MBS103 THE TEN FACETS OF OUR SALVATION
By Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum
But God commends his own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.Romans 5:8
There are a number of terms and descriptions that teach truths concerning salvation. Some of these terms are biblical and some are theological, but they describe the various facets of salvation. These facets are good to know in order to get a better appreciation for the Word of God, to grow in grace, and to better understand the things that God has done when He provided salvation for us.
The first facet of our salvation is regeneration. This facet will be discussed in six parts: the meaning of the word, the usage of the word, the other terms used, the means of regeneration, and the nature of regeneration, and the results of regeneration.
A. The Meaning of the Word
A somewhat theological but simple definition of the word “regeneration” is as follows:
Regeneration is the act of God by which the principle of the new life is implanted in a man and the governing disposition of the soul is made holy.
This definition of regeneration can be broken down into three parts. First, regeneration means “the act of God that imparts eternal life.” Secondly, regeneration means “to be born from above.” And thirdly, regeneration means “to be born again.”
B. The Usage of the Word
The second part of the facet of regeneration concerns the usage of the word “regeneration” as it is found in Scripture. The word “regeneration” is found only twice in the entire Scriptures, and both times are in the New Testament.
The first time it is used is not in relationship to salvation, but it has an eschatological or prophetic meaning in Matthew 19:28: And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye who have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
This verse speaks of the regeneration of the heavens and the earth in the sense of making the earth and the heavens anew in preparation for the Messianic Kingdom. The regeneration of Matthew 19:28 is the same one spoken of in Isaiah 65:17, where Isaiah prophesied: For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth. In the context of this passage (vv. 17–25), Isaiah was not speaking of the eternal new heavens and earth, but of the millennial new heavens and new earth, and that is the same as the regeneration of Matthew 19:28. The Matthew and Isaiah passages, then, do not deal with this facet of our salvation.
The second place that the word “regeneration” is found in Titus 3:5b: according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.
In this passage, Paul is speaking of this facet of our salvation, where regeneration means that the believer has been implanted with new life, resulting in salvation. This is the one verse in the entire Bible that actually uses the term “regeneration” in its soteriological meaning and connects it with the Holy Spirit.
C. The Other Terms Used
The third part of the facet of regeneration concerns the concept of regeneration as found in other terms. While the term “regeneration” itself is found only twice in the New Testament, and only one of them is in reference to human salvation, the concept of regeneration is included in six other terms found in Scripture.
The first term is the expression to be born anew or “born again.” This is a more common term than “regeneration,” yet being born again means the same as being regenerated (Jn. 3:3, 7; 1 Pet. 1:3, 23).
A second term that expresses regeneration in Scripture is the expression “to be begotten of God.” Because the believer has been begotten of God, he has been implanted with new life, eternal life. Having been begotten of God means that the believer has been regenerated. This is a common expression of the Apostle John (Jn. 1:13; 1 Jn. 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1, 4, 18).
A third term that expresses the same concept of regeneration is “children of God,” because believers become the children of God by virtue of regeneration (1 Jn. 3:1–2).
A fourth term is the expression “a new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17). Because he has been regenerated, the believer is considered a new creature.
A fifth term is translated in two ways: first, “to be quickened” and secondly, “to be made alive.” The believer is quickened or made alive by virtue of regeneration (Jn. 6:63; Rom. 8:1–10; Eph. 2:1, 5).
The sixth term is “begotten,” which also expresses the concept of regeneration (Jas. 1:18).
D. The Means of Regeneration
The fourth part of the facet of regeneration concerns the means of regeneration. All four means of regeneration work together hand in hand, and all four take place at the same time. It is not that some people are regenerated one way and others are regenerated another way.
Basically, there are four means of regeneration: the will of God, the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, and faith. At this point, it should be noted that there is one thing that is never given as a means of regeneration, and that is baptism. There is a doctrine known as “baptismal regeneration,” which teaches that until one is baptized he is not regenerated; that baptism is therefore necessary for salvation. There is no biblical basis for baptismal regeneration. Rather, baptism is something that takes place only after one has received the Lord and has already been saved.
1. The Will of God
The first means of regeneration is the will of God, which is the source of regeneration; the believer is regenerated by the will of God (Jn. 1:13; 5:21; 2 Cor. 5:17–18; Jas. 1:18).
2. The Holy Spirit
The second means of regeneration is the Holy Spirit. He is the true means; He is the actual means in that the Holy Spirit is the One who actually does the work of regeneration. While God the Father wills it, the Holy Spirit actually does the work of regeneration (Jn. 3:5–6; Titus 3:5).
3. The Word of God
The third means of regeneration is the Word of God because it provides the content of faith. Before the believer can be regenerated, he must believe. The Word of God tells him what he must believe in order to be regenerated, in order to become a child of God, in order to be born again (Titus 3:5; Rom. 10:17; Jas. 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:23).
And the fourth means of regeneration is faith in the sense that faith is the human requirement that enables the Holy Spirit to bring about the new birth. The new birth or regeneration will not take place apart from faith. This truth is taught by two Scriptures. The first passage is John 1:12a: But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God.
The second Scripture teaching this truth is found in Galatians 3:26: For ye are all sons of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus.
E. The Nature of Regeneration
The fifth part of the facet of regeneration has to do with the nature of regeneration. The nature of regeneration concerns eleven key elements.
The first element is that regeneration is a necessity because a spiritually dead person cannot respond. Every man is born spiritually dead; therefore, he needs to be regenerated, to be made alive (Jn. 6:44, 65; Rom. 8:8).
The second element of the nature of regeneration is the concept of birth in that the believer is “born of God” (Jn. 1:13). The active agent of this new birth is the Holy Spirit (Jn. 3:5–6).
The third element of the nature of regeneration is that the basis of regeneration is the blood of the Messiah. A person is regenerated when he exercises faith, but the basis of it, the reason that God even chooses to regenerate a person when he believes, is because of the blood of the Messiah (1 Pet. 1:17–19).
The fourth element of the nature of regeneration is that it is a manifestation of the power of God. No one can regenerate except God. No one can impart eternal life except God. This conclusion can be reached by comparing two passages: 1 Peter 1:3 with Romans 1:4.
The fifth element of the nature of regeneration is that it is a fundamental change: the implantation of the principle of eternal spiritual life. There is a fundamental change within the character of the person, so that there is suddenly a wide chasm between those who are in an unbelieving, unsaved state as over against those who are in a believing, saved state.
The sixth element of the nature of regeneration is that it is also an instantaneous change, not a gradual work that leads to conversion. It is not a process that leads to sanctification. Rather, man is passive in this experience; it is an instantaneous change brought about by the power of God by means of the Holy Spirit on the basis of a person’s exercise of faith.
The seventh element of the nature of regeneration is that it is irresistible (Jn. 3:8). The point is that, once a person has believed, he cannot say, “Don’t regenerate me.” The moment a person believes, regeneration takes place automatically; it is irresistible, unstoppable.
The eighth element of the nature of regeneration is that it is also mysterious (Jn. 3:8). There is no way of explaining how a person who was heading for Hell, for eternity in the Lake of Fire, suddenly undergoes an instantaneous, fundamental change that puts him in a state of eternal life. Suddenly, that person’s whole eternal destiny changes; that is mysterious. This is simply a truth that is taught by the Word of God.
The ninth element of the nature of regeneration is that it is to be distinguished from conversion. Conversion is the human side of regeneration. Conversion will be discussed later, for it is another facet of our salvation. People sometimes confuse conversion with regeneration, but it is not the same thing. The nature of regeneration as an act of God is to be distinguished from conversion, which is the human correspondence to regeneration.
The tenth element of the nature of regeneration is that faith and regeneration occur simultaneously. Although faith is the requirement for regeneration to take place, a person does not exercise faith at one point and is regenerated some time later. Nor is the believer first regenerated, and only then does he exercise faith. Rather, faith and regeneration should be viewed as occurring simultaneously. The very instant that a person believes, at that very point of time, regeneration occurs.
And the eleventh element of the nature of regeneration is its relationship to efficacious grace. Efficacious grace does not effect regeneration; it, too, is merely a simultaneous act with regeneration.
F. The Results of Regeneration
The sixth thing concerning the facet of regeneration has to do with its results. There are six specific results of regeneration.
The first result is the new birth; the believer is born again by virtue of regeneration (Jn. 1:13; 3:7; Jas. 1:18).
The second result is that the believer now has a new nature. This is not a nature that is dead in its trespasses and sins, but a nature that has been quickened, that has been made alive, that is now sensitive to spiritual things, that is now sensitive to God’s input. The believer has been changed; he has been regenerated, resulting in a new nature (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15; Eph. 4:24).
The third result of regeneration is the believer’s spiritual resurrection. Just as believers were once spiritually dead, having been regenerated, they are now spiritually resurrected. Indeed, spiritual resurrection will some day become the basis of the believer’s physical resurrection to eternal physical life. Whereas eternal physical life awaits the Rapture, the believer already has eternal spiritual life. The immaterial part of the believer is already going to live eternally, because he has already been spiritually resurrected. The believer’s spiritual resurrection is a present reality although his physical resurrection is yet to come (Jn. 5:25; Rom. 6:13; Eph. 2:5).
The fourth result of regeneration is a new creation. The believer is viewed as having been created anew, because the change that regeneration causes is so radical. There is such a fundamental change in the very nature of the believer that the Bible calls it a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:10; 4:24).
The fifth result of regeneration is eternal security. Regeneration is a work that cannot be undone. Just as physical birth cannot be undone, a person cannot ever go back into the womb of his mother and just stay there, in the same sense, spiritual birth is a work that cannot be undone; it cannot be reversed (Phil. 1:6).
The sixth result of regeneration is that the believer has a new experience; he lives a new lifestyle (1 Jn. 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:14, 18). With this new experience, the believer can overcome temptation (1 Jn. 5:4, 16, 18). With this new experience, the believer has a change of attitude (1 Jn. 4:19; 5:1–2). This new experience means that the believer is an heir who is going to inherit certain things (Rom. 8:16–17).
The second facet of the believer’s salvation is conversion. This facet will be discussed in five parts: the meaning of the word, the types of conversion, the means of conversion, the ramifications of conversion, and the examples of conversion.
A. The Meaning of the Word
One definition of conversion as a facet of believer’s salvation reads:
Conversion is the act of God whereby He causes the regenerated sinner in his conscious life to turn to Him in faith and repentance.
Logically, then, conversion follows regeneration. Another way of defining conversion is that conversion is the resulting conscious act of the regenerated sinner whereby he, through the grace of God, turns to God in faith and repentance.
The foundational, basic, root meaning of conversion is the word “turning.” Some speak of a “converted Jew,” meaning a Jew who has stopped being a Jew and has become a Gentile, but that is not the way the term “conversion” is used in Scripture. Conversion is a turning, and it has both a negative aspect and a positive aspect. Negatively, conversion means a turning from sin; positively, it means a turning to God. Conversion is not that one stops being a Jew and becomes a Gentile. Conversion is turning from sin and turning to God. Turning from sin emphasizes repentance; turning to God emphasizes faith. So this turning, this conversion, is an understanding of and a mental assent to certain basic facts concerning the person and the work of the Messiah: that He died for our sins; that He was buried; and that He rose again. This culminates in a commitment of one’s entire being to the Person of whom these facts testify.
To understand conversion is to understand the three elements of conversion itself. The first element is knowledge; one must know what he is turning from and what he is turning to. The second element is assent; one admits that these facts are true. And the third element is trust; one actually trusts, believes, and exercises faith in the facts of the gospel. Whenever the Bible speaks of conversion, it is always a turning from sin, which is repentance, and a turning to God, which is faith (Acts 9:35; 11:21; 15:19; 26:20; 1 Pet. 2:25).
B. The Types of Conversion
The second part of the facet of conversion has to do with the types of conversion. There are four types of conversion spoken of in the Scriptures.
The first type of conversion is that of a national conversion. One example that the Bible speaks of is the national conversion of Nineveh when the whole city of Nineveh repented (Jon. 3:10). There will also some day be a national conversion of Israel, and all Israel will be saved (Rom. 11:24–26).
A second type of conversion is known as temporary conversion, but temporary conversion is not true soteriological conversion. In these cases, one has fulfilled the first two elements of conversion: knowledge and assent, but never the third element: trust. Those who might be described as having experienced temporary conversion are those who had a knowledge of the content of the gospel, and they even assented that the facts of the gospel are really true, but they never fulfilled that third element of actually trusting or actually exercising faith. Thus, temporary conversion is not true soteriological conversion. The point is that, while people assented to the truth, they never exercised faith by accepting the truth, therefore, they were never really saved. There is some real doubt that there are any biblical examples of this temporary conversion, but some possibilities might be Acts 8:9–24; 1 Timothy 1:19–20; 2 Timothy 2:18; and 4:10. These are possible, though not definite, examples of what is meant by temporary conversion.
A third type of conversion is known as true conversion, which results in salvation. True conversion is a conversion that results when someone actually undergoes all three elements of conversion: knowledge, assent, and trust. It is only experienced by those who have actually undergone all three elements: they know the facts, they assent that these facts are true, and then exercise trust. They trust these facts for their salvation, so they experience a true conversion that results in salvation.
There is a fourth type of conversion, known as repeated conversion. This does not mean a believer loses his salvation and gets it back repeatedly, for that concept does not exist anywhere in Scripture. Rather, repeated conversion means that the new life suffered an eclipse, a backslide, a slight reversal, but then it is renewed again. But even without backsliding, our lives are to be renewed and renewed again; this is what is meant by the concept of repeated conversion. Repeated conversion must never be misconstrued as losing salvation and getting it back; rather, it is a renewing of the salvation one already has (Lk. 22:32; Rev. 2:5, 16, 21–22; 3:3, 19). Repeated conversion is not soteriological, it has to do with sanctification.
C. The Means of Conversion
The third part concerning the facet of conversion is its means. There are three elements of the means of conversion.
First, there is the efficient means or the efficient cause is God. God is the One who does the work of conversion (Jer. 13:23; Jn. 1:13; Rom. 9:16).
The second element of the means of conversion is the moving means or the moving cause. The moving cause of conversion is the will of God (1 Cor. 6:9–11; Eph. 2:3–6).
The third element of the means of conversion is the instrumental means or the instrumental cause, and that is the Word of God (Rom. 10:17; 1 Cor. 3:5; Gal. 3:2).
D. The Ramifications of Conversion
The fourth part of the facet of conversion concerns its ramifications. There are four key ramifications of conversion.
The first ramification of conversion is the Author. The Author of conversion is always God (Acts 11:18; 2 Tim. 2:25).
The second ramification of conversion is that man must cooperate in conversion in that he is the one who must turn from sin to God. In the Old Testament, the word “conversion” is used fifteen times in relationship to God’s doing the work, but seventy-four times in relationship to man’s doing it. In the New Testament, it is used only two or three times of God, but twenty-six times of man. This shows that man must cooperate in conversion (Is. 55:7; Jer. 18:11; Acts 17:30).
The third ramification of conversion is the three elements of conversion. These three elements are: intellect, emotion, and volition. Intellectually, there must be a change of view or perspective (Rom. 3:20). Emotionally, there is godly sorrow (2 Cor. 7:9–10). Volitionally, there is a change of one’s will, of one’s purpose (Acts 2:38; Rom. 2:4).
The fourth ramification of conversion is brought out by Psalm 119:59–60: I thought on my ways, And turned my feet unto your testimonies. I made haste, and delayed not, To observe your commandments.
The statements in this passage teach three things. First, in preparation for conversion, there must be a careful introspection of one’s own ways and of God’s ways (v. 59a). Secondly, as an act of converting, there must be a decisive turning toward the One of whom the Word testifies (v. 59b). And thirdly, the evidence of conversion is obedience; obedience is not the means of conversion, but the evidence of it (v. 60).
E. The Examples of Conversion
The fifth part of the facet of conversation has to do with some examples of conversion where one can see an obvious turning from sin to God. There are three clear examples in Scripture: Paul, in Acts 9:1–28; Lydia, in Acts 16:13–15; and the Philippian jailer, in Acts 16:19–34.
The third facet of the believer’s salvation is faith. This facet will be discussed in five parts: the meaning of the word, the kinds of faith, the nature of faith, the warrant for faith, and the characteristics of faith.
A. The Meaning of the Word
There are two aspects to the meaning of faith. The first aspect is that it is a conviction of truth founded on testimony. In order to exercise faith, one must know what to believe. There must be knowledge, and then there must be the conviction that what one knows intellectually really is true (Lk. 24:48; Jn. 3:11, 31–33; Acts 2:32; 3:15; 5:32; 10:39–43).
The second aspect is that faith means “to believe,” not just in the sense of believing that the facts are true, but believing in the sense of trusting that truth for one’s salvation.
B. The Kinds of Faith
The second part of the facet of faith has to do with the different kinds of faith. The Bible speaks of five different kinds of faith.
1. Speculative or Dead Faith
First, there is speculative faith or dead faith. Speculative or dead faith is believing the truth without appropriation of the truth. This could be called the “faith of inoculation.” For example, when one is inoculated against a disease, he is given just a little of it, just enough so that one never really catches the disease itself.
In speculative or dead faith, a person has received just a little faith, but never really catches the full measure of faith. There is historical and intellectual acceptance of the truth without any real moral or spiritual response (Acts 26:27–28; Jas. 2:19). One has assented to the truth of the gospel, but has not trusted it for salvation.
2. Temporary Faith
The second kind of faith is temporary faith. In temporary faith, a person believes when he is confronted, but never really grows in the faith. This is really just an emotional response, not out of a real trust that saves. He embraces the truth out of conscience, but not out of trust, so there is never real regeneration. He is not born again nor is there a conversion, a turning from sin to God (1 Jn. 2:19).
3. Saving Faith
The third kind of faith is saving faith, and it is this kind of faith that one really needs. Saving faith is the kind of faith that secures eternal life. Saving faith is a positive conviction wrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit as to the truth of the gospel; it is a heart reliance on the promise of God that He will save us in the Messiah. This is real saving faith. This is the faith that results in eternal life.
4. Living Faith
The fourth kind of faith that the Bible speaks of is living faith. Living faith is the faith by which one lives the spiritual life, the life as a believer (Acts 26:18; Gal. 2:20; Heb. 12:1–2; 1 Pet. 1:5). Living faith is the evidence of saving faith. Living faith shows that not only is one saved by grace through faith, but one must also live by grace through faith.
5. Miraculous Faith
The fifth kind of faith is miraculous faith. Miraculous faith is the conviction that a miracle will be done by God on one’s behalf. This may or may not accompany saving faith (Mat. 8:13; 17:20; Mk. 16:17–18; Jn. 11:22, 40). Merely having faith that God will work a miracle, by itself, does not guarantee anything. One may decide that he wants a miracle without checking with God first, and God may not choose to give him a miracle.
Miraculous faith means that when God has promised to do something miraculous, in those cases, one firmly believes it to be true. When God told Moses that He would change water into blood and that He would change a stick into a snake, Moses believed that God would do just that, that was miraculous faith. Miraculous faith is not a faith in which one invents or decides of his own accord which miracles God is going to do. Rather, God is the One who declares whether or not He will work a miracle, and when one believes it, that is miraculous faith. Miraculous faith is not the way one can cause God to perform miracles; miraculous faith is that one believes God when He reveals that He will do something miraculous.
C. The Nature of Faith
The third part of the facet of faith has to do with the nature of faith. There are three things that should be mentioned about the nature of faith. All three things must be present for true faith to be saving faith.
The first thing is knowledge. There must be knowledge because the gospel must be understood. It is essential to faith, and it must be an experiential knowledge (Rom. 10:14–17).
The second thing about the nature of faith is conviction or assent. Conviction is the assent of the truth. The gospel must be affirmed to be true; the gospel must be stated to be true.
The third thing about the nature of faith is trust. Trust is a commitment to the truth. Trust is in a person for salvation, and that person is the Messiah.
D. The Warrant for Faith
The fourth part of the facet of faith has to do with the warrant for faith. On what basis is it taught that one must believe to be saved? Here, two things should be mentioned.
First, there is the universal offer of the gospel. The fact that the Bible offers the gospel to all, universally, is the warrant for faith. The gospel is preached to all men, letting them know that, if they believe, they will be saved (Mat. 11:28; 28:19; Acts 17:30–31).
The second warrant for faith is the sufficiency of His saviorhood. The fact that He is sufficient to save all is another warrant for faith (Mat. 11:28; Jn. 6:37).
E. The Characteristics of Faith
The fifth and last part of this facet of faith concerns the characteristics of faith. There are seven characteristics of faith.
First, faith is the positive element of conversion. The negative element of conversion is repentance, or turning away from sin, but the positive element is turning to God by faith.
The second characteristic of faith is that it is the human requirement of salvation; it is what man must do to be saved.
The third characteristic of faith is to discuss its origin. Four things should be mentioned concerning the origin of faith. First, faith is a gift of God (Eph. 2:8; Col. 2:12; 2 Pet. 1:1). Secondly, the means by which this gift comes is by the conviction of the truth, which comes by the Holy Spirit (Jn. 16:8; 1 Cor. 2:14; 1 Jn. 2:20, 27). Thirdly, it is the exercise of human activity, the human responsibility (Rom. 10:9; 1 Cor. 2:5; Col. 1:23; 1 Tim. 1:5; 6:11). And fourthly, it is the Word of God that gives the content of what one must believe (Jn. 5:47; Acts 4:4; Rom. 10:14, 17).
The fourth thing by way of the characteristics of faith is that the object of faith is God and His entire revelation. The believer believes God; he believes His revelation, His Word, that has been revealed to believers.
The fifth characteristic of faith is the content of faith: what one must believe is the Messiah. Specifically, there are three things one must believe about Him: first, that He died for our sins; secondly, that He was buried; and thirdly, that He rose on the third day (Jn. 3:15–16, 18, 36; 6:29, 40, 47–51; Acts 10:43; Rom. 3:22; 1 Cor. 15:1–4; Gal. 2:16).
The sixth characteristic of faith concerns the three elements of faith. First, the intellectual element; there must be a knowledge, a positive recognition of the truth. Secondly, the emotional element; there must be an assent, a conviction, of the importance of this truth. And thirdly, the volitional element; one must will to choose or trust in that fact.
The seventh characteristic of faith is the relationship of faith and feeling. Faith cannot be defined on the basis of feeling or be based upon feeling. Faith is not necessarily connected with feeling. Saving faith is not merely assent to the truth, but actually trusting in it, and there may not be any feeling whatsoever.
The fourth facet of our salvation is repentance. This facet will be discussed in three parts: the meaning of the word, the Hebrew and Greek words for repentance, and the characteristics of repentance.
A. The Meaning of the Word
Repentance means “the change wrought in the conscious life of the sinner by which he turns away from sin.” People often confuse repentance with having “sorrow for sin.” However, repentance does not mean “to be sorry for sin.” Rather, the basic meaning of repentance is a “change of mind.” Repentance is the change wrought in the conscious life, in the mind of the sinner, when he changes his mind about where he is spiritually, and he turns away from sin.
B. The Hebrew and Greek Words
The second part of the facet of repentance is to discuss the various Hebrew and Greek words from which the concept of conversion is derived.
1. The Hebrew Words
There are two basic Hebrew words that should be mentioned. The first Hebrew word is nicham, which means “to repent” (Gen. 6:6–7; Ex. 32:14; Judg. 2:18; 1 Sam. 15:11).
The second Hebrew word is shuv, which means “to turn,” “to turn about,” “to turn back,” “to return.” This is the main Hebrew word for Old Testament repentance.
2. The Greek Words
There are three Greek words that are translated by the English word “repentance.”
The first Greek word is metanoia, which means literally “to know after” or “after knowledge.” It means to change one’s mind as a result of after knowledge. It is a change of conduct for the future. In that sense, this Greek word metanoia corresponds to the first Hebrew word, nicham. It means “repentance with faith” (Lk. 24:47; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 5:31; 11:18; 26:20; Rom. 2:4; 2 Cor. 7:10; 2 Tim. 2:25; Heb. 6:1; 2 Pet. 3:9).
The second Greek word that carries the concept of repentance is epistrepho, which means “to turn back,” “to turn about,” “to return.” It corresponds to that second Hebrew word, shuv, and it also means “repentance with faith” (Acts 15:3; 26:20; 1 Thess. 1:9).
The third word that is sometimes translated as “repentance” is the Greek word metamellomai, which means “to become a care to one afterwards,” “to regret one’s course of action.” It refers to feelings of regret. It is repentance without faith, and this is important to understand. While the first two words mean “repentance with faith,” this one means “repentance without faith” (Mat. 21:29, 32; 27:3; Heb. 7:21). This is the same word that is used of Judas after he decided that he was wrong to betray the Messiah. Matthew 27:3 states that Judas repented; therefore, people ask, “Because Judas repented, does that mean that Judas was saved?” The answer is “No,” because the Greek word used for the repentance of Judas is not the first Greek word, metanoia, nor is it the second Greek word epistrepho, but it is this third Greek word, metamellomai, which simply means that Judas regretted. He felt sorry, he felt remorse, but it was not saving repentance; it was repentance without faith. So the answer is, “No, Judas was not saved.”
C. The Characteristics of Repentance
The third part of the facet of repentance concerns the characteristics of repentance. There are eight characteristics that should be mentioned.
1. The Negative Element
First, repentance is the negative element of conversion; it means turning from sin (Acts 5:31; Heb. 6:1). The positive element of conversion, turning to God, is faith.
2. The Final Act of Conversion
The second characteristic of repentance is that it is the final act of conversion.
3. A New Relationship
The third characteristic of repentance is the concept of turning in that it establishes a new relationship, whereby the actions of one’s life are made to move in a different, opposite direction.
4. Equivalent of Faith
The fourth characteristic of repentance is that it is sometimes used as an equivalent of, and interchangeably with, faith.
Four things can be said about the fact that repentance sometimes equals faith. First, repentance is a change of mind toward the revealed truth of the Word of God (Lk. 24:46–48; Acts 11:18; 20:21; 26:20; Rom. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9). Secondly, the gospel is a gospel of repentance. Thirdly, John the Baptist’s message was a message of repentance to Israel. When John preached the message of repentance, he was saying that they were to change their minds as to the source and means of righteousness. Their Pharisaism was not the means of righteousness, rather, the Messiah was the means of righteousness (Mat. 3:2; 4:17). Fourthly, a person is to repent and to change one’s mind about the Messiah (Acts 2:38; 3:19).
5. The Sources of Repentance
The fifth characteristic of repentance concerns the source of repentance. It has a divine side and a human side. From the divine side, repentance is a gift (Acts 5:31; 11:18; 2 Tim. 2:25).
From the human side, there are four things that should be noted about the source of repentance. First is the Word of God, this is what gives one the knowledge of why and how he should repent (Lk. 16:30–31).
The second thing is the preaching of the gospel, this is to call upon men to repent, to change their minds about Yeshua (Jesus), and to believe the gospel (Mat. 12:41; Lk. 24:47; Acts 2:37–38; 2 Tim. 2:24–25).
The third thing is the goodness of God in that when one contemplates the goodness of God, which should lead the unbeliever to repent (Rom. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9).
And the fourth thing is chastisement; sometimes God will chastise people in order to move them to repentance. This is a goal of chastisement (Heb. 12:10–11; Rev. 3:19).
6. Distinct from Salvation
The sixth characteristic of repentance is the relationship of repentance and salvation as brought out in 1 Thessalonians 1:9. The thing to note is that repentance is included in believing, but it is not a separate act. Believing involves changing one’s mind, and that is repentance. So salvation is preceded by repentance or by a change of mind in the same way it is preceded by faith, but one should not see this as two distinct entities.
7. Specific Results of Repentance
The seventh characteristic of repentance concerns the results of repentance for the believer and for the unbeliever. For the unbeliever, repentance will result in salvation. For the believer, repentance will result in a restoration of fellowship (2 Cor. 7:8–10).
8. Three elements of Repentance
And the eighth characteristic of repentance is that there are three elements of repentance. The first element is intellectual; one must acknowledge that one’s past life is viewed as sin (Rom. 1:32; 2 Tim. 2:25). The second element is emotional; there should be sorrow for sin. Again, sorrow by itself is not repentance, for repentance is to change one’s mind, but changing one’s mind should involve being sorry for one’s sin (2 Cor. 7:9–10). The third element is volitional; one must will to change his purpose (Acts 2:38; 8:22; Rom. 2:4).
The fifth facet of the believer’s salvation is confession. Confession that results in salvation will be discussed in three parts: the meaning of the word, the characteristics of confession, and the Scriptures concerning confession.
A. The Meaning of the Word
What is meant by the word “confession” insofar as it is a facet of one’s salvation? From that respect, confession is verbalizing the content of faith that saves: that the Messiah died for the believer’s sins, was buried, and rose again according to the Scriptures.
The content of faith must somehow be verbalized as part of our salvation. This may be vocal, but most of the time it is silent. Concepts are understood by means of words, and one understands the content of the gospel by means of words. When those words are believed, this is confession.
B. The Characteristics of Confession
The second part of the facet of confession in relationship to salvation is its characteristics. Two characteristics should be mentioned.
First, negatively, confession is not a “public profession of faith.” The confession discussed here is not when someone gets up in front of an audience and confesses that he believes on Yeshua the Messiah. This is not confession in relationship to salvation. One is not saved by getting up in front of a group and saying what he believes. By then, he has already been saved. Furthermore, it has nothing to do with walking down the aisle. When the Bible speaks about confession as a facet of our salvation, it says nothing about the aisle. The person walking down the aisle may not be saved at all, for he may only be responding emotionally. Or he may already be saved before he walked down the aisle, for he already exercised faith.
The second characteristic is that confession results positively in salvation only insofar as it is part of believing. Believing means to have faith and faith has content; the content of faith is expressed verbally. Again, confession is the verbalization of the content of faith.
Confession that results in salvation is not getting up in front of an audience and “confessing Yeshua,” nor is it walking down the aisle. Rather, confession results in salvation only insofar as it is part of believing.
C. The Scriptures Concerning Confession
The third part of confession as a facet of salvation is Scripture. There are two main Scriptures that teach this.
1. Matthew 10:32
Every one therefore who shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven.
In this context, Jesus is distinguishing between Jewish people who believe and Jewish people who do not believe. Those who believe are the ones who will verbally confess that Jesus is the Messiah. But here, confession results in salvation only because at this point, it is part of believing. The verse states what that one must believe.
2. Romans 10:9–11
The second main passage that relates confession to salvation is Romans 10:9–11. This confession is not something that is distinct from believing so that confession becomes a prerequisite to salvation; otherwise, that would mean salvation is by works. Here, Paul interchanges the words confess and believe. He uses both words twice, but he interchanges them. Once, he uses one word first; later, he uses the other word first in a figure of speech known as a “chiasmus.” In this way, it shows that what he means by confession that saves is only that confession which is the same as believing.
Verse 9 states: if you shall confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and shall believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.
In this verse, confession simply means verbalizing the third point of the gospel: that Yeshua was raised from the dead. Believing the gospel is what saves him. In this verse, Paul used “confession” first and “believing” second.
Then, Paul changes the order of the words, using “believing” first and then “confession” in verse 10: for with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Again, he is simply verbalizing the content of faith that saves.
The emphasis is on believing only in verse 11: For the scripture says, Whosoever believes on him shall not be put to shame.
From these verses, it is evident that confession results in salvation only insofar that it is part of believing.
The sixth facet of our salvation is forgiveness. This facet will be discussed in three parts: the meaning of the word, the words concerning forgiveness, and the ramifications of forgiveness.
A. The Meaning of the Word
The first part deals with the question: What does forgiveness mean? Forgiveness means “not to take into account one’s sins.” When God does not take into account the believer’s sins, he is forgiven by God.
B. The Words Concerning Forgiveness
The second part of the facet of forgiveness concerns the words that are used to express forgiveness.
In the Old Testament, the word “forgive” is used a total of fifty-one times, and the word “pardon” is used twenty times, all of which emphasize the aspect of forgiveness.
In the New Testament, there are two major Greek words that emphasize this truth. The first Greek word is aphieimi, which means, “to send away,” “to dismiss,” “to release.” It is translated fifty eight times by the English word “forgive” and eleven times by the word “remit.” This particular word emphasizes what happens to one’s sins when they are forgiven: they are sent away; they are dismissed, and believers are released from them (Rom. 4:7).
The second key Greek word is charizomai, which means, “to overlook totally.” This word is based on the root for the word “grace.” It emphasizes what made forgiveness possible: God’s grace (Lk. 7:42; 2 Cor. 2:7, 10; 12:13)
C. The Ramifications of Forgiveness
The third part of the facet of forgiveness concerns its ramifications; there are two key ramifications.
The first ramification is that a judge cannot pardon or forgive a criminal. Only a higher authority can do that. Therefore, if a criminal stands before a judge, the judge must in some way punish the crimes that were committed by the criminal.
The second ramification is that therefore one needs justification, which means “to be declared righteous.” When one is forgiven, he receives justification, he is justified from his sins. One needs justification because a judge cannot pardon or forgive a criminal; therefore, he must punish either the criminal or a substitute. In the believer’s case, Yeshua is that substitute.
The seventh facet of the believer’s salvation is imputation. This facet will be discussed in three parts: the meaning of the word, the three imputations, and the means of imputation.
A. The Meaning of the Word
As a facet of salvation, imputation means “to reckon over to another” or “to set down to the account of another.” A good example where the concept of imputation is used in a non salvation sense is in Philemon 17–18: If then you count me a partner, receive him as myself. But if he has wronged you at all, or owes you aught, put that to mine account.
Here, Paul is writing to Philemon concerning an escaped slave by the name of Onesimus. He tells Philemon that, since this runaway slave has now become a believer, he should welcome Onesimus back as a brother. If he had stolen anything, Paul states: put that to mine account. In other words, “If he owes you anything, erase it from his account, and put it on my account.” What imputation means is “to reckon over to one,” “to set down to one’s account.” It is used here in its non salvation sense.
B. The Three Imputations
The second part of the facet of imputation concerns the three great imputations, all of which deal with salvation.
The first great imputation is the imputation of Adam’s sin to humanity (Rom. 5:12–14). Because of the first great imputation of Adam’s sin to his descendants, all people are looked upon as having participated in that first sin of Adam, and all people bear the resultant guilt. This is the reason that physical death is part of all human history.
The second great imputation is the imputation of humanity’s sin to the Messiah. When Jesus died on the cross, God took the sins of the world and placed them upon Him; humanity’s sin was imputed to the Messiah’s account. The second great imputation was prophesied of the Messiah in Isaiah 53:1–6, and its recorded fulfillment is found in 2 Corinthians 5:21 and 1 Peter 2:24–25.
The third great imputation is the most important one insofar as it is a facet of our salvation: the imputation of the Messiah’s righteousness to the believer. As a result of humanity’s sin being imputed to the Messiah, those who believe have the righteousness of the Messiah imputed upon them (Rom. 3:21–22; 10:4; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:8–9).
C. The Means of Imputation
The third part of the facet of imputation concerns the means of imputation: the Messiah’s substitute. This came as a result of the Messiah’s substitutionary sacrifice (Heb. 9:14; 10:14).
The eighth facet of the believer’s salvation is adoption. The facet of adoption will be discussed in four parts: the meaning of the word, the Greek word for “adoption,” the ramifications of adoption, and the effects or results of adoption.
A. The Meaning of the Word
Adoption means to place a child in a position of privilege and authority upon his arriving at maturity (Rom. 9:4; Gal. 4:1–5). As a facet of salvation, adoption means that the redeemed person becomes a son or daughter of God with all the privileges of being in God’s family. John 1:12 states: But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name.
B. The Greek Word for “Adoption”
The second part of the facet of adoption concerns the key word that is used. The Greek word huiothesia is translated by the English word “adoption.” This particular word literally means “to place as a son.” It is used a total of five times in the New Testament, with three distinct usages.
The first usage is that of Israel’s adoption as a nation, the national people of God (Rom. 9:4).
The second usage is that of the present adoption of the individual believer into the family of God (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5).
And the third usage is that of the ultimate adoption when the believer will be glorified. The final adoption is the glorified state (Rom. 8:23).
C. The Ramifications of Adoption
The third part of adoption as a facet of salvation has to do with its four ramifications. First, sonship is an effect of regeneration. Regeneration was previously discussed as the first facet of the believer’s salvation.
The second ramification of adoption is that it is connected with the reception of the Holy Spirit. When a person believes on Yeshua the Messiah, he receives the Holy Spirit. Adoption is somehow connected with the Holy Spirit’s coming to indwell a person when he believes (Rom. 8:15–16; Gal. 4:6).
The third ramification is that, in adoption, God becomes the Father. This is especially true of God the Father in that He becomes the Father of the believer by adoption. The First Person of the Trinity is not only the Father of the Lord Jesus the Messiah, He is also the God and the Father of the believer (Jn. 20:17). This is one of several reasons that the name “Father” is a distinctive name of the First Person of the Trinity.
The fourth ramification concerning adoption is to point out the three terms that are used to describe this aspect of adoption. First, one reads of “God the Father of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah” (Rom. 15:6; 2 Cor. 11:31; Eph. 1:3; Col. 1:3; 1 Pet. 1:3). A second term is simply “God the Father,” distinct from the Son (Gal. 1:1; Eph. 6:23; Phil. 2:11; 1 Thes. 1:1; 2 Thes. 1:2; 1 Tim. 1:2; Titus 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:2; 2 Pet. 1:17; 2 Jn. 3; Jude 1; Rev. 1:6). A third term distinguishes the Son from the Father. In these cases, the Son is being distinguished from the Father, whereas in the previous category, the Father was distinguished from the Son (Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:3; 2 Cor. 1:2; Gal. 1:3; Eph. 1:2; 1 Thes. 1:3; 3:11, 13; 2 Thes. 1:1–2; 2:16).
D. The Effects or Results of Adoption
The fourth part of the facet of adoption is to mention the effects or the results of adoption. There are seven effects or results of adoption.
The first effect or result is that, as the believer is now the child of God, he becomes a recipient of the care and the compassion of God (Lk. 11:11–13). This is the positive result of adoption.
The second effect or result is that, because part of a father son relationship is that of discipline, the believer also becomes subject to correction. This is the negative result of adoption (Heb. 12:5–11).
The third effect or result is that by adoption the believer now has the right to approach God with boldness. Adoption means that the believer has been brought into the family of God with certain rights and privileges. One of these privileges is to appear before the throne boldly (Heb. 4:14–16).
The fourth effect or result of adoption is that there is an increasing conformity to the image of the Son of God. Part of the work that the Holy Spirit does in the life of the believer as he grows in the family of God is to conform him more and more to the image of the Son.
The fifth effect or result of adoption is that believers are heirs and joint heirs with the Messiah. He is the natural Son of God the Father, but believers are the adopted sons. As adopted sons, believers become joint heirs with the Messiah (Rom. 8:17; Gal. 4:7).
The sixth effect or result of adoption is that believers become the Messiah’s brethren. By having been adopted into the family of God, believers are the brethren of Yeshua in His humanity (Heb. 2:11).
The seventh effect or result of adoption is liberty. There is the privilege of liberty functioning within the sphere of grace (Rom. 8:14–15; Gal. 4:6–7).
The ninth facet of the believer’s salvation is assurance. Assurance is not quite the same thing as eternal security. Eternal security teaches that one can never lose his salvation once he has been saved; this is the teaching of the Word of God. Whether one believes in eternal security or doesn’t believe in it, he is still saved; even for those who think that they can lose their salvation, the fact is, they cannot lose it. Even if they believe that they can undo the work of regeneration, they cannot.
However, assurance is a different matter. Assurance is when the believer can be certain that he is saved; he can know that he has salvation. He never needs to doubt his salvation. Assurance as a facet of salvation will be discussed in five parts: the issue of assurance, the principles concerning assurance, the sources of assurance, the tests of assurance, and the Scriptures concerning assurance.
A. The Issue of Assurance
Since assurance is not the same as eternal security, is it possible for a person to know for certain, to rest assured, that he is saved and bound for Heaven? That is the issue.
B. The Principles Concerning Assurance
The second part of the facet of assurance is to understand certain principles. In order to understand assurance as a facet of salvation, one needs to be aware of three key principles.
The first principle is understanding the nature of salvation. The nature of salvation involves three things. First, salvation is a free gift of God apart from merit; there is nothing meritorious that one could do to gain it; therefore, there is nothing unmeritorious one can do to lose it. The second thing in understanding the nature of salvation is that salvation is a work of God for man, not a work that man can do. All that people can do is receive it by faith. The third thing to understand concerning the nature of salvation is the completeness of the work of the Messiah on the cross; He has done a finished, complete work. Hence, the first principle in understanding the nature of salvation is that it is a gift apart from merit; that it is a work of God for man, and that it is a finished work, accomplished by the Messiah on the cross.
The second principle concerning assurance as a facet of salvation is the confirming testimony of the believer’s experience (2 Cor. 13:5). If one has been truly saved, there will be confirming testimony of believing experiences.
The third principle is the acceptance of the veracity or the truthfulness of the promises of the Bible (1 Jn. 5:13). The Bible says that one can know that he is saved; therefore, one ought to believe the promises of God.
C. The Sources of Assurance
The third part of the facet of assurance is its source. Three things will be discussed concerning the source of assurance.
The first source is the Word of God. If the Word of God teaches something to be true and one believes it to be true, then one will have the assurance of salvation (Jn. 1:12; Rom. 10:13; 1 Jn. 2:7). For example, the Bible teaches that those who have believed are the children of God; if they believe what this verse says, then that should result in assurance.
The second source of assurance is the works of the believer’s life. Indeed, a person who is truly saved is going to show it in some way by some works. While works do not save, saving faith will produce works, and these works are an assurance of our salvation (1 Jn. 2:3–5).
The third source of the believer’s assurance is the Holy Spirit. The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit does the work of assurance; He bears witness with the believer’s spirit that they are the children of God (1 Jn. 2:27–29; 4:13).
D. The Tests of Assurance
The fourth part concerning the facet of assurance is the tests of assurance. Again, even if a person does not have assurance, that does not mean he is not saved; he might still be saved, but lacks the assurance of it. If he does not have assurance of salvation, but he wants to have it, there are fourteen tests he can apply. Thirteen of these tests have been based on the First Epistle of John, because it is the First Epistle of John that is most concerned with the assurance of salvation. John tried to explain to the people how they could know that they were indeed the children of God, and by having this assurance, they could grow in their spiritual life.
The first test is in 1 John 1:3–4: Do you enjoy being in fellowship with God? A true believer enjoys being in fellowship with God. If the answer is “yes,” you can have this assurance of your salvation.
The second test is in 1 John 1:5–10: Do you have a sensitivity to sin? If you feel that you do have a sensitivity to sin, if gross sin “turns you off,” if you feel bad or if you have pangs of conscience when you sin, that, too, can be assurance of your salvation.
The third test is in 1 John 2:3–5: Are you living in obedience to God’s commands? A true believer will obey the commandments of the Lord. Are you in a state of obedience? If you are, that, too, can be evidence to use as assurance of salvation.
The fourth test is in 1 John 2:15: What is your attitude toward the world? Do you find yourself loving the world much more than you love God? Or is God more the center of your life than the world is? If it is God, that, too, can be used as assurance of your salvation.
The fifth test is in 1 John 3:2–5: Do you love Jesus the Messiah and look forward to His return? If you can say, “Yes,” that, too, is assurance of your salvation.
The sixth test is in 1 John. 3:4: Do you practice sin? Is sin habitual in your life? All people sin, but if the sin is habitual in your life, that is a problem; if it is not, then that, too, is assurance of your salvation.
The seventh test is in 1 John 3:14: Do you provoke others to love? If you are a divisive factor in the Body, then there are some questions that need to be asked; if you are not a divisive element, but you promote others to love, that, too, could be used as a point of assurance for your salvation.
The eighth test is in 1 John 3:22 and 5:15: Do you experience answered prayer? If you have never experienced any answered prayer in your entire spiritual life, then there might need to be an examination of your salvation. But if you have seen God working in your life, if you have seen God answer prayer in your life, that, too, can be used as assurance of your salvation.
The ninth test is in 1 John 3:24 and 4:13: Do you have the inner witness of the Holy Spirit? The Spirit witnesses within believers that they are the children of God. If you have this inner witness, that, too, can be used as assurance of salvation.
The tenth test is in 1 John 4:1–6: Do you have the ability to discern between spiritual truth and spiritual error? If you have no such discernment, then there will need to be some questions asked about whether salvation was ever there to begin with. If you have this ability to discern spiritual truth from spiritual error, if you have the capacity to spot false teachings, then that, too, can be used as assurance of salvation.
The eleventh test is in 1 John 4:1: Do you believe in the basic doctrines of the Christian faith? While there are certain things about which believers may disagree among themselves, there are certain basic doctrines that all true believers share; these are often referred to as the “fundamentals of the faith.” In these fundamentals, there is no disagreement. So, if you are wrestling with the fundamentals of the faith, there may be a real problem; but if you do believe in the basic doctrines of the Christian faith, then that, too, can be used as assurance of your salvation.
The twelfth test is in 1 John 3:19–21: Do you have inner peace? The kind of peace of which the Bible often speaks has nothing to do with making a decision about God’s will in your life. Rather, it has to do with your relationship to God, knowing that your sins have been forgiven and that God is not angry with you any more. If you do not have this inner peace, there might be some questions that need to be asked; but if you do have this inner peace, that, too, can be used as assurance of your salvation.
The thirteenth test is in 1 John 2:7–11 and 3:11–18: Do you love the brethren? Do you have a love of the brethren in your heart? If you find yourself constantly at odds with all of the brethren, if you even find animosity and hatred toward the brethren, then there might be some serious question about your salvation to begin with. If you enjoy being with fellow believers, enjoy their fellowship, look forward to getting together with them, that, too, can then be used as evidence of your salvation.
In the fourteenth test, some other tests that are based on other passages of Scripture will be discussed. There are four tests beyond those previously mentioned, although in some cases, there are overlapping questions.
The first test is the love of the brethren in John 13:35. If you have the love of the brethren, that can be used as an assurance for your salvation.
The second test is to love one another in John 15:17. It is just like the first one, and indeed, this very repetition shows that the greatest evidence of one’s salvation is that believers love one another.
The third test is the witness of the Holy Spirit in Romans 8:16. Indeed, the Holy Spirit witnesses with the believer’s spirit that he is the child of God. True believers have the indwelling Holy Spirit that witnesses to their newborn spirit that they are the children of God.
And the fourth test is a self imposed test in 2 Corinthians 13:5: “Test yourselves to see if you are in the truth.” Examine yourself, especially before taking communion as Paul encouraged believers to do in 1 Corinthians 11:28, and see if you are standing in the truth doctrinally, morally, and spiritually. If you are, that, too, is an evidence of salvation.
E. The Scriptures Concerning Assurance
The fifth part of the facet of assurance is to look at Scriptures where the very aspect of assurance is clearly emphasized. There are four main passages of Scripture that definitely deal with the issue of assurance.
1. John 20:31
but these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name.
According to this verse, John wrote his Gospel so that one might believe that Yeshua is the Messiah, the Son of God, and having believed it, then he can know that he has eternal life in His name.
2. Colossians 2:2
that their hearts may be comforted, they being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, that they may know the mystery of God, even Christ
One of the things that God wants believers to have is all riches of the full assurance of understanding. God wants there to be full assurance of the believer’s salvation, full assurance of the work of the Messiah in the believer in the world. Indeed, God wants the believer to have full assurance of salvation; He does not want him to live in doubt. The believer is to be assured of his salvation and then move on from there to maturity.
3. 1 Thessalonians 1:5
how that our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and in much assurance; even as ye know what manner of men we showed ourselves toward you for your sake.
In this passage, God wants the believer to have much assurance of his salvation. He wants the believer to live in the certainty that he is the child of God.
4. Hebrews 6:17–19
Wherein God, being minded to show more abundantly unto the heirs of the promise the immutability of his counsel, interposed with an oath; that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have a strong encouragement, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us: which we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and stedfast and entering into that which is within the vei.
The emphasis here is that, by resting in God’s immutable promises, believers can have an anchor of the soul, an anchor of assurance that they are the children of God.
The tenth facet, the one future facet of our salvation, is glorification. While the other nine facets are true here and now, the tenth facet is yet future. This facet of salvation will be discussed in four parts: the meaning of the word, the Scripture concerning glorification, the nature of glorification, and the ramifications of glorification.
A. The Meaning of the Word
The basic meaning of glorification is “the state of perfection.” It points to that future state in Heaven when believers reach a state of perfection. The believer will no longer be subject to the sin nature. The believer will no longer even have the capacity to commit sin.
B. The Scripture Concerning Glorification
The second part of the facet of glorification has to do with Scripture. The key Scripture for glorification is Romans 8:28–30: And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose. For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren: and whom he foreordained, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
In this passage, Paul mentions some of the present facets of the believer’s salvation. He then points out that, just as the believer is experiencing the present facets of salvation, he is certain to experience the future facet of his salvation: glorification, when the believer reaches that state of perfection.
C. The Nature of Glorification
The third part of the facet of glorification has to do with the nature of glorification. In this facet, seven things will be discussed.
The first thing about the nature of glorification is that it is holy. When the believer reaches the glorified state, he will be perfectly holy, no longer subject to sin (Col. 1:22). The believer will not even have the ability or capacity to commit sin.
2. Freedom of Stumbling
The second thing about the nature of glorification is that the believer will be free of stumbling (Phil. 1:10). There will be no more stumbling blocks, no more backsliding; none of these things will exist any longer, because not even the capacity to sin will be there.
The third thing about the nature of glorification is that the believer will have been tested and purified (Phil. 1:10). Purification will destroy all impurities; there will be no wood, hay, or stubble left within us whatsoever. The believer will have indeed reached a state of perfection.
The fourth thing about the nature of glorification is that the believer will be unreprovable (1 Cor. 1:8). There will be nothing bad that anyone will be able to say about the believer; he will be irreproachable.
The fifth thing about the nature of glorification is that the believer will be faultless; he will be free from any faults (1 Thess. 3:13; 5:23). The believer will find no faults with himself, and no one else will be able to find any faults with him either. When the believer reaches that state of perfection, he will be truly faultless, in his own eyes, in the eyes of others, and in the eyes of God.
The sixth thing about the nature of glorification is that the believer will be free from any spots and wrinkles (Eph. 5:25–27). Free of spots means that there will be no blemishes whatsoever; free of wrinkles means that there will be no evidence of the aging process. This passage teaches that one of the purposes of the present process of sanctification is to present the Church, the Body of the Messiah, in a glorified state. The glorified state requires the Body, as well as the individual, to be free of any imperfections: not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing. Indeed, the believer will be free of all those things.
7. Full Knowledge
And the seventh thing about the nature of glorification is the fullness of knowledge spoken of in 1 Corinthians 13:9–12. Paul states in verse 12: then shall I know fully even as also I was fully known. This is sometimes understood to mean that the believer will know as much as God knows. This will never be true because God is omniscient, but believers will never be omniscient themselves. For the believer to be omniscient would mean that he would have to become God. The believer will never be able to do as much as God does, he will never be able to be as powerful as God is, he will never know as much as God knows.
What this passage means is that the believer shall know himself fully; he will not surprise himself any more with some of the things he does. He will know himself fully, even as he is already fully known by God who knows everything about him. This passage means that when the believer reaches the state of glorification, the state of perfection, he will have reached the epitome of creature knowledge, the height of what can be known by creatures. But he will never reach the epitome of Creator knowledge. Omniscient he will not be, but he will fully know himself, even as he is fully known.
D. The Ramifications of Glorification
The fourth part of the facet of glorification concerns its ramifications. There are five ramifications of glorification.
The first ramification is that glorification concerns the resurrection body (Rom. 8:23; 1 Cor. 15:50–58; 2 Cor. 4:17; 5:1–5; Phil. 3:20–21). The immaterial part of man will be glorified and perfected upon death; however, while the immaterial part of man goes into Heaven, that will not be true of the material part of man. The material part of man will be buried; it will undergo corruption and finally disintegrate until it goes to dust. Once that body is resurrected from the dead, it also reaches the glorified state. It is at that point that full glorification is achieved of both soul and body. So, the first ramification of the believer’s glorification is that it especially concerns the physical resurrection of the body.
The second ramification is that glorification will mean the full vindication of believers (Rom. 8:31–39). At that point, everything that believers have claimed, everything that believers have believed, everything that believers have hoped for, will be fully vindicated. Therefore, Paul asks in verse 33: Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? And the answer will be, “No one.”
The third ramification is that glorification is connected with the removal of the present creation (Rom. 8:20–22). Eventually, this present creation will have to be removed before the final glorified state is reached with the new heavens and the new earth.
The fourth ramification is that the Holy Spirit is the earnest of the believer’s future glorification (2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5; Eph. 1:14). For example, when a person puts earnest money or a down payment on a house, he is saying that he is ready to negotiate in good faith; with everything else worked out, he will eventually pay for the house in full. The Holy Spirit is an earnest to assure the believer that God means business, that God intends to fulfill the promise He has made that some day the believer will be glorified. So, believers now have the Holy Spirit indwelling them as the earnest of their future glorification. The fact that He is in believers is the guarantee that they shall reach the state of perfection in the future life.
And the fifth ramification of glorification is that it will come at the time of the believer’s inheritance (Eph. 1:13–14; 1 Pet. 1:3–5). When he receives his final inheritance, this is also when he is fully glorified.