THE FULLNESS OF SALVATION
THE FULLNESS OF SALVATION Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Christ is entering the members of His Body in the present hour, preparing each of us for the fullness of God. He is casting out what does not belong in the eternal Temple of God, in the Wife of the Lamb. The entering of God into us will continue to increase until the fullness is revealed at the time of the appearing of Christ in the clouds of glory. We are growing together until the fullness has been attained to and received.
There are at least seven aspects of the Christian salvation:
Salvation from guilt to forgiveness.
Salvation from spiritual death to spiritual life.
Salvation from spiritual bondage to spiritual freedom.
Salvation from disobedience to obedience.
Salvation from Satan’s image to Christ’s image.
Salvation from emptiness to fullness.
Salvation from bodily corruption to bodily incorruption.
Table of Contents
THE FULLNESS OF SALVATION
So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:28)
The Apostles of the Lamb pointed toward the fullness of our salvation as coming in the future, maintaining that what we have now is a guarantee, a deposit on what is to be presented in full at a later time. We have been purchased by the blood of the Lamb and sealed by the Spirit of God. These constitute a pledge, a guarantee concerning future acts of redemption.
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest [pledge] of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (Ephesians :13,14)
Peter speaks of the future salvation:
Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (I Peter 1:5)
Our inheritance, our redemption, our salvation, our restoration, is reserved in Heaven for us. It is ready to be revealed in the last days.
Our redemption will come from Heaven in the end-time as a series of Divine acts. We can notice in the following passage that the promises of the Prophets concerning salvation will be fulfilled in their appointed times and seasons:
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution [restoration] of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. (Acts 3:21)
Only those believers who are watching carefully in prayer will partake of the "latter rain" outpourings (Zechariah 10:1)—the spiritual "comings" of the Lord (compare John 14:18-23). The parable of the ten virgins, for example, may be portraying one of the comings in the spirit realm.
The Lord will come in judgment and revival glory before His appearing in the clouds.
Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 3:1)
Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth. (Hosea 6:3)
Those who are living in the flesh, trusting they will be drawn up to meet the Lord when He appears in glory, may discover in that day that redemption had come previously and they had not been watching. They have been carrying their Bible under their arm but resurrection life has not been dwelling in them.
This is what happened to Israel when Christ came the first time. This is what may happen to many present-day Christians when Christ comes in the clouds of glory.
The Lord has His ways of concealing His Glory from the rebellious and spiritually proud and showing His intentions to those who tremble at His Word and seek His face diligently.
We cannot "accept Christ" and then wait to die and go to Heaven. There always is a present burden of the Holy Spirit, a movement toward the full deliverance of the elect. There is something to do now, in the Lord.
Let us consider, for a moment, the scope of the redemption in Christ. There are at least seven aspects of the Christian salvation:
Salvation from guilt to forgiveness.
Salvation from spiritual death to eternal life.
Salvation from spiritual bondage to spiritual freedom.
Salvation from disobedience to obedience.
Salvation from Satan’s image to Christ’s image.
Salvation from emptiness to fullness.
Salvation from bodily corruption to bodily incorruption.
The Lord Jesus Christ shed His blood on the cross of Calvary as the payment for the guilt of our sins. The soul that sins shall die. This is the Divine edict. Atonement must be made by blood. The blood of Jesus appeased the wrath of God, balancing the Divine scales of righteousness.
It is not possible for a human being to appease God, to make an atonement for his sins. Only the blood of Jesus can make an atonement for sin. The most debased of sinners can come to Jesus in faith, repent of his sins, be baptized in water, and receive the full Divine pardon.
Many wretched, destroyed people have come to God’s Lamb throughout the centuries of the Christian Era and received the full Divine pardon. The love of God goes far beyond the ability of human beings to comprehend.
God forgives those who come to Him through Christ. He forgives them totally. Our sins and rebellions are put on Christ’s account. Our court record is expunged—made as though there had been no transgression.
This first aspect of redemption has been preached thoroughly by the Christian ministry. It has been preached so thoroughly that the Christian salvation has come to mean only forgiveness. Grace means forgiveness. Salvation means forgiveness. Redemption means forgiveness. Such is the modern perception of Divine grace.
Added to limiting the definition of salvation to the forgiveness of our sins has been the idea that the goal of forgiveness is to permit us to enter Heaven—there to live forever in a beautiful mansion.
The myth of residence in Heaven as the goal of the Divine redemption has destroyed the true scriptural concept of redemption—that of restoring to man what was lost in Eden.
The coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth, which always has been the burden of the prophets of God, has been buried under numerous traditions and fables. Over the past hundred years the error of the pre-tribulation "rapture" has been added to the "forgiven to go to Heaven" concept of redemption.
"Salvation by grace," as presented by current Christian pastors and teachers, has become unrelated to the teaching of the Scriptures, both Old Testament and New.
The resulting confusion has rendered impossible any accurate interpretation of the bulk of the Scriptures, has changed the vision of the Kingdom of God to a flight to Heaven, has erected a wall of separation between the elect Jews and the elect Gentiles, and has destroyed the moral character of the Christians.
The destruction of the moral character of the Christians has occurred because of the idea that God has saved us to go to Heaven, not to live in righteousness, holiness, peace, and joy on the earth as the Scriptures teach. A false vision is being presented. As a result, the nations are staggering about in moral drunkenness and vomit. When there is no moral light in the Christian churches there is no moral light in the world.
By no means is the Christian redemption limited to the forgiveness of our sins. Forgiveness makes it possible for us to come to God so we can be saved from all that is of Satan and brought into all that is of God.
It is time now for the Holy Spirit to enable us to lay hold on the remaining six dimensions of the Christian redemption.
We have stated that forgiveness through the blood of Christ is well known to us and has been emphasized by the Christian ministry. We understand also that God through the Lord Jesus has given us eternal life.
Eternal life is a familiar term among present-day Christians, but our definition, our understanding of eternal life, sometimes is incorrect.
We tend to think of eternal life as a legal state rather than what it is—a kind of life .
Forgiveness is a legal state but eternal life is a kind of life force, as well as being union with God. All spirits have eternal existence, but all spirits do not have eternal spiritual life nor are all spirits in union with the Father and Jesus.
There is biologic life and then there is spiritual life.
All angels have some kind of spiritual life, either of God or of darkness. Animals have biologic life.
Man, unlike any other creature of God, has two kinds of life—biologic and spiritual.
Before an individual receives Christ he is alive as an animal but dead as a child of God. He has biologic life and a spiritual nature but no Divine eternal life. He is alive biologically but dead as far as God’s Life is concerned.
Christ is eternal Life. When we receive Him we are born again of His Life. Now we are alive biologically and spiritually.
When we die physically and are resurrected we no longer shall be "man" in the adamic, flesh and blood sense. We shall be as the angels, our personality being animated spiritually, but unlike the angels in that we shall possess flesh and bones.
The believers of our day must understand that eternal life is not a legally assigned state. Eternal life is the Life of God that comes to us through Christ. It is easy, especially when we are first saved, for material possessions to crowd out the eternal life of our new man and slay what has been begun in us.
It may be true in the wealthy nations of our day that most Christians either have lost their eternal life, or else have such a meager portion of eternal spiritual life they are unable to overcome Satan.
Eternal life is born in us but, like biologic life, it must be fed. Man, being a dual being, cannot live by bread alone. If he neglects prayer, the study of the Scriptures, gathering together with fervent saints, he will die spiritually. The believer who lives solely in the flesh, in biologic life, who neglects the cultivation of the eternal life that has been born in him, will die spiritually.
Of the seven aspects of redemption, the only one handed to us is forgiveness. The remaining six are not assigned legally. They are experienced. They are not legal states that exist in the mind of God. They are changes in our personality.
Such is the case with eternal life. Eternal life is not imputed (ascribed) to us, or preserved in us by grace, or given us when we die, or given us in Heaven, or given us when the Lord comes.
Eternal life is born in us when we receive Christ as our Lord and Savior. From that point forward we must sow to eternal life, nourishing it carefully with the aspects of grace that come to us from Heaven.
If we do not do this, choosing instead to sow to our flesh, trusting God will raise us in that day by his grace, we will experience very great remorse, if not destruction, in the Day of the Lord. It is not doctrine or grace that will raise us in the Day of Christ, it is eternal life that will raise us in the Day of the Lord.
Eternal life is Divine Substance, not endless spiritual existence ascribed to us because of our profession of faith.
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [make alive] your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:11)
The Lord Jesus Christ has come so we may have eternal resurrection life and that we may have it in abundance. He who is wise will devote the prime attention and energies of his life to the task of attaining the fullness of eternal life—the first resurrection from among the dead (Philippians 3:11).
The foolish believer will neglect the eternal life that has been born in him and will occupy himself with eating, sleeping, working, playing, and reproducing. He will insure that his animal existence is sustained in comfort as far as possible but will give only token attention to attaining the fullness of eternal life. He believes, because of erroneous teaching, that eternal existence in Heaven has been ascribed to him because of his belief in Christ.
If an individual has eternal spiritual life he has it wherever he is, whether on earth or in the realm of spirits. Eternal life is a kind of life, not a place where the believer goes when he or she dies. The person who is filled with eternal life is able to overcome Satan, the world, and his own lusts and self-will. He reveals in his personality the righteousness, love, joy, peace, and patience of the Kingdom of God.
For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Galatians 6:8)
The above admonition was addressed to "the churches of Galatia."
To this point we have discussed salvation from guilt to forgiveness, and salvation from spiritual death to eternal life. Now let us proceed to the third aspect of the redemption in Christ.
Whatever can be found in the Scriptures is true for whoever will read the promise, put his or her faith in God, and obey God until the blessing comes. In addition, there are times and seasons when particular areas of redemption, of the Kingdom of God, are being stressed by the Spirit of God.
It is the writer’s point of view that release from spiritual bondage is being emphasized by the Spirit in the present hour.
Spiritual bondage, as we are defining it in our present outline of salvation, consists of unclean spirits that dwell in our flesh along with our soul and spirit or, because of some tendency in us, have access to our flesh and soul. Every true saint of history has walked in faith, keeping his bodily lusts under control by the help of the Holy Spirit. Now the Lord has come to His Church to deliver us from the spirits that have kept us in spiritual bondage.
Notice that evil actually dwells in our flesh as an alien force:
Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. (Romans 7:20)
It is not the flesh itself that is sinful, it is the sin dwelling in the flesh that is sinful.
How did the body of sin enter us? By inheritance, by a sudden shock or wound, and by our deeds.
Many of the spirits and moral weaknesses that plague the sincere Christian have been inherited from his parents, grandparents, and other ancestors. Demons of occult practices are examples of inherited sin.
We of the twentieth century may regard curses as something of past ages. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sometimes the curse of God rests on us because of the practice of sin by our ancestors or by ourselves. Also, there are practitioners of evil, such as witches, who are able to bring people into bondage.
When people are brutalized or injured in some manner, such as by rape or child molestation, it may open the door in the personality for the entrance of guilt, shame, lust, or some other spiritual bondage.
A leading cause of spiritual bondage is our disobedience to the written Word or to our conscience. The Word of God commands us to forgive our enemies. When we do not forgive immediately, gaining victory through the grace of Christ, but harbor unforgiveness and grudges, we open the door to the entrance of evil spirits of resentment, malice, bitterness, and hatred. These enter our flesh and make it impossible for us to forgive.
The sin which should have been rejected takes root in us. The result over a period of time is a tree of evil in us to which the axe must be laid.
Adam and Eve were the first humans to open the door to evil spirits.
Now it is time for the God of Heaven to bring judgment on evil spirits. If we are willing and obedient the judgment will fall on the spirits. They will be cast out and we will be brought into spiritual freedom. It is an eternal judgment on the enemies of God.
The spiritual deliverance experienced by the victorious saints is the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth and the beginning of the redemption of the material creation.
If a Christian does not cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the removal of evil from his personality, then the Divine judgment will fall on that individual. Whether his spirit is saved in the Day of Christ depends on the will of God.
All sin will be cast into the Lake of Fire. If the believer is not willing to be separated from his sin he will be cast into the Lake of Fire whether or not he professes faith in Christ.
All sinning spirits will be cast into the Lake of Fire. No sinning spirit will be permitted to enter through the gates into the holy city, the new Jerusalem. The Lake of Fire has authority over sinning spirits.
How will God deliver His elect, and then the creation, from the bondage of unclean spirits?
Christian teachers have made various assumptions concerning the manner in which God delivers the believer from evil spirits. There are two major assumptions: (1) when our sins are forgiven and Christ is born in us the evil spirits flee from our personality; and (2) our deliverance will occur by some means after we die and pass into the spirit realm or when we are caught up to meet the Lord in the air.
There are two problems with the first assumption. First, the writings of the New Testament do not suggest that the believer no longer has a problem with sin, but exhort the Christian to guard himself constantly against temptation. When he does sin he is to confess his sin. Many passages from Paul, and the other Apostles as well, counsel the Christian concerning the danger of lapsing into sin.
Second, the behavior of Christian people reveals the presence of every type of evil spirit: adultery, fornication, the lust of the eyes, child molestation, outbursts of anger, spite, malice, bitterness, unforgiveness, hatred, jealousy, envy, several kinds of occult practices, drunkenness, addiction to drugs, the love of pleasure more than the love of God, pride, haughtiness, arrogance, the spirit of division, criticism, gossip, gluttony, disobedience, rebellion, spiritual ambition, murder, impatience, cowardice, unbelief, lying, stealing, covetousness, idolatry, avarice, to name a few. This is what we find in the churches of the Lord Jesus Christ.
To say such spirits are not present in the Christian churches is to ignore reality. These behaviors are present. They are practiced. The Christians are bound with such unclean spirits even though they have faith in the Lord Jesus, perhaps speak in tongues and prophesy, and are attempting to serve God.
The second assumption, that we are released from moral bondages after we die may be true. But what passage of Scripture suggests we are delivered from moral bondages on the basis of physical death? After all, physical death is the last enemy to be destroyed. If physical death is our enemy, how has it then become our redeemer?
What passage proclaims we are released from moral bondages when we rise to meet the Lord in the air?
Moral bondages originate in the spirit realm, not in the flesh of man. Lust is an evil spirit. The body of man contains biologic urges, but the lust that fills the earth today is not coming from man’s biologic urges just as gluttony is not his normal appetite for food.
The nature of these bondages is spiritual. They can be cast out of our flesh.
On what basis, then, do we suppose our entrance into the spirit realm delivers us from evil that is spiritual in nature?
There only is one Redeemer and one Judge. His name is Christ.
If we are to be delivered from evil spirits it must be at the hands of the Lord Jesus. There is no other redeemer.
The Lord Jesus is able to judge the evil in us and to deliver us. The time has come for such judgment to begin, and it is beginning in the house of God:
Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. (I Peter 4:5,6)
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? (I Peter 4:17)
It is the writer’s point of view that Christ began His work of judgment immediately after His ascension into Heaven, that it has continued since that time, and that it now is increasing greatly in intensity in preparation for the marriage of the Lamb. The Bride is making herself ready by washing the robes of her moral conduct in the blood of the Lamb.
The Prophets of Israel revealed that the Lord will judge His people:
When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. (Isaiah 4:4)
Who is it who has filthy garments? It is the daughters of Zion. What city is it that is guilty of bloodshed? It is Jerusalem, the city of God.
How does the Lord intend to cleanse the daughters of Zion and the city of Jerusalem? By the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning.
This means that on the Church of the end-time there will fall the Spirit of judgment and of burning from God. God will cleanse His Church by judgment and burning.
And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. (Malachi 3:3)
When will such cleansing take place? Probably not after Jesus returns with His Bride in glory but prior to His visible appearing.
The coming of the Lord to purify His royal priesthood will take place before He returns in glory so His Bride may be cleansed and prepared to be revealed together with Him in the sight of the nations of the earth. This is the meaning of Hebrews 9:28: "to them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation."
The salvation to come in the last days includes the release of the church from spiritual bondage.
John the Baptist spoke of the coming of the Lord to judge His people:
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is more powerful than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. (Matthew 3:11,12)
"He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire."
The fourth chapter of I Peter speaks of the "fiery trial" that is to test the believers. Each saint must be baptized with the fire of God, with the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning. All that is of Satan must be burned out of us by judgment.
Many of the sufferings we endure are for the purpose of sanctifying us:
Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; (I Peter 4:1)
Experienced Christians of our day are discovering that the Lord is causing the evil in their flesh to be exposed. Behaviors that for many years have been held down by prayer and self-control seem to be raising their heads.
Why is this? It is because the spirit of judgment and burning, the baptism of fire, is causing sin and rebellion to be revealed. God is judging the evil in us. He is shaking us so everything that is not of Him will be removed.
What do we do when we find there is evil in us? We confess it. We call it by name. We repent of it. We ask God to forgive us and cleanse us (I John 1:9).
Sometimes it is sufficient for us to confess our sins to God. On other occasions it is helpful to confess our sins to our wife, or husband, or to another Christian of the same sex as ourselves who is mature enough to help us without stumbling himself and without gossiping.
We can help one another by casting out the devil. Every Christian is authorized to cast out devils. Casting out devils is the first sign to follow the believer.
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; (Mark 16:17)
Let us say a brother or sister is bound by violent outbursts of anger, or the lust of the eyes, or some aspect of the occult. Let him name the spirit troubling him, or describe the behavior as accurately as he can. Then let one or two Christians of the same sex as himself or herself name the spirits causing the problem and cast them out in the name of the Lord Jesus.
We stand in the cross of Christ. We do not pray in our own name or by our own authority. We pray in Jesus’ name and by His authority. We command the devils to leave our brother or sister. They indeed shall leave him or her.
Where do we send the demons? We cast them away from us and away from our families. We remove them from the people who are of concern to us.
To the writer’s knowledge, the demons have not as yet been assigned to the bottomless pit. In fact, it appears the demons are entering the earth in increasing numbers, especially coming into the wealthy nations that are giving themselves over to immorality.
If we cast out the demons from an individual, it is that person’s responsibility to live henceforth unto the Lord Jesus so the demons do not return.
We are in a fierce battle. We are in an hour when the spiritual atmosphere is becoming thick with the demons. At the same time the Lord Jesus is issuing authority to us so we can bind the demons and cast them out.
Do not be afraid. Do not become introspective or filled with gloom. Do not look for devils, pay attention to them, or otherwise make them the focus of your salvation.
Keep your eyes steadily on the Lord Jesus. You are a soldier of Christ. March forward in victory in His name without condemning yourself.
When the Spirit of God reveals a bondage in your personality, confess it to God or to a fellow saint. God will forgive and cleanse you (I John 1:7-9). The prayers of another Christian will help greatly—especially at first as you are learning to walk in the open confession of sins.
Put to death through the Holy Spirit the deeds of your flesh. Judge the spirits. Tell them they are condemned to the Lake of Fire, that they do not belong in the Body of Christ.
Disown the demons. Tell them they are not welcome, that you reject and repudiate them totally. Make no exception. Have no mercy on any devil, great or small, or on a familiar spirit (a spirit you have grown accustomed to conversing with). Cast them all out. Walk in spiritual holiness before the Lord. This is the path to spiritual freedom.
As we have stated, the churches of Christ are filled with unclean spirits of every kind. Now it is time to bring the judgment of Christ on these unclean spirits. Name them as you are able. Bring the fire of Christ on them. If you do not, they will destroy you. God will accept none of them. They all are destined for the Lake of Fire.
A major part of the salvation reserved for the last days is the separation of the Lord’s elect from every evil spirit. This separation will occur first in the victorious saints, and then through the victorious saints will spread to the remainder of the elect and finally to the nations of saved peoples of the earth.
The Lord’s people are as Lazarus. They have been called forth from the tomb but they are bound with graveclothes. Now it is time for the removal of the graveclothes. Judgment has come to the house of God.
We have referred to salvation from guilt to forgiveness, salvation from spiritual death to eternal life, and salvation from spiritual bondage to spiritual freedom. The fourth aspect of salvation is salvation from disobedience to obedience.
There are numerous admonitions to righteous and holy living contained in both the Old and New Testaments. We are to practice them. When we find it difficult to obey them we are to come boldly before the throne of grace and obtain the wisdom and strength we need in order to do what God has said.
Numerous Christian people do not take the Lord’s Word seriously. They wave their Bibles and cry out that it is the infallible Word of God! But for some reason they do not read these "infallible" Scriptures with the intention of doing what they say. Perhaps it is because there are teachers who claim it is not necessary for us to do what the Scriptures command because we are saved by grace. There are other Christian teachers who maintain it is impossible for us to obey the Word and that Jesus will do it all for us.
The major reason for the prevailing disobedience may be that people living on the earth are too occupied with their security, pleasures, and self-glorification to make the effort to find what God has commanded and to do it.
The Kingdom of God is the doing of God’s will in the earth as it is done in Heaven above.
The Lord Jesus spoke of our being His disciple, of taking up our cross and following Him. It appears there are few believers who actually do this. There are few disciples of Jesus in the earth as far as one can tell.
We are not referring now to the bondages put on us by evil spirits. We described those previously. What we are discussing is the unwillingness of Christian people to obey the Lord’s Word.
For example, the Lord commanded us through the Apostle Paul to present our body as a whole burnt offering of consecration to God. Jesus commanded us to lay down our life for the Gospel’s sake. Are we obeying God or not? There is no middle ground.
Either we are obeying God or we are disobeying God.
God saves us from guilt to forgiveness by the atoning blood of Christ.
God saves us from spiritual death to eternal life by putting His Spirit in us and by causing His Son to be formed in us.
God saves us from spiritual bondage to spiritual freedom by removing the unclean spirits from us.
God saves us from disobedience to obedience by leading us through paths of suffering. We learn obedience through the things we suffer at the hands of God.
The rulers of the Kingdom (under Jesus) are selected by election and formed by suffering. All who are called to rule in the Kingdom are brought through much suffering so their obedience to the Father may be perfected. It is our destiny to suffer.
That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. (I Thessalonians 3:3)
The Kingdom of God includes numerous levels of authority and responsibility. Jesus is King of the kings of the Kingdom, Lord of the lords of the Kingdom. The degree to which we must learn obedience depends on the level of authority and responsibility to which we have been called.
The mother of James and John asked of Jesus that her two sons be placed at a high level in the Kingdom of God. Jesus immediately responded with the two elements that bear on rulership in the Kingdom of God: suffering and election.
And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father. (Matthew 20:23)
Suffering develops obedience in us if we respond correctly to the suffering. The sufferings of the cross are imprisonments of various kinds. Sometimes there is physical suffering. On other occasions we are required to follow God without understanding or enjoying what He is doing.
Often the fulfillment of our most intense desires is withheld from us, or it may happen that we are obligated or forced to remain in situations that are distasteful to us. To get out of God’s prison we have to break God’s laws.
God’s rulers, like Joseph, are not to complain while in their prison. Neither are they to scheme constantly, attempting to devise ways to break out of the prison in which they have been placed. We always are to give thanks to God and to let our desires be known to Him. If we are faithful unto death in our prison we will be given the crown of life.
The higher our calling the lower we must be brought.
The obedience of God’s rulers must be established beyond all question. They must be prepared to offer their souls to the Father while not understanding the purpose or the duration of their suffering.
It is one matter to profess obedience to God with our mouth. It is another matter to have obedience beaten so deeply into our personality it is instinctive. Our obedience to the Father must be thorough, consistent, immediate. Nothing short of stern, total, instant obedience is accepted from the future rulers of the Kingdom.
Many believers are rebellious. They have no intention of doing what God desires unless they understand the reason for it and it does not cause too much pain on their part. The rulers of the Kingdom obey God in every detail regardless of what it costs them personally.
The victorious saints, having learned obedience through much suffering and frustration, will govern the nations of saved peoples of the earth. The Apostles of the Lamb will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. The victorious saints will inherit all things.
Every person who is brought into the new heaven and earth reign of Christ will be obedient to God. There are those who govern and those who are governed, but all must obey God implicitly. The Kingdom of God is the doing of God’s will in the earth as it is in Heaven.
Divine grace never interferes with Divine government. Divine government proceeds inexorably. Grace makes it possible for us to survive and to learn to obey God. Grace never is an alternative to obedience. The greatest heresy of all time is the present Christian teaching of grace, for it implies we can be accepted of God apart from obedience to Him. We can continue disobeying God but God will continue justifying us in Christ.
So far we have mentioned salvation from guilt to forgiveness, salvation from spiritual death to eternal life, salvation from spiritual bondage to spiritual freedom, and salvation from disobedience to obedience.
Salvation from disobedience to obedience is especially important with respect to the rulers of the Kingdom of God. They undergo much suffering in order that obedience may be perfected in them. Under Christ they will govern the works of God’s hands.
In addition to forgiveness, eternal life, spiritual freedom, and obedience, is the issue of God’s image. God has created man in God’s image. Man is to be in the image of God, in the image of Christ who is the image of God.
An individual is not in the image of God until all that is found in the individual is found in God.
When considering God’s image we must include at least seven elements: being, character, substance, function, organization of parts, abilities, and appearance.
Let us think for a moment about each of these seven aspects.
God’s Being includes spirit, soul, and body.
Satan is a fallen cherub consisting only of a spirit, as far as we know.
God’s Character is what God is and God does. God is love and acts in love. God is joy and acts in joy. God is peace and acts in peace. God is patience and demonstrates patience. God is gentleness and acts gently. God is goodness and demonstrates goodness in His behavior.
God is meekness and shows forth meekness. God is self-control and acts temperately. God is courage and acts bravely. God is righteousness and acts lawfully. God is holy and acts in purity. God is the King and rules over all. God is compassion and acts compassionately.
Satan is hatred and acts in hate. Satan is wretchedness and acts in wretchedness. Satan is unrest, torment, and anxiety. Satan is lust, violence, cruelty, abomination, treachery, implacability, abandonment, perversity, and lawlessness. This is what Satan is and how he behaves.
God’s Substance is Divine, incorruptible eternal Life.
Satan’s substance is putrefaction and death.
God sees, hears, speaks, thinks, feels, touches, smells, tastes, and functions in every other manner to which humans are accustomed.
All of Satan’s functions and senses are perverted and inflamed and result in perversion and torment in those in whom Satan dwells.
All of the "parts" of God, such as His eyes, hands, feet, face, are perfectly organized and operate in harmony and peace.
The parts of Satan are in disorder producing disease and abnormalities in those in whom Satan dwells.
God has unnumbered abilities . God creates. In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom, knowledge, science, music, art, architecture, technologies, poetry, and agriculture.
Satan operates with the limited authority and power allocated to him by Christ, corrupting and perverting the talents of those whom he indwells and guides.
The appearance of God is that of radiant, fiery Man (Ezekiel 1:26-28)
The appearance of Satan is so hideous that to see him as he is would be the most devastating of all experiences.
Man is born in sin with a bent toward lawlessness. Man has the potential for continuing in sin and lawlessness until he is in Satan’s image, or for following Christ until he is in the image of the God of Heaven.
How are we delivered from Satan’s image and brought into Christ’s image in each of the seven aspects?
By being born again
By being nourished by the Life of Christ
By beholding the Glory of the Lord
By education and training.
By deliverance. The seven aspects of God’s image we have just mentioned have been corrupted by the world, by the sin that dwells in our flesh, and by our self-will, self-seeking, and self-centeredness. In particular, our character is affected by Satan and by our rebellious nature.
We are delivered from the world as we follow the Lord through water baptism, and then as we present our body a living sacrifice to God, not being changed into the image of the world but being transformed by the renewing of our mind in Christ.
The sin that dwells in us is cast out as we confess our sins, as we repent, as we receive forgiveness and cleansing from the Lord, as we resist the devil, as through the Spirit we put to death the deeds of our body, as we put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for our flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof.
The self-seeking, self-will, and self-centeredness that corrupt our soul are removed from us as we patiently carry the cross of affliction and self-denial. We must deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus. Only in this manner can we be delivered from self-will, from rebellion against the Father.
By being born again. In order to be changed from Satan’s image to Christ’s image we must be born again of the Spirit of the Lord. Christ must be born in us. The incorruptible Divine Seed must be conceived in us.
Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. The human soul does not enter the Kingdom of God. It is the new man of the heart, the Divine Seed, the life-giving Spirit, that enters the Kingdom and is the Kingdom.
The human soul serves as ground in which the Divine Life is planted and germinates. A new type of creature comes forth. In this manner our being, our character, our substance, are formed in the image of God.
By being nourished by the Life of Christ. After we have been born again we must work with God in nourishing our new Divine Life. We must pray, meditate in the Scriptures, and gather together with fervent saints on a regular basis if possible.
We must find our talent and use it in the Kingdom of God. We must wait on the Lord day and night. As we do, the Lord Jesus Christ nourishes our new inner Life with His body and blood, with the "hidden manna." Christ is formed in us, causing us to become a new creation, a new kind of creature, a life-giving spirit, a creature in God’s image.
By beholding the Glory of the Lord. We must witness the Glory of the Lord on a continuing basis.
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. (II Corinthians 3:18)
God has given us freely of the Divine Virtue that the Lord Jesus is. We have been entrusted with the body and blood of the Lord, the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God (both written by the Prophets and Apostles and also as "manna" given us through the Spirit). The Life of Christ is developed in us through the travail of the ministries and gifts of the Body of Christ.
All these Divine impartations and enablements work together to change us into that image of Christ that continually is presented to us as we seek the Lord. Sometimes we "see" the Lord during fervent, prolonged prayer; sometimes as we meditate in the Scriptures.
Often we behold the Lord through the ministries and gifts given by the Holy Spirit to a fellow saint, or through the personality and behavior of another Christian. It may happen that we are blessed with a dream or vision. Often the Lord uses a book or other form of communication to help us.
We continue "seeing" Christ, and as we do we are changed by the Spirit of the Lord into the image of God. Our mind is renewed. Divine Substance is formed in us. The Life of the Spirit guides our behavior, and the fruit of the Spirit begins to appear in our motives, our speech, our deeds, our meditations and imaginations.
We must be delivered from sin and self-will. We must be born again, and that new life must be nourished continually. We must be transformed continually by beholding the Glory of the Lord as He brings His Glory to us.
When we keep our eyes fixed on the Lord Jesus we begin to notice that the whole earth is filled with His Glory.
By education and training. In addition to the previously mentioned means of bringing us into His image, God educates and trains us. He transforms us by the renewing of our mind.
God educates and trains us through the Scriptures, both Old and New Testament, through the ministries of the Body of Christ, through the direct revelation of His Spirit, including impressions, dreams, and visions, and also by the experiences through which He brings us.
Now let us resume the thought of bringing us into God's image.
The Holy Spirit is the Master Teacher. We learn of the Person, the Word, and the eternal purpose of the Lord God as we allow the Lord to teach us. Many of the Lord’s people are slow to learn or even unwilling to learn.
Let us pause to review the outline of what we are discussing.
There are seven aspects of the Christian salvation:
Salvation from guilt to forgiveness.
Salvation from spiritual death to eternal life.
Salvation from spiritual bondage to spiritual freedom.
Salvation from disobedience to obedience.
Salvation from Satan’s image to Christ’s image.
Salvation from emptiness to fullness.
Salvation from bodily corruption to bodily incorruption.
We have been elaborating the fifth aspect—salvation from Satan’s image to Christ’s image.
There are seven elements of God’s image:
Organization of parts.
There are five means of bringing us into God’s image:
By being born again.
By being nourished by the Life of Christ.
By beholding the Glory of the Lord.
By education and training.
We have mentioned four methods of educating and training us in God’s image:
The ministries of the Body.
The direct revelation of the Spirit.
The experiences through which the Spirit brings us.
God is holy and righteous. Those who are in God’s image are holy and righteous.
The image of God reveals courage and dominance (the lion), the capacity and willingness for work and service (the ox), the wild, fierce, independent liberty of the Lord (the eagle), and the "human" traits of intelligence, judgment, jealousy, friendliness, playfulness, the desire to create, humor, the love of beauty, compassion, the desire for union, and a human form (the man).
Changing our image goes hand in hand with deliverance. As we are delivered from spiritual bondage our new image is able to manifest itself. As Christ is formed in us we are brought into increasingly greater deliverance. Deliverance and image. Image and deliverance. Deliverance and image, until we stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
The process of image change of image has not been completed until every point in us corresponds to a point in God. We are to be like our Father in every way although not nearly as great as He. This is pleasing to Him who has called us to be His sons, to be the brothers of the elder Son, Christ.
If we are set free from spiritual bondage, and then do not press forward into the fullness of the image of Christ, we are a spiritual vacuum. Soon the unclean spirits that have been driven from us, not having found rest elsewhere, will return to us and enter us. Our last state will be worse than the first.
God does not forgive us, cause incorruptible eternal life to be born in us, deliver us from spiritual bondages, nourish us with the body and blood of His Son, reveal His Glory to us and in us, and carefully educate and train us in His Person, Word, and eternal purpose so we may go about our business as usual, living to ourselves as it pleases us. Rather, God redeems us so we may enter our proper role in His Kingdom and do His will.
How many people wish to be "saved" so they can follow their desires without hindrance from God or anyone else? These are wandering stars. They are clouds without water. The eternal darkness is their portion because they are not willing to give themselves to God’s plan for them.
They are a law to themselves, always seeking to build their own kingdom. They do not want God to interfere with their plans, and God will not interfere if this is what they truly desire.
He will invite them into His will and purposes. But upon their refusal God will give them over to their own desires to wander about in darkness by themselves, each being his own sole companion. They have sought to be separate from God and their prayer will be answered.
Satan’s image has been rejected. It will not be permitted to exist among the inhabitants of the new world. Satan and all who bear his image will be shut away from saved society by the power of God. It is only as we are redeemed from Satan’s image and transformed into Christ’s image that we are permitted to have fellowship with Christ and with the saints and holy angels of the new Jerusalem.
Thus far we have spoken of forgiveness, eternal life, spiritual freedom, obedience, and God’s image. The next aspect of salvation has to do with the coming of the Persons of God and Christ through the Spirit to dwell in us.
It is one matter to have our personality transformed into the image of God. It is another matter to have the Father and the Son through the Spirit enter us and make Their abode with us. The one is a change in what we are. The other is the coming of two distinct Persons, the Father and the Son, into the throne room of our personality, there to abide with us for eternity.
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)
There is an emptiness in every man, woman, boy, and girl born on the earth. There is a place in every human being for God’s use alone. No person can be satisfied until the Father and the Son have settled down to rest in him.
The Kingdom of God is in us. It is an inner kingdom although it does have an outward manifestation. It is a kingdom of the heart. God through Christ rules from within us. He governs us, and through us those whom we govern. He rules and blesses from within us.
In the preliminary stages of the development of the Kingdom of God there are many kinds of graces that are of benefit to us. Redemptive acts take place that are external to us. The cross of Calvary is external to us. The resurrection and ascension of Jesus are external to us. The pouring out of the Spirit from Heaven is external to us.
All these circumstances and events are designed to bring about and reveal the true Kingdom: God in Christ in the saints—and finally in every saved person.
God is a Spirit. He finds rest in the hearts of His obedient children.
The feast of Tabernacles, the seventh of the feasts of the Lord, portrays God and Christ entering us. Here is the climax of the work of redemption.
We spend our life seeking to satisfy the inner longing that we have. Sometimes our immediate object is money, or prestige, or material possessions. If we just could own this or that!
The lover believes if he can gain the love of some person, or possess him or her, he will be happy. The curse on the woman was that her desire would be for her husband instead of for God. Until the curse is lifted the woman never can be satisfied. She continually will be seeking from her husband what only the Lord can give.
No attainment, no thing, no relationship, no accomplishment can bring lasting peace and joy to the human personality. The human personality has a throne room in itself that is to be occupied only by God and His Christ.
When God and Christ enter the inner room, finding a welcome there, all attainments, things, relationships, and accomplishments fall into their proper place. Then all is righteousness, holiness, obedience, love, joy, and peace in the Holy Spirit of God.
It is not good for any human being to be alone. Human marriage is but a foreshadowing of the one true marriage—the marriage of God and His creature.
God will rule from within all saved persons: in some to a hundredfold extent; in some to a sixtyfold extent; and in others to a thirtyfold extent. There will be greater and lesser in the Kingdom. Christ will abide in some measure in every person who is saved to life on the new earth.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (I Corinthians 15:53)
Two bodies are involved in the resurrection from the dead. The first body is the one we have now. It will be made alive by the Holy Spirit who is dwelling in us.
The second body is a house formed from the substance of eternal life. The "weight" of the house of glory depends on the degree to which we have borne in our body the suffering of Christ (II Corinthians 4:17).
The spirits of those who attain the first resurrection, the resurrection that will take place when Christ appears in the clouds of glory, will enter their "sleeping" bodies and raise them from the grave. If they are physically alive at the time of the Lord’s coming they will be changed into immortality. Then they will ascend to meet Jesus in the air.
At some point, whether before or after their mortal body is made alive (probably before), they will be clothed with their house from Heaven.
Those who are raised at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, in the second resurrection, will stand before Christ and be judged according to their works. Those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will be brought forward to eternal life in the new earth. Those whose names are not found written in the Book of Life will be cast into the Lake of Fire.
It is obvious, if one considers the first six aspects of salvation, that the kind of body we receive and when we receive it depend on the progress we have made in the Divine redemption.
We are not resurrected by grace, or by "faith," except as faith is defined as following God in stern obedience. The faith that redeems us has little to do with our agreement with doctrine. True faith is our obedience to what God has revealed to us.
The nature of our resurrection depends directly on what has taken place previously in our personality. The body we are given will reflect what we have become in Christ. This is so unlike today where our physical body is a poor indication of what we are. The ugliest, most corrupt person may be housed in a magnificent body.
It will not be so in the Kingdom. The body we are given will reflect what we are. We are "revealed" before the Judgment Seat of Christ and then we are rewarded according to our works. How just and righteous God is!
Now that we have considered the seven aspects of salvation, let us speak of how, where, when, to whom, and to what degree each of the seven is issued.
Salvation from guilt to forgiveness is given us on the basis of the shed blood of our sin-offering—Christ. When we accept the atonement made by Him our sins are laid on Him and we bear the guilt of them no longer. This takes place wherever and whenever the Gospel is preached to us.
Salvation from spiritual death to eternal life comes to us as we receive Christ. Jesus is eternal Life and the only eternal Life. As we enter to a greater extent into Him, and He enters to a greater extent into us, we grow in eternal life.
It is the writer’s opinion that we will continue to grow in eternal life after we die. Jesus said, "Whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die." It seems likely that we do not cease to live and grow in Jesus after we die physically. We continue growing with the Life that comes from the Head. We continue learning, teaching, serving, fellowshiping, ministering, and doing all else that pertains to eternal life.
"Whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die" . Do we truly believe this?
The Lord’s elect vary greatly in the amount of eternal life they possess. This will continue to be true in the ages to come. There shall be trees of life and crowns of life.
Salvation from spiritual bondage to spiritual freedom is brought about by the removal of unclean spirits from us. The removal is accomplished through the authority of the blood of the cross and the power of the Spirit of God. Often we are brought into fiery sufferings that aid in breaking our spiritual bondages.
Moral bondages are spiritual in origin. There is no Scripture that implies we are released from moral bondages on the basis of physical death. Moral bondages must be cast out by the Lord, they do not leave us because we die physically.
The Lord brings the individual to the time and place of judgment. The believer must confess and repent of his bondages, as the Spirit directs. All persons in the new earth will be free of demonic bondages. Satan and his workers will be confined to the Lake of Fire. They will not be permitted to emerge and influence the citizens of the new world.
Salvation from disobedience to obedience occurs as we choose to follow the Lord. It is the writer’s opinion that growth in obedience to the degree required of the eternal rulers can be attained only in the present world. We base our opinion on the fact that Jesus learned obedience by the things He suffered in the world.
The present world is peculiarly suited to the development of rulers because it is so difficult to gain dominion here. The concept appears to be that if we can overcome what comes against us here, we then will be fit to rule in the ages to come when the same difficulties are not present.
The present world is the proving ground for rulers. The gems that gleam in the foundations of the wall of the new Jerusalem are formed in the heat and pressure of life on earth.
Salvation from Satan’s image to Christ’s image begins in the world but will continue into eternity, we believe. How long will it take for us to come into the complete image of our Father? It seems likely we will be growing into the image of God forever. Christ is far greater than any impoverished idea we hold at this time. The Father of Christ is greater yet. We are the merest specks of dust by comparison.
The process of transformation begins now by the Divine enablements and virtues we have described previously. It may be true that the degree of image attained will continue to vary from person to person as it does today.
As children in a human family bear the family resemblance but may vary greatly in personality, abilities, and calling, so it is true that God’s children will bear the family resemblance but will vary greatly in personality, abilities, and calling.
Salvation from emptiness to fullness takes place as the Father and the Son through the Spirit come to us and make us Their eternal dwelling place, Their home, Their temple, Their chariot. As we keep the Word of Christ, Christ is formed in us. As Christ is formed in us, God and Christ come to dwell in the holy habitation that has been formed in us.
God judges the living and the dead. When the hour of judgment came it began in the house of God: not just the house of God on the earth but the house of God in Heaven as well as on the earth.
As the seasons arrive for the spiritual fulfillment of the several feasts of the Lord (Leviticus 23:4) the elect are brought forward in the plan of redemption. We all are being brought forward together and will come to perfection together—old-covenant and new-covenant saints.
Those who have died in Christ continue to live as witnesses and, we believe, continue to profit because of the revelation of Christ coming forth through the apostles and prophets on the earth.
God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, (Hebrews 11:40-12:1)
We who are alive today have profited from the faithfulness of those who have gone before us. We think that those who have gone before us are now profiting from our faithfulness. The whole Body of Christ is built by that which every part supplies.
All of the elect have come to Mount Zion, whether they are living before Christ in the Spirit or are spending their appointed years in the crucible of the earth.
But ye are come unto mount Sion, . . . . (Hebrews 12:22)
It is not that we shall come to Mount Zion in the future; we are there now in spiritual reality. We have come to Mount Zion.
It is the season now for the spiritual fulfillments of the memorial of blowing of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:24-43). The personal spiritual fulfillments of the last three feasts are taking place in all the members of the Body of Christ in preparation for the coming of the Lord.
When Jesus appears, the royal priesthood will appear with Him, not just those who are in Heaven or those who are on the earth, but all the priesthood. The royal priesthood throughout the ages, as is the case today, have been a godly remnant. Israel may be as the sand of the sea but the true witnesses of God have been small in number.
Every member of the Body of Christ must receive the Divine revelation, and the authority, power, and virtue, as they proceed from God through Christ. The whole Body is coming to maturity as one Wife of the Lamb.
As additional members of the elect are born on the earth they are brought forward to maturity so the Body may be ready for the appearing of Christ to the nations of the earth.
Christ is entering the members of His Body in the present hour, preparing each of us for the full indwelling of God. He is casting out what does not belong in the eternal Temple of God, in the Wife of the Lamb.
The entering of God into us will continue to increase until the fullness is revealed at the time of the appearing of Christ in the clouds of glory. We are growing together until the fullness has been attained to and received.
Salvation From bodily corruption to bodily incorruption will occur when the seventh trumpet sounds. The dead in Christ, the saints who are living before God in the spirit realm, will be raised from bodily corruption and put on bodily incorruption.
Then the living in Christ, the saints on the earth at that time, will be changed from bodily corruption to bodily incorruption.
But only the victorious saints will put on bodily incorruption when the Lord Jesus returns. The remainder of dead mankind will not have an opportunity to put on bodily incorruption until the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age (Revelation 20:4-6).
The rewards of rulership go to the victorious saints. The Scripture is clear on this point.
Several times in the New Testament the concept of rewards is presented. One of the principal rewards we shall receive is the kind of heavenly body that clothes our resurrected mortal frame. There can be little doubt that each heavenly body will reflect the spiritual maturity of the person who receives it (I Corinthians 15:41,42).
The body of the individual on the earth can be a deceiving picture of his true personality. It will not be so after the resurrection from the dead. Then, every person will receive the body that suits his personality. His true nature will be revealed.
Those who turn many to righteousness will shine as the stars. What we truly are will be brought into the open and seen by men and angels for the eternity of eternities.
Each person will be judged according to the gifts given to him or her. Those who use their talents well will be given more Divine virtue and enablement. Those who do not use their talents well will lose what they have been given and will face Divine wrath.
There is a danger in the current misunderstanding of the role of forgiveness in the Divine redemption. The prevailing belief is that the bulk of salvation is denied us while we are living in the world.
It is assumed that all that is available to us now is forgiveness, accompanied by some eternal life and freedom. The remainder of redemption, the fullness of eternal life, deliverance from spiritual bondage, obedience to God, and conversion to the image of Christ, are assumed to be gifts that will be given us after we die or at some other vaguely outlined time in the future.
The concept is, we have forgiveness now and the rest will come later.
It indeed is true that we have been sealed by the Holy Spirit to a future day of redemption. But there is no passage of Scripture that implies that the day of redemption will take place in Heaven or as we rise to meet the Lord in the air.
It is our belief that the day of redemption will take place in the earth and that some aspects of it have begun already.
It does not require a great deal of insight in order to understand the danger of waiting to die to go to Heaven in order to be redeemed, if the Holy Spirit has begun the process now. It reminds one of the parable of the ten virgins.
The transformation of our personality takes place, not on the basis of where we are located but on the basis of seasons of Divine working as the Holy Spirit deals with us personally. It is possible for us to miss the plan of redemption when it appears in its season if we are waiting to receive redemption in Heaven.
If we are looking to physical death to make us ardent followers and companions of the Lord Jesus we are acting apart from any basis in Scripture or reason.
Now is the day of salvation. It is now that the Lord Jesus is coming to His Church and cleansing the members of His Body from sin. Seasons of refreshing and restoration are proceeding from the Presence of the Lord.
Soon the blood of sinners will be flowing like water. Judgment is coming because the nations of the world have refused to obey the moral laws of God. They are not recognizing the kingship of the Lord Jesus. They are not doing the things He has commanded. God is not pleased with the disobedience of the nations and will demonstrate His wrath.
In the day of the Lord’s fierce anger we must be able to walk in two worlds at the same time. We must have our eyes open on the earth but especially in Heaven. We must be assured constantly that our loved ones are safe in the arms of Jesus.
We must live and move and have our being in Heaven at the right hand of God if we expect to be of any use to mankind during the days of judgment that are ahead.
Given the definition of salvation as the spiritual and bodily transformation of the believer, it is easy to discern the folly of claiming that when a person is saved he always is saved, that he cannot be lost.
What meaning does such a belief have in light of the fact that salvation is a transformation of what we are in personality and behavior? Are we saying when we are forgiven and have received a portion of eternal life as a pledge we will enter the glory of the kingdom without having been transformed in personality? It is our transformation that is the Kingdom!
Is it only the Gentiles who will experience spiritual and bodily transformation? How about Abraham and Elijah? Are they doomed to miss the plan of redemption by being a Jewish kingdom (as is commonly taught), or are they part of a "Gentile church"? Can you see how absurd the doctrine of the "rapture" into Heaven of a "Gentile church" is, given the true nature of salvation?
Salvation began for Abraham and Elijah when Christ sprinkled His blood upon and before the Most Holy Place in Heaven in the Presence of the Father. You and I received forgiveness when the Holy Spirit made us aware of that same sprinkling and we received the atonement by faith.
The God of Heaven is moving forward in His eternal plan to create for Himself a living temple. The work of judgment has been continuing since the first century, for Peter states: "the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God."
From the present hour forward the glory and revelation will increase until the house of God comes to perfection as one whole, and then is filled to fullness with the Glory of the Lord.
At the sounding of the seventh trumpet all God’s witnesses will stand on their feet, beginning with the righteous Abel (Revelation 11:11). All the victorious saints will come together: Abraham, Moses, David, Paul, Peter, and you and I if we have cooperated with the Holy Spirit in the work of redemption. We all shall come to perfection together.
Our feet are on the pathway that leads to the fullness of the Presence of the Father. We have only just begun the process of deliverance from all that is of Satan to union with all that is of God.
Forgiveness, life, liberty, obedience, Christ’s image, the fullness of God—all dwelling in a body like that of the glorified body of the Lord Jesus: this is the fullness of salvation, the transformation of what we are in personality and in behavior.
Then there lies before us an eternity of fellowship with God, the saints, and the holy angels. We shall increase continually in fruitfulness, dominion, and growth in God’s image, in an environment that will cause the first Paradise to appear threadbare by comparison. The riches of the Father will be ours through Christ. The nations of saved peoples of the earth will be our inheritance.
All we have known and loved on the earth will be there, waiting for the new life to begin. All that is worthy that we have given up for the sake of the Gospel will be handed to us, now greatly magnified in glory and desirability.
A few more weary steps. An abiding for a little while longer in our prison of weakness, frustration, and confusion. Then, glory upon glory with all those who likewise have borne their cross, who have waited patiently for the promises made to them.
Christ is the Alpha. He also is the Omega. He is the Author and the Finisher. What He began so gloriously on the cross He will bring to completion and perfection—not one detail being overlooked.
He is faithful who has promised. Let us take up our cross and follow after Him.
The land of promise, Canaan, the inheritance, the goal of our salvation, has an internal dimension and an external dimension. The internal dimension is the change in the man. The external dimension is the change in the man’s environment.
Our present writing has discussed the change in the man, the internal "Canaan."
The external dimension consists of all the inheritance of Christ (for we are coheirs with Him) in a wonderful Paradise of glory. In particular, we inherit the earth, the nations of the earth, the new Jerusalem, and the new heaven and new earth God will create in the future.
Of all the areas of the current Christian misunderstanding of redemption, the most desperately in need of clarification concerns the fact that the internal inheritance must be attained before the external inheritance can be given to us.
It is useless to bring an unredeemed person into a redeemed environment. To bring an unchanged Adam back into Paradise is to invite a repeat of the original disaster.
Current Christian teaching implies that the Christian salvation, at least in the present life, is ninety-nine percent forgiveness. However, to forgive an individual and then not to transform him is to leave him unprepared for the new world of righteousness. Whether or not God has forgiven him, he still cannot be brought into a redeemed environment. To do so, as we have stated, is to invite disaster.
The assumption of Christian doctrine is that the necessary transformation of the believer takes place after he dies, or when the Lord comes, or some combination of these two.
But except for the transformation of the body, there is no scriptural basis for the concept that God waits until we die to transform us or that He will bring about the necessary changes in our character at the coming of the Lord.
The understanding of the writer is that the bringing of the saved to the fullness of redemption is taking place as "seasons of refreshing" come from the Presence of the Lord.
The critical issue is not where we are when the blessing of increased redemption is brought to us, but the faith and diligence with which we respond to the Lord’s invitation when it comes.
There is no basis for the belief that those of us who have demonstrated unbelief and spiritual lethargy in the present world will be filled with faith and diligence when we pass into the realm of spirits. After all, rebellion and sin originated in the spirit world.
All redemption is in Christ, not in Heaven. Redemption is in Heaven only to the extent Christ is in Heaven. It is not going to Heaven that transforms the believer, it is coming to Jesus that transforms the believer.
Let us look to the Lord now—today. Now is the day of salvation as far as we are concerned. We shall be held accountable for the grace being presented to us today. Those who neglect the current salvation will not escape the anger of the Lord.
The land of promise is before us. The Body of Christ is ready to cross Jordan, ready to begin its assault on the forces inhabiting our land—both the interior land of our personality, and then our exterior land of God’s created universe. Now it is time to take possession of the several areas of personal redemption. After we gain the fullness of victory there is a whole world of wonder and glory waiting to be occupied by the sons of God.