Posts Tagged ‘glorification’

God Is Working! Are You Becoming?

“God’s will has far more to do with who you are becoming than it has to do with what you do for God.” –Afshin Ziafat

At my church this weekend, we continued our study of the Crimson Thread through the Old Testament by discussing the Passover story in Exodus 12. While there are many clear parallels between what happened at Passover, the Passover seder held by practicing Jews, and the death of Jesus Christ, one thing stuck out to me as I was reading, and the original language of the text bore an awesome discovery.

Exodus 12:5 (NASB) says thus: “Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats.” Now the easy way to read this is to point to the “unblemished male” and parallel it to Christ that way, because Christ is “the Lamb, unblemished and spotless.” (1 Peter 1:19) Only a man without any blemishes (i.e. sin) could be the sacrifice needed to bear the sins of man. This makes perfect sense.

However, what I found goes a step further, and I hope it makes sense to you, the reader, as well. The Hebrew word for “unblemished” is tamiym, which means “complete, whole, entire, sound.” This hit me as rather striking, given Christ’s final words on the cross, “It is finished.” (emphasis mine) Christ had made His purpose and sacrifice complete, the same way the Passover sacrifice was to be complete.

I pointed this out to WIFE, and she took it one step further by pointing out Philippians 1:6 — “…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (emphasis mine) This same completion, this unblemishing that was true of both the Passover lamb in Exodus and of Jesus Christ as He became the sacrifice for all mankind, is being worked out in us! What an awesome picture of both the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit and the ultimate glorification we will see upon passing from this life into eternity. We are being made “unblemished” and “complete.” How can you say anything but “Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!” to that kind of awesome promise?

So when we are seeking out God’s will for our lives, let’s take to heart both the quote above and the promise that follows. We should make it our aim to focus less on doing and more on becoming, so that God’s sanctifying work is evident in us.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” — Ephesians 3:20-21

The Concept of Salvation

So I finally read the book “Easy Chairs, Hard Words” and have to say it was definitely an interesting read. Lots of real-world examples that make very compelling arguments. At the end of it, I had to sit back and think about whether or not my theological perspective had changed. I came to the conclusion that mostly it had not. However, as I started thinking about one particular position, it led me to an interesting idea, and one that I’ve tried to defend: that salvation only affects us as we cross from this life into eternity.

Here’s my thinking. If salvation is a gift from God (as is explained in Ephesians 2:8), then it seems like if we have free will we have the choice to open the gift or not. However, God has predestined some to open that gift, and others not to. This allows for the idea of unconditional election while still giving credence to unlimited atonement. I’ve been thinking that if salvation is really being “saved from our sins,” it doesn’t really take affect while we’re still on the earth, because it doesn’t really stop us from sinning. In that sense, salvation is the removal of our sins from us when we die, so we can be made perfect (the concept of glorification) and fit for heaven.

However, WIFE brought up a good point earlier this week. She said that salvation isn’t necessarily just from our sins, but from being enslaved to past sins and tied down to them. Another friend, who we’ll just call Theology Man, said something similar in a brief text discussion. I tend to think this is more in line with the concept of regeneration by the Holy Spirit, the point at which we accept Jesus as Lord in our lives and the Holy Spirit begins to work in our lives (sanctification). This is how 2 Corinthians 5:17 becomes a part of our lives, as the old is gone and the new has come.

Interestingly, I was surprised that Paul addressed this very issue of salvation vs. sanctification in 2 Thessalonians 2:13, which says, “But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren, beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.” It seems evident from this verse that salvation and sanctification are tied together with faith. So what is the relationship between salvation and sanctification? The relationship between salvation and glorification?

In short, my theological perspective has changed slightly. I now believe (which I assume is not an uncommon position) that the 3 big Bible words (sanctification, justification, glorification) are encompassed by the overarching concept of salvation. Salvation includes these three things, which is why God is able to use the past, present and future tenses in the Bible when discussing the salvation He has given us. I still believe that salvation is an eternal decision that is extended to all men, but I think at least now I better understand why.

Is WIFE correct? Yep. Is Theology Man correct? Most definitely. Am I correct? I think so now. What once was a belief that salvation is tied to glorification has now turned into glorification as the final step to salvation. Thank you Lord, for providing a Word that gives us a glimpse into Your awesome ability to do such works in us, and what exactly that means in the course of eternity!

A Simplified Explanation of 3 Big Bible Words

Are you one of those people that likes to throw out big words to make yourself seem smarter? I definitely am, but I still get frustrated if someone throws one out that I don’t completely understand. Sometimes this happens to pastors, too. Often there are views on doctrine that require certain belief systems, and often those systems get big words. So here I’m going to attempt to give a simple explanation of three key Bible buzzwords.

1) Sanctification – There are many different ways to describe this, but the simplest way I can think to describe it is the process of being set apart by God through His grace. It is the way by which God has cleansed us of sin, so that we are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). It seems evident that among Evangelical Christians that there is nothing we can do (i.e. works) that can make us sanctified. That power resides with God alone. However, among many people this is deemed as a process, as sanctification is seen as making us more and more holy over time.

2) Justification – According to Wikipedia, justification is God’s act of declaring or making a sinner righteous before God. I heard a John Piper sermon on this topic, and at a root level it made sense to me. When Adam sinned (remember from my earlier post that sin was the fault of the man, not the woman), the only way we could be made righteous and worthy of heaven was to have someone pay the price for that sin we are born with. So Jesus’ death and resurrection justified us in the eyes of God, so when we have faith (Ephesians 2:8) and believe in Jesus as God, we are justified. This is different from sanctification in that we have to act on faith (or more commonly, give your heart to Christ) in order to receive justification.

3) Glorification – Again referencing Wikipedia, glorification is the completion, consummation, perfection, the full realization of salvation. This one seems to me to mean that before we actually enter heaven, God makes us perfect, for only can a perfect being be fit for heaven. It does seem that Romans 8:30 allows for glorification to be placed on us while we are still here on the earth, so there is probably some kind of a placement of His glory on us, so as we go about our lives others can see His glory as part of that. (Interesting aside: maybe this is why even if some Christians aren’t living an “on-fire” life for God, they can still cause non-believers to seek God – that’s my own personal thought and there is no factual basis for it).

I hope these explanations helped to make sense of these big words. I hope one day to lay out the arguments for Calvinism and Arminianism here, simply because I don’t know what they are. I was told once that I’m a 4-point Calvinist, so I’m curious to see where I fall in that sliding scale.

Anyway, have a blessed day everyone, and may God either justify you through new faith or sanctify you by the grace you have already received!