Salvation is the first step in God’s redemptive plan to restore His creation to what it was in the beginning. We know that all men and women, after the transgression in the garden, were born natural beings. That is to say that their spirits, for all intents and purposes, were dead.
(Gen 2:16) And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
(Gen 2:17) But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
We know that Adam and Eve did indeed eat of the fruit of that tree, yet, “in the day”, that they ate the fruit, they did not die. Not in the natural realm anyway. They did however die spiritually. Their relationship with the Father had changed forever. They were cut off from Him insomuch as their relationship with Him had forever changed.
Mankind was created in the image and likeness of God (Gen 1:26). We were made tripartite beings just as God is:
(1Jn 5:7) For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
(1Th 5:23) And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
There are three persons (or parts) in the Godhead and there are three parts of man/woman. 1 John states that “these three are one” and 1 Thessalonians states that the spirit, soul and body are to be sanctified “wholly” and that they are a part of the “whole” being.
Now when Adam and Eve transgressed and their spirits died, their souls and bodies remained alive. This was the condition of every human being born after them. Subsequently mankind was no longer whole in terms of the original creation. This is why it is written in scripture:
(1Pe 2:24) Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
The phrase “ye were healed” is literally translated (healed – iaomai – made whole) ye were made whole. That is to say that we were freed from errors and sins (Thayer).
When we accept Christ as Lord and Savior we are born again. We are recreated as new beings of which Jesus was the first.
(Col 1:18) And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
We have been made whole again through our being born again in spirit. We are no longer just soul and body. We are now spirit, soul and body as it was in the beginning. The work of Christ on the cross was spiritual. It opened the door for spiritual rebirth and had nothing to do with the flesh or soul.
(Joh 6:63) It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
This spiritual rebirth is what gives us access to the Father. It gives us access to the kingdom of God. It gives us access to the spiritual realm and the power within it. Subsequently it gives us the position of being sons and daughters of Almighty God, brothers and sisters of our Lord Jesus the Christ and hairs to the blessings and promises of our Father. This is our salvation.
It is not however our transformation!
Our salvation, upon accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, is immediate and complete. When we receive Jesus as Lord our spirits are immediately reborn and we are made whole. That is to say that all of the elements of our becoming new creations are in place. This transformation is a process. It is not immediate and it does not happen over night.
(Joh 1:12) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
(Joh 1:13) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Notice what John is saying here. Those who “received” Christ were given the “power” (exousia – the ability) “to become the sons of God”. He does not say that they “became” the sons of God rather that they were given the ability to do so. This ability comes from our spiritual rebirth and the indwelling Holy Spirit changing our hearts and minds. This is a process which the scriptures call being transformed.
(Rom 12:2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
(2Co 3:18) But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
(1Jn 3:2) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
You see brothers and sisters being saved is only the first step in our spiritual walk. It is not the end all at all. If fact it is just the beginning of our transformation into the image of Christ. It is the first baby step in our walk to becoming mature Christian believers.
The problem is that so many believers don’t understand the process. They believe that after they are saved that they must work at being transformed. This is not the biblical truth. It is also nothing new.
(Gal 3:1) O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
(Gal 3:2) This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
(Gal 3:3) Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
You see there is nothing that we, or any men or women before us, could do to gain salvation. Obeying the law could not and did not do it. Animal sacrifices didn’t do it. Knowing the scriptures inside out and upside down, word for word, verbatim didn’t do it. There is no work that can do it!
Salvation was a gift given to us by our Father through the life, death and resurrection of His only Son who “gave” His life so that we might live.
(1Jn 4:9) In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
We didn’t do it, we didn’t deserve it, we didn’t earn it and we had better learn it! Our salvation and our eternal lives were gifts offered to the world. All we did, as Christians, was accept what was freely given.
The only “work” if you will, that we must do is, to coin a phrase, let go and let God! We must submit to the hands of the potter. We must allow Him to renew our hearts and minds. We must follow His leading in all that we do.
Only then can the transformation begin to take place.
We must get our heads out of the way. We must trust in the Word of God and not on our natural thoughts and understanding.
We must learn to operate within the kingdom of God here on earth. This is what our transformation is all about.
(Joh 18:36) Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
This does not mean that the kingdom is not in operation in our lives while we are on the Earth.
(Joh 16:33) These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Jesus overcame the world and through Him we overcome the world. We overcome the confines of the natural world by allowing God to kill off our earthly desires and our submission to the leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
How do we know that these things are being accomplished in our lives? How do we know that we are being transformed into the image of Christ?
We have the Peace of Christ within us!
(Joh 14:26) But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
(Joh 14:27) Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
No matter what our senses tell us we have peace. No matter what our natural minds and understanding tell us we have peace. We have this peace because we have not conformed to the world (the natural) but are being transformed in and through our spiritual man by the indwelling Holy Spirit. We begin to stand solely on the word of God be it the written word or something received by us through divine revelation. We begin to rebuke what our natural senses and understanding tell us more and more each day. We begin to stand on “the rock” (Matthew 16:17-18) and not on the sands of our natural understanding. Subsequently we receive more and more of Christ’s peace day by day.
In closing and summation;
We see in scripture that salvation and transformation are two distinct works. We see that salvation, which comes from our receiving Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior is both immediate and complete.
Conversely we also see that our transformation into the image of Christ is a process which is totally dependent on our submission to the Word of God and the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Lastly we see that the evidence of this transformation is manifested within us by the inner peace, given to us by Jesus, that we have in all situations despite what our natural man tells us.
God Bless You All!
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