DOING AWAY WITH SIN
DOING AWAY WITH SIN Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
We know from the Old and New Testaments that Gods plan of salvation through Jesus Christ includes not only the forgiveness of our sins but also the removal of our sins. We know the Bride of the Lamb will be without blemish, not by imputation but by actual deliverance from sin as well as by the formation and dwelling of Christ within her.
But how and when will such deliverance and transformation be accomplished?
Table of Contents
Two Possible Interpretations of "Do Away With Sin" Actual Righteousness of Behavior The New Covenant Is Not Just a Better Forgiveness The Conventional Interpretation Does Not Conform to the Scriptures How and When Transformation Is Accomplished The Biblical Basis for Deliverance From Sin How and When Deliverance Is Accomplished Transformation and Deliverance Are Not Accomplished by Means of Our Dying or by the Return of the Lord The Future Salvation Conclusion
DOING AWAY WITH SIN
Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Hebrews 9:26NIV)
"To do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself."
The ninth and tenth chapters of the Book of Hebrews argue that the new covenant is better than the old in that the new does away with sinthat which the blood of bulls and goats could not do.
But what does it mean to do away with sin?
It means one of two things: either it means the doing away with the guilt of our sin now and forever such that God does not see sin when we practice it; or else it means Christ intends to remove the presence of sin itself, our sinful nature, from us.
It appears to me that the great majority of Christian believers have been taught that the new covenant is a better covenant because it does a better job of forgiving our sins than was true under the old covenant.
It may be true that only a small minority of Christians hold to the second interpretation, that the new covenant actually contains the authority and power to remove the practice of sin from us.
However, those who believe the new covenant is restricted to doing a better job of forgiving us and does not actually deliver us must admit they also believe the new Jerusalem will be holy in terms of actual holiness of personality and behavior, not just righteous and holy by imputation.
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16NIV)
For Zions sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalems sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow. (Isaiah 62:1,2NIV)
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (Revelation 21;2NIV)
I think most Christians would agree the above three passages are referring to an actual righteousness and holiness of personality and behavior, not a salvation that consists only of forgiveness and imputed righteousness. Forgiveness and imputed righteousness cannot possibly shine out like the dawn nor can the nations see such righteousness.
Could you imagine a Bride of the Lamb that consists of believers who are forgiven but not transformed morally, who are not new creatures except by an assigned righteousness? I doubt that you picture the new Jerusalem as being a city of sinful people.
So even those who hold to the concept that the new covenant is a better covenant only to the extent of a longer lasting forgiveness must admit that somewhere, at some point, an actual deliverance and transformation must take place.
By deliverance we mean control over the impulse to sin and ultimately the removal of the source of the sin from us.
By transformation we are speaking of the death of our adamic nature; the forming of Christ in us; the coming of the Father and the Son to dwell in the new nature that has been formed in us; and finally the resurrection of our physical body and the clothing of it with a house of eternal life from Heavena robe of righteousness that of itself desires righteousness, holiness, and stern obedience to God.
Total forgiveness. Total deliverance from all that is of Satan. Total transformation into the moral and physical image of Jesus Christ. All these are contained in the Christian salvation.
There has been some unscriptural guessing concerning how and when such deliverance and transformation shall occur, supposing we shall be made perfect instantly by dying or else by Divine power when the Lord appears. We will discuss in a moment the issue of how and when we are made new righteous creations.
And do with this bull just as he did with the bull for the sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for them, and they will be forgiven. (Leviticus 4:20NIV)
"And they will be forgiven." This expression appears several times in Leviticus and Numbers, referring to the atonement made by animal sacrifices.
The term "forgiven" is an absolute. Either the Israelites were forgiven or they were not forgiven. If the Israelites actually were forgiven, then to teach that the new covenant is merely a better forgiveness is to suggest that, unlike the old covenant, under which forgiveness lasted only from sacrifice to sacrifice, the new covenant offers a state of forgiveness that endures forever no matter what we do. This concept, expressed or implied, seems to permeate Christian Christian thinking.
While the idea of eternal forgiveness might be a logical interpretation of the reasoning in the ninth and tenth chapters of the Book of Hebrews, it still does not answer the question of when and how the actual transformation of our personality will take place. Also, it most assuredly is not in line with the majority of the statements of the Gospel accounts, the Epistles, and the Book of Revelation.
The conventional interpretation, that the new covenant presents a "state of grace" such that we are eternally forgiven no matter how we behave, is denied by a multitude of passages from the New Testament.
For example, notice the two passages that follow:
But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned. (Hebrews 6:8NIV)
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so it will be even more fruitful. (John 15:1,2NIV)
There is no way in which the above two passages can be reconciled with the interpretation that the new covenant is limited to forgiveness. The heavenly Farmer is looking for fruit. That fruit is the moral image of the Lord Jesus Christ created in us as we are delivered from the bondages of sin and transformed by the Presence of Christ. Apart from such deliverance and transformation there is no evidence of the operation of the new covenant.
The interpretation that is in line with the Old Testament types, the Gospel accounts, the Epistles, and the Book of Revelation is that when we receive Christ as our Savior we are forgiven all our sins. Then we are placed under a protective guard until the time shall come when actual salvation will occur, that is, when we will be delivered from our sins and Christ will be formed in us and will dwell in us. Indeed, we shall be forgiven eternally provided that we cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the work of sanctification, that is, the work of delivering us from sin.
Notice this qualification in the following verse:
In order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:4NIV)
Because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. (Hebrews 10:14NIV)
We can see clearly from the above two verses that it is not true that we just accept Christ and then we are forgiven for eternity. In order to abide in the state of perpetual forgiveness it absolutely must be true that we are not living according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. It absolutely must be true that we are being made holy. If we are not following the Spirit of God in the program of sanctification, as is the case with numerous American believers, it is not true of us that the righteous requirements of the law are being fully met in us. We are not recipients of imputed righteousness.
Rather, we are subject to Divine judgmentnow and in the Day of the Lord.
The perpetual forgiveness that is preached today in Christian churches is not scriptural. The New Testament declares plainly that if we as a Christian choose to serve sin we will die spiritually; we will not inherit the Kingdom of God; we will be removed from the Vine, from Christ.
This is the warning that is being proclaimed by the watchmen of today. Those who heed the warning shall save themselves from destruction. Those who do not shall die in their sins, whether or not they name the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Before we take up the subject of deliverance from the power of sin, let us consider for a moment the topic of moral (and eventually physical) transformation. Is such transformation promised in the New Testament?
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29NIV)
When God says "conformed to the likeness of His Son" God does not mean a better attitude toward life is adopted, that more godly behavior is pursued. God means the full power of the Godhead will be exercised in the work of transforming Gods elect into the express image of Christbody, soul, and spirit.
But when and how does such transformation take place?
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lords glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (II Corinthians 3:18NIV)
It can be seen from the above that such change is to be taking place now as we follow the Holy Spirit in the program of sanctification.
Sometimes it is ventured that we shall be "changed in the twinkling of an eye." However, this expression is found in the Resurrection Chapter (First Corinthians, Fifteen) and is speaking of the clothing of the physical frame with eternal life.
And then, in the third chapter of First John, we find that when Christ appears we shall be like Him. But the third chapter in the several verses that follow tells us if we are walking in unrighteousness in the present time we are not of God but of Satan. Again, John is speaking of the outward change that will take place, not of the all-important inward change that is the basis for the outer change.
The inward change takes place now through the many operations of the Holy Spirit as He removes worldliness, lust, and self-will from our personality and creates Christ in us. The outer change will take place when the Lord returns. It will happen instantly, as the Scripture says.
The Lord Jesus has enough power to remove our sins in an instant. But it is not possible to create Christ in us in an instant. Christ in us can be created only over a period of time as we willingly cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the numerous operations that destroy the sin in our adamic nature and fill us with the Nature of Jesus Christ.
Those who are hoping to be changed from a lazy, disobedient believer into a giant of faith by means of a pre-tribulation "rapture" shall experience weeping and gnashing of teeth while confined in the outer darkness. This is what the Bible teaches.
The believers in Galatia had been saved and filled with Gods Spirit, according to the text of the Book of Galatians. But Christ had not been formed in them sufficiently, and this was demonstrated by their willingness to return to the Law of Moses.
My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, (Galatians 4:19NIV)
It appears the Apostle Paul was expecting such change to occur in the present world, not when the Lord appears from Heaven.
And so Christ must be formed in us, and He is when we diligently obey the commandments found in the New Testament. When Christ is formed in us, then the Father and the Son come and make Their eternal dwelling place in our newly transformed inward nature.
Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (John 14:23NIV)
Finally, at the return of the Lord, our physical body will be raised from the dead (or changed if we are alive at the time) and adopted by the Father. Our body no longer will be filled with sin and death but with eternal, indestructible resurrection life. It shall be immortal!
Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:23NIV)
It is clear from the New Testament that our great salvation includes our total transformation into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. In no way is the new covenant limited to forgiveness. God has said He intends to do away with sin and that is precisely what will take place for each person who believes and obeys Him.
That the actual removal of sin from us is included in the atonement is portrayed by the ceremonies included in the Old Testament Day of Atonement.
The Day of Atonement comes after Pentecost in the sequence of the feasts of the Lord. Therefore we can expect the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement to be presented to us after we have been at Pentecost, so to speak.
Notice carefully the following passage:
Then he is to take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. He is to cast lots for the two goatsone lot for the LORD and the other for the scapegoat.~ Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the LORD and sacrifice it for a sin offering. But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD to be used for making atonement by sending it into the desert as a scapegoat. (Leviticus 16:7-10NIV)
On the Day of Atonement two goats were selected. The "Lords goat" was sacrificed as a sin offering. The other goat was kept alive. Be sure to observe (above) that an atonement was made by the scapegoat as well as by the slain goat. This tells us something very important: the atonement made by the Lord Jesus Christ includes not only the forgiveness of our sins through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, but also the removal of our sin from usnot the guilt of our sins only, but the sinful behavior itself. God is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and then to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
He shall then slaughter the goat for the sin offering for the people and take its blood behind the curtain and do with it as he did with the bulls blood: He shall sprinkle it on the atonement cover and in front of it. (Leviticus 16:15NIV)
The above verse speaks of the forgiveness of our sins by means of the offering of the blood of Christ on the cross of Calvary.
Then follows the portrayal of the actual removal of the presence of sinful tendencies from our personality.
When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the Tent of Meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelitesall their sinsand put them on the goats head. He shall send the goat away into the desert in the care of a man appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a solitary place; and the man shall release it in the desert. (Leviticus 16:20-22NIV)
The sins of the Israelites were confessed. Then the goat, symbolically bearing the sins, was led away from the congregation and released in the desert.
There is no clearer picture in the Bible of the forgiveness of the guilt of our sins, and then the removal of our sinful nature as part of the same atonement. Here is a biblical basis for the concept that the atonement includes the removal of sin as well as the forgiveness of sin.
We have discussed how and when our transformation is accomplished, and then have presented a biblical basis for deliverance from sin as part of the atonement.
Now we will examine the concept of deliverance from the law of sin that dwells in our body.
It has been ventured that our deliverance from sin will take place when we die physically or when the Lord returns. But the Scripture contradicts these two proposed solutions. We will address these two unscriptural positions in a moment, but let us consider what the New Testament says about the removal of the presence of sin from Gods saints.
As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. (Matthew 13:40-43NIV)
The time is the end of the age. The Greek term translated "angels" means nothing more than "messengers." The Son of Man will send out His messengers. They will remove from his kingdom everything that causes sin. At this point we are not referring to forgiveness but to "everything that causes sin." In other words, we are speaking of the sin nature.
Look at passage closely. "From his kingdom."
We are referring to those who have been born again and are presently in the Kingdom of God.
We understand, then, that at the end of the age everything that causes sin will be removed from those who are members of the Kingdom of God.
Then there is a further step. "All who do evil" will also be removed from the Kingdom.
The idea is that God first will approach the saints and require that they cooperate in the work of removing sin from their personality. If they cooperate they then will shine forth in the Kingdom. If they do not cooperate they become part of "all who do evil" and will be removed from the Kingdom of God and cast into the fiery furnace.
This clearly is a purifying of the Kingdom of God, that is, of the Church. The Church is the Kingdom of God that shall govern the saved nations of the earth.
In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. (Daniel 2:44NIV)
The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever." (Revelation 11:15NIV)
Your gates will always stand open, they will never be shut, day or night, so men may bring you the wealth of the nationstheir kings led in triumphal procession. (Isaiah 60:11NIV)
The purifying will take place at the end of the age. The purifying will be accomplished by Gods messengers, whether angelic or human.
Today the Lord is helping us get rid of the sins that the Holy Spirit points out to us. The purifying has begun and we are to confess our sins to God that He may forgive and cleanse us. It is a judgment against sin, against Satan, and we go free provided we denounce and renounce the sins that have been pinpointed, resolving never again, with the Lords help, to practice them.
We must be terribly resolute about our renunciation of our sins, for our deliverance depends on our determination to get rid of them. If there is any double-mindedness in us we cannot be delivered. We absolutely must make up our mind that we want nothing to do with the unclean works of darkness.
If we do not vigorously turn away from the sins that have been revealed to us, then we ourselves will be cast into the fire. The Lake of Fire retains authority over sin. God shields us from the Lake of Fire as long as we are cooperating with the Holy Spirit in the work of the removal of our sins. But if we do not cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the work of the removal of our sins, then the Lake of Fire will claim us for its own.
Unless we as a Christian overcome, through the Spirit of God, the works over which the Lake of Fire retains jurisdiction, we will be thrown into the Lake of Fire.
Consider the following verse:
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death. (Revelation 2:11NIV)
"Will not be hurt at all by the second death." The above is addressed to believers.
Now let me emphasize the relationship between overcoming and the Lake of Fire.
He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liarstheir place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. (Revelation 21:7,8NIV)
Look carefully at the word "But." This word provides the link between the two verses.
The victorious saint will inherit all that God has shown us concerning the new world to come. God will be his God and he will be Gods son.
But . . . but . . . but. But those who do not overcome, that is, the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, and so forth, will find themselves in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.
To overcome is to confess, denounce, and renounce our sins when they are pointed out to us. To not overcome is to not confess, denounce, and renounce our sins when they are pointed out to us.
It seems clear, doesnt it, that the day is to come when God addresses the problem of worldliness, lust, and self-seeking in His people. When He confronts us as an individual we are to respond by working with the Holy Spirit in the removal of our sins. In the meantime Gods messengers are declaring what God has purposed to perform and are making known to the Lords elect what the Holy Spirit is doing in the present hour.
Remember, when the Holy Spirit makes you aware of a specific sin in your life, be quick to confess and turn away from it. This is no day in which to dawdle and procrastinate. If we do, messengers will come who will rebuke and chastise us until we are willing to let go of our sins. I am speaking now of afflictions that will be sent to prepare the way of the Lord in our personality.
See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty. But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiners fire or a launderers soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, (Malachi 3:1- 3NIV)
The Lord will come to His temple and purify the Levites.
Who are the Levites?
You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (I Peter 2:5NIV)
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (I Peter 2:9NIV)
And what did John the Baptist tell us about the Lord coming to purify His people?
The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire. (Matthew 3:10-12NIV)
Can you see in the above passages that the Lord is not going to be content with forgiving His people? The day will arrive when He will actually remove sin from His Kingdom. Isnt that wonderful! To have our sins forgiven is wonderful. To have our sins removed is infinitely better. Do you agree with this?
There is a story in the Old Testament that portrays the way God deals with sin in His people. It is the story of Joshua and the five kings of the Amorites.
Joshua engaged the Amorites in battle. When he did, the five kings of the Amorites crept away and hid in the Cave of Makkedah.
Now the five kings had fled and hidden in the cave at Makkedah. (Joshua 10:16NIV)
After the Amorites were defeated, Joshua returned to the cave, brought out the five kings, and killed them.
This is the way it is in the Christian life. We are saved and then filled with the Spirit. After that we engage in warfare against the enemy. Then there comes a time when God is ready to get at the "kings" in our personality. Today is such a time. Get ready for the Lord to deal with the sources of sin and self-will that are in you.
It is interesting that there were five kings. The Blowing of Trumpets is the fifth feast, the celebration that follows Pentecost. The Blowing of Trumpets signifies the coming of the King, Jesus, to declare war against the enemies that are in His people.
All of Gods people understand there must come a time when we actually are delivered from sin and not just regarded as righteous by imputation. We know somehow that the Holy City will be actually holy, not holy by imputed holiness.
Two assumptions are common concerning when we will be delivered from our sinful personality. The first assumption is that we will be delivered and made holy by dying and passing into the spirit realm. The second assumption is that we will be delivered and made holy when the Lord comes. Let us take these one at a time.
The assumption that we will be made righteous and holy by dying and passing into the spirit realm assumes that there is no sin in the spirit realm. The truth is, this is where sin began. There was no sin in the personalities of Adam and Eve until the sin came down from the heavens.
Even today we are not wrestling against flesh and blood but against the sin in the spirit realm.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12NIV)
Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. (Revelation 12:3NIV)
If the source of sin is in the heavens, then why would we be delivered from sin by dying and passing into the spirit realm where sin originates?
Our body of itself is not sinful. As Paul said, sin dwells in it as an alien force. There are no immoral compulsions in the physical body as such. The immorality proceeds from the demons that inflame our body and soul.
When our body dies and is buried, it is doubtful that our sinful nature is buried with it. Our sinful nature consists of unclean tendencies that reside in our flesh. I cannot pictures these tendencies remaining in a dead body. They originated in the spirit realm and probably revert to the spirit realm once they no longer can experience satisfaction in our body. Whether they follow us in the spirit realm I am not prepared to say. Perhaps they do to a certain extent.
So we cannot count on death to redeem our fallen nature.
The second assumption is that when the Lord comes He will deliver us from sin. However, notice the two following passages:
Later the others also came. "Sir! Sir!" they said. "Open the door for us!" But he replied, "I tell you the truth, I dont know you." (Matthew 25:11,12NIV)
Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 25:28-30NIV)
When the Lord returns He will not give wisdom to the foolish virgins. Rather, He will prevent their going to Him.
When the Lord returns He will not give diligence to the fearful, lazy servant. Rather, He will remove his talent from him and have him thrown into the outer darkness.
We understand, therefore, that neither physical death nor the coming of the Lord will deliver us from sin.
However, it is true that there is a time when the Lord will come to purify His churches. When that time comes, which will occur, I believe, before His historical coming with His holy angels, He indeed will purify us. But, like salvation and the baptism with the Holy Spirit, we will have to make the effort to cooperate with the Holy Spirit. It is not a case of the Lord waving a wand and we suddenly become righteous. We have to press forward into the deliverance when the hour comes. It is here now, as far as I can tell.
Repent, then, and turn to God, so your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, And that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for youeven Jesus. He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. (Acts 3:19-21NIV)
Times of refreshing come from the Lord. There shall come a period when God will restore all that the Prophets have promised.
Actually, salvation is a program. There are major types of the program of salvation, such as the Tabernacle of the Congregation. The type that we use most frequently consists of the seven feasts of the Lord.
We have been at the fourth feast, Pentecost, during this century. The fifth feast, the Blowing of Trumpets, is now at hand.
Say to the Israelites: "On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts." (Leviticus 23:24NIV)
Pentecost speaks of the Holy Spirit. The Blowing of Trumpets has to do with the King, Jesus, coming to His churches and waging war against His enemies that dwell in us. I think this is an example of the promised "times of refreshing" that are to come from the Lord.
But does the New Testament speak clearly of a salvation to come at the end of the age? Indeed it does!
And this do, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. (Romans 13:11NIV)
We usually dont think of salvation coming in the future. But it is a fact that there is a past salvation (when we received the Lord), a present salvation which we are to work out with fear and trembling, and a future salvation. The future salvation is a judgment against the evil in Gods people so they may be delivered from worldliness, lust, and self-will in preparation for the return of Jesus Christ to the world.
Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:27,28NIV)
The above passage would seem to be speaking of the Lords return in the clouds of glory. But a close look will see that it is speaking of His coming only to those who are waiting for Him.
The Lords historical coming is described as follows:
Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen. (Revelation 1:7NIV)
In the Lords historical coming (above), every eye will see Him. But in the coming mentioned in Hebrews 9:28 (above), He is coming to those who are waiting for Him.
Thus we see there shall be a coming to the believers prior to Jesus coming to the world. This is affirmed as follows:
Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him. (John 14:21NIV)
The verse above speaks of a revealing of the Lord Jesus to those who keep His commandments. We think the Lord comes to His true disciples and drives the sin from them in preparation for His historical second to the world.
The New Testament clearly speaks of a future salvation, which we maintain is salvation in the sense of removing sin from His Kingdom.
Who through faith are shielded by Gods power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (I Peter 1:5NIV)
We Christians through faith are shielded from the penalty of the Lake of Fire until such time as the Lord decides to come and deliver us from those behaviors over which the Lake of Fire always retain authority. This is a salvation that is to be revealed in the last time.
Who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are Gods possessionto the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:14NIV)
Gods possession, which is our personality, especially our body, shall be redeemed from the hand of Satan. The Holy Spirit we have now is a deposit on the day when our mortal body is made alive by the Spirit of God. Since our body is dead because of sin, the sin must be dealt with in some manner before the Holy Spirit can make it alive.
Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:23NIV)
And notice further:
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30NIV)
So there is no doubt there is coming a day of redemption. In that day the believers will be delivered from the sin that dwells in their personality. We think the day of redemption is beginning now and will continue throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age and is the purpose for the Kingdom Age.
Let us remind the reader again of the foolish virgins and the man who buried his talent. These two parable warn us against not following Christ diligently and then expecting Him to come and magically deliver us from sin. It is not going to happen.
Rather, as in the case with every aspect of salvation, the Lord comes to us and offers the possibility of our moving ahead in the program. It then is up to us to grasp the opportunity by faith and diligently press forward into the new pasture that has been set before us.
The danger in todays teaching is that it leaves the impression that after Pentecost, every Kingdom event, including deliverance from sin, change into the moral image of Christ, and our resurrection from the dead, will overtake us as a sovereign act of God over which we have little control.
The truth is, every inch of ground in the Kingdom has to be taken by faith, patience, and the most resolute, diligent seeking of the Lord possible to us humans. Even the Apostle Paul toward the end of his life was seeking to gain Christ; was attempting to experience the power of Christs resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings; was endeavoring to attain the early resurrection from the dead, the resurrection of the royal priesthood.
The trumpet must be blown in Zion today. It appears the majority of Christian believers are woefully unprepared for their physical death as well as for the return of the Lord. They are being taught a lawless grace and an unscriptural pre- tribulation catching up of all believers regardless of spiritual maturity. They simply are not prepared to stand in the evil day.
Therefore they will be of no help in the age of moral horrors we are approaching. When the people of the world are having heart attacks because of being terrified by the events of the future, the Christians, instead of being sources of comfort, strength, and Divine Life, will be equally terrified because they have been taught they will not be present on the earth when serious trouble arrives. What Satan desires is that the believers remain unprepared to help other people in their hour of dire need.
There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth in that daygnashing of teeth because of the anger of the believers when they are put in the outer darkness instead of being brought into the Presence of the Lamb of God. This day is coming. Be prepared for it! It is a day of thick darkness. It is the Day of the Lord!
The twentieth century has witnessed the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Pentecost in many places and among several denominations. This is the first time since the days of the Apostles that Pentecostal manifestations have been so widespread.
Now we are entering the twenty-first century. God is moving forward into the spiritual fulfillments of the last three feasts of the Lord: the Blowing of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and, finally, the feast of Tabernacles.
We simply cannot remain at Pentecost, so to speak, when the Spirit of God is calling us forward. Such change is unsettling, especially since some members of an assembly may hear the trumpet and move ahead while others do not seem to have ears to hear.
But the life of victory in Christ Jesus always is a one-on-one operation. It is always "to him who overcomes." We would love to bring our friends with us, but this is possible only as the Spirit of God touches them also.
One of the sufferings of Christ which we must experience is to be driven away from those with whom we have had years of joyous fellowship. But, as the Lord advised us, whoever esteems friends or even family more than they do Him is not worthy of Him. We must forsake all, if needs be, that we may prove to be a true disciple of Jesus.
So it is onward and upwardand still further ahead and further up. There is no retirement from the program of salvation. To our last day on earth (and who knows what takes place after that?) we are to be pressing on the upward way.
There is a Christ to be pleased. There is a kingdom to be gained. Who among us will cry: "Give me this mountain!" These are the mighty men, and their reward is from the Lord Jesus.
The Lords army is made up of volunteers who have been called from the foundation of the world. First we are called. Then it is up to us to volunteer to turn aside from our sinful, worldly nature and seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness with every fiber of our being.
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee. Jesus did His first miracle at that time.
The wedding on the third day is symbolic of the work of redemption that shall occur on the "third day," so to speak.
After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. (Hosea 6:2NIV)
He replied, "Go tell that fox, I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal." (Luke 13:32NIV)
Two thousand years of church history, and now we are coming to the third day. The Lord has kept the best wine until now.
It indeed is a new day, a wonderful day, a day of marvelous opportunity and also of dangerous deception. We can press forward into unimaginable victory and glory if we keep our eyes steadfastly on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Is the call in your heart? If so, never, never, never quit. If you dont quit but keep praying, the Lord will bring you through every trouble no matter how great. He sits as King of the flood. He is in control of the universe. And He cares for you.
The fullness of the Divine inheritance is for all the sons of God. The sons of God are those who lay aside all else in order to gain Christ.
You can be one of these if this is what you desire with all your heart.
Why dont you set this brief essay aside right now and tell Jesus what it is you truly want.