes, yes, we are called to
3. REGENERATION – when we see Jesus face to face when the dross of sin has been refined from our souls, we will be like Him. We will have supernatural bodies. Free at last! Regeneration is our third, final, and forever phase. The one which lasts longest, as in forever. Our souls and our flesh are regenerated like the caterpillar who has been converted to a beautiful butterfly.
We are encouraged to work hard and smart now. Jesus promised us these endeavors will yield us rewards into eternity. Those rewards are to motivate us to action. We are most effective as we walk, work and abide by His leading and with His principles of nature. After all, it is His universe. Our will needs to be conformed to His will for maximum effectiveness and purpose. Our mission, our will, our work should be ‘for His good pleasure’ as stated above in Ephesians 2:13.
On the left bank, we find Regeneration; the process of ‘getting saved’. In crossing the river’s waters, we are in the mode of Sanctification. When we reach the other side, you know – the promised land we will be made wholly new, actually holy new.
Praise the LORD!