Copyright © 2013 Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved
“Redemption” is taken from Three Deaths and Three Resurrections: Volume One, copyright © 2011 Robert B. Thompson
To redeem a person or thing is to restore him or it to the original or rightful owner by means of paying enough money or other compensation or by means of regaining possession by force.
We speak of redeeming property on which money was lent, by paying off the mortgage. We regain, release what had been taken from us.
The terms redeem, redeemer, and redemption are employed throughout the Scriptures. The concept is that of restoring to the original owner or releasing from bondage or captivity someone or something that has been brought under the power of one who did not possess him or it in the beginning.
The person or possession has been taken over by forfeiture or force by someone who is wiser, richer, or stronger. If the original owner ever is to gain back his goods or freedom the act of redemption must take place. The first owner may redeem himself or his property or someone else—a redeemer—may assist him.
The redeemer must have enough money or strength, or both, depending on the conditions of servitude. The redeemer must produce the price of redemption. He must use force also if the mortgage holder is not willing to release the property when the price has been paid.
In the case of the Year of Jubilee (Leviticus, Chapter 25), a person who redeems another person must be his close relative—someone near of kin who redeems his weaker or poorer relative.
Our need for redemption. Every man, woman, boy, and girl born on the earth, with the exception of Christ, is in need of redemption.
Every one of us was created with a spirit, a soul, and a body. We were made in the image of God Almighty. God created us from the clay of the ground and placed us in a paradise on the earth.
Our ancestors, Adam and Eve, chose to disobey the Lord God. As a result the whole race of mankind came under the authority and power of Satan, sin, sickness, and death. There is not a man, woman, boy, or girl born into the world who possesses the price or power to redeem himself or any other person from the kingdom of darkness. We are born under the sentence of death and judgment. Because of this we live out our lives on earth in misery.
No matter how righteously an individual lives (and there is none who is thoroughly righteous except God and His Christ) there still is the guilt of his “father and mother,” Adam and Eve, hanging over his head. Payment must be made for inherited sin as well as for acquired sin.
We human beings do not possess the payment for the guilt of sins that we have committed or for the guilt that we have inherited from Adam. “In Adam all die.” Therefore, we must accept the payment that God has made by the blood of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. “In Christ shall all be made alive.” (I Corinthians 15:22).
The Lord Jesus has chosen to become our near relative, naming Himself the Son of Man as well as Son of God. By becoming our near relative He is qualified to redeem us, according to the laws set down for the Year of Jubilee, the year of redemption (Leviticus, Chapter 25).
Our Redeemer has appeared. Apart from Him we are captives without hope. He has the authority and power to deliver us—spirit, soul, and body. Christ’s blood is the payment for our redemption. It alone avails to pardon the guilt of our sins. There is no other payment that God will accept.
Any person, young or old, rich or poor, who rejects the blood of the Son of God, Christ, as the payment for his redemption is rejecting the only means of being redeemed—of being saved from Divine wrath.
If you never have been redeemed by the blood of Christ, the Passover Lamb of God, put this book down now and receive Christ by faith.
It would be an exceedingly great tragedy for you or for any other person to be required to stand before God Almighty in the Day of Judgment in the filthy rags of your own self-righteousness, now that Jesus already has paid the price of redemption for you and stands ready to receive you.
Accept Christ as your Savior now before you continue reading.
Redemption: past, present and future.
And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (I John 2:2)
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12)
And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. (Romans 13:12)
Although our redemption was purchased in its entirety—once for all time—on the cross of Calvary, it manifests itself in our lives as a process. Therefore we can say that our redemption is past, present, and future. We were redeemed the moment we received Christ as our Lord and Savior; we are being redeemed by the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit; and we shall be redeemed in our bodies when the Lord Jesus appears from Heaven with the saints and holy angels.
Our redemption is confirmed when we continue faithfully to the end of our discipleship.
For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; (Hebrews 3:14)
As we have stated, man is spirit, soul, and body. Our spirit, soul, and body already have been purchased, provided we have accepted by faith our personal Redeemer and have been baptized in water according to His commandment.
We do not experience the fullness of the fruits of the Divine redemption the moment we receive Christ. It is necessary that we press forward each day in faithful discipleship in order to lay hold on the redemption of our spirit, our soul, and—when Jesus returns—our mortal body.
When Christ was crucified, He carried our sins out of the camp and descended with them into the interior of the earth. He left them there in the “land not inhabited” (Leviticus 16:22). No matter what we may have done in this life, as soon as we receive the forgiveness of God through Christ our sins are gone! buried! removed! There is no guilt left behind.
We now are without condemnation in Christ. We who have believed in Christ have left the authority of Satan and are under the authority of Jesus. It is the Lord’s intention that sin no longer be able to rule us (Romans 6:14).
Yet there still is apparent in most of our lives the power of sin, the bondage, the hold that the committing of sin has on us, the lusting, murdering, hating, criticizing, evil speaking, coveting, envying, idolizing, unforgiving that we (saved and unsaved alike) cannot seem to stop. These all are proceeding from the law of sin that is working in our flesh.
If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. (Genesis 4:7)
The above verse may be explained as follows: when we conduct ourselves in a righteous and holy manner we are accepted of God. When we disobey God, then Satan—that author of all sin—crouches at our door desiring to snare us. Each sin we commit denotes a certain amount of enslavement to Satan, although we may not realize it. To the degree that we practice a sin it has power over us; it holds us in bondage. Through our Redeemer, Christ, we are able to overcome sin.
Isn’t it true in your life that there are some actions or attitudes that are difficult to refrain from practicing, although the doing of them results in more grief than the sin is worth? The reason you or I may continue to behave in a manner of which we ourselves do not approve is that Satan is exercising dominion over us. The impulse or desire is ruling us against our will. The force of the sin is binding us even though we have received Jesus as our Savior.
We have stated that the work of a redeemer may include two aspects: the payment of the price, and sometimes the imposition of force. The blood of Christ redeems us from the guilt of our sin but it is the power of the Holy Spirit, acting on the authority of the blood, that conquers the force of the sin that binds us. In order to gain entrance through the gates of the new Jerusalem we must be delivered from both the guilt and the power of sin. There is no sin in the holy city.
We now (if we are confessing our sins and gaining victory over them) are in the process of being redeemed from the power and effects of sin—from all that remains in our personality of the person and ways of Satan. The Body of Christ is to have nothing to do with Satan, the “prince” of this world. The almighty Christ can and shall release us now—in the present age.
The deliverance phase of redemption is taking place in the life of the faithful saints as the Holy Spirit brings the sins we are committing to our attention, and we confess them to God as sin. God is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He provides the grace so that in the future we will not remain bound in sin.
The Lord Jesus is accomplishing more than saving us in our sins. He is saving us from our sins (Matthew 1:21).
We are not debtors to our flesh that we are obligated to live according to the appetites of our flesh. We who belong to Christ have crucified our flesh with its appetites and lusts and are learning how to live in the holiness of the Lord. Our powerful Redeemer is enabling us to strip away the graveclothes of sin that compel us to serve sin, and by the power of His Holy Spirit to repent, to confess them, and to walk in newness of life each day of our Christian experience.
If you are a Christian but are continuing to practice some sin concerning which the Spirit of God has reproved you, confess that sin to Christ vocally, clearly, and specifically. Do not make a vague statement to the Lord. Come to the point in frankness and honesty. God cannot be deceived.
When you confess your sin, God will forgive you and cleanse you through your High Priest, Christ. Christ has the authority and the power to forgive you and to deliver you fully. It never is God’s will that one of his sheep walk in known sin. Christ has the power not only to deliver you from sin but also to break all the bondages in your life, including the bondage of sickness—one of the effects of mankind’s sinful condition.
If you are a Christian and are suffering from sickness in your body, believe Jesus for your healing. Healing is included in your redemption. Jesus died so that you may be “preserved blameless” in body, soul, and spirit (I Thessalonians 5:23).
Sometimes the most devout Christians are required to endure sickness and affliction for a season. After we have petitioned the Lord for our healing, and have thanked Him for His goodness and mercy toward us, we are to rest in Christ.
Never give up. Keep on believing in the redeeming virtue of Christ and you will receive your healing, according to the wisdom of God, unless it is time for the Lord to take you to glory. Christ has healed me several times and also members of my family. He will heal you if you will seek His will for your life.
Only believe. All things are possible to the person who believes God. Come to Him and see for yourself.
That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Hebrews 6:12)
We have explained that our redemption is past, present, and future, and we have considered our past redemption on the cross of Christ along with our ongoing redemption through the power of the Holy Spirit. The completion of our redemption is coming in the future. Jesus counseled us to rejoice when we behold the signs of the end-time coming to pass. He exhorted us to rejoice because these signs reveal to us that our redemption is at hand.
The redemption that is coming with the appearing of the Lord Jesus will bring incorruptible bodies to the saints and liberation to the remainder of the creation (Romans 8:21).
If you are a Christian and are worrying about the economic situation, the riots and unrest, the rise of the Antichrist, wars, rumors of wars or anything else, it is time for you to be encouraged in the Lord. Ignore these fears. Look away to Christ. Jesus is coming again with unlimited authority, power, and glory to bring deliverance to His Church, and to the nations of the earth that will receive His lordship over them.
The fullness of redemption is coming with our Lord Jesus Christ. There is no person, power, spirit, or anyone or anything else that can hinder the Lord. He is coming and bringing redemption to all who will accept His blood atonement and His absolute rulership.
Do not continue to worry about what men or devils can do. Look only to Jesus and you will not have a care except to please Him. He is your Redeemer—past, present, and future.
Redemption in the Scriptures. The Scriptures have much to say on the topic of redemption. It is one of the principal subjects of the Word of God. The twenty-fifth chapter of Leviticus, which has to do with the Year of Jubilee, is of help in the study of the concept of redemption. There are so many additional scriptural references that it is not practical to quote them all. The following are a few of the many passages:
And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities. (Psalms 130:8)
And I will deliver thee out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem thee out of the hand of the terrible. (Jeremiah 15:21)
Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy; (Psalms 107:2)
For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: (Job 19:25)
And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. (Luke 2:38)
And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. (Luke 21:28)
And not only they [the material creation], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)
But of him are ye in Christ, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (I Corinthians 1:30)
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: (Galatians 3:13)
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; (Ephesians 1:7)
Which is the earnest [pledge] of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:14)
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)
In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (Colossians 1:14)
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people [people for God’s own possession], zealous of good works. (Titus 2:14)
Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. (Hebrews 9:12)
And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. (Hebrews 9:15)
Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: (I Peter 1:18,19)
And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; (Revelation 5:9)
From these and other Scriptures we can see that a work of redemption was wrought on the cross of Calvary. Redemption is deliverance from the guilt and power of sin. We shall understand this more as we study the three areas of redemption in depth in subsequent chapters. Let us begin with an overview of each as a ground on which to expand our concepts.
Salvation: The First Area of Redemption
The first area of redemption is that of salvation. The burden of the evangelist is that people may receive salvation.
What does it mean to be saved? From what are we saved, and toward what are we moving?
To be saved means to possess God’s guarantee that when the Day of Wrath comes—and it surely is coming!—the believer will be kept from destruction by the power of God. God is coming to the earth to judge the works of men and devils. The judgment that is just over the horizon is terrible.
People today, including Christian people, have talked themselves into the belief that God is a kindly old gentleman who will do good but not harm. Paul warns: “knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (II Corinthians 5:11). We Christians need to gain some idea of the terror of the Lord before we really can appreciate what it means to be saved from wrath. In fact, it is the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of wisdom.
The next coming of Christ will be so frightful that no words of ours can portray adequately what the world is about to face. The most terrifying scene that ever has appeared on the earth will seem like child’s play when compared with the wrath of God that will be poured out under the administration of Christ and His saints.
Following the glorious and terrible return of the Lord, He and His victorious saints will rule for the thousand years of the Kingdom Age (Millennium). After the Kingdom Age the Lake of Fire will appear. The Lake of Fire is no mere symbol of God’s anger, it is a real lake, a prison of eternal torment. It is reserved for the devil and his angels and for all others who reject the lordship of Christ.
There is a lake that burns with the pungent smell of burning sulfur. There will be angels, demons, and people in it.
God has determined to judge and bring to an end the heaven and the earth that He created and to punish the angels who rebelled against Him. The root of the problem is Satan and the rebellion that took place in the heavenlies. This is the source of sin—where sin began.
Sin was introduced into the Garden of Eden by the serpent, not by our ancestors, Adam and Eve. Yet because of their sin, we who are their descendants, and all of the creation, are under the curse of sin and death.
In Christ is salvation in the Day of God’s wrath. Christ bore on Himself the sins of the whole world. The judgment of God came on Christ and He was crucified. In Christ, God brought to an end the first creation. In Christ, God brought judgment on the evil lords of darkness and destroyed their authority and power.
God in Christ conquered Satan.
Christ came to seek and to save those who are lost. If any person, young or old, will receive Christ by faith and hold that faith, patiently serving the Lord throughout all the testings and tribulations of life, he or she will be saved in the Day of the Lord.
“He who endures to the end shall be saved.” Some will gain an abundant entrance into the Kingdom of Christ while others will be saved “yet so as by fire.”
Perhaps you as an individual are not making a success of the Christian discipleship, at least not in your own opinion. If you will keep your hope steadfast in the Savior and not turn your heart away from Him in discouragement, pride, lust, or rebellion, you too will be saved in the Day of Judgment, the Day of the Lord.
Heaven is a real place, a Paradise of peace and joy. Heaven is the most wonderful dream of people in solid and enduring form. To be received into Heaven when we die requires our accepting Christ in obedience to the will of God. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.”
Salvation includes the first death and resurrection. Salvation is a first reaping of our life. It is a reaping to Christ. It is an instant death by faith, potentially destroying the ability of our old nature, our sin and self-will, to dominate us. We say potentially because the actual destruction of sin and the transformation of our personality depend on our working out in hope, faith, and obedience that which God and we declared to be true in our baptism in water.
As we will see in the next chapter, water baptism portrays what will become a fact if we follow Christ faithfully: the death of our first personality and the creation of a new personality. This, our new life, is raised up to be hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:1-4). This is the first resurrection (the “first resurrection” in terms of the model presented in this book, not the first resurrection of Revelation 20:4-6).
The righteousness of Christ Himself is imputed (ascribed) to us—freely given to us. It is the grace of God in action. We now are without condemnation and are invited and welcomed to enter boldly into the Most Holy Place in Heaven before the Father, there to make our needs and desires known to Him who sits on the throne of the universe.
We are accepted in the beloved Son, Christ. The holy angels rejoice and the bells of Heaven ring because a prodigal son has returned to his Father’s house. From now on, death holds no terrors for us. When we die our spiritual personality is received into the realms of light to dwell with God and the Lamb, and with the holy saints and elect angels.
We had been dead spiritually, being cut off from God because of our inherited and acquired sin. Now, through the atonement made by the blood of the righteous Jesus, we are accepted of God. God’s Holy Spirit has taken up His abode in us for eternity (John 14:16,17). The Spirit of God is eternal Life in us and the guarantee of the more complete redemption yet to come. All past transgressions have been forgiven. The covering of the “Passover blood” shields us from the wrath of God. Christ has been born in us.
In the preceding paragraphs we have described the salvation phase of the Divine redemption that comes only through Christ. Every person who would have eternal life must appear here. We must receive Christ personally as our own Lord and Savior and be baptized in water. Then the Holy Spirit causes the Life of Christ to be born in us. We are “born again.”
The only way a man, woman, boy, or girl can enter the Kingdom of God is by being born again. Until a person is born again he can neither see nor enter the Kingdom of God.
Our death with Christ on the cross and our new birth into the Kingdom of God are the first death and the first resurrection—the first area of redemption.
Sanctification: The Second Area of Redemption
The first area of redemption is that of salvation, of acceptance by the Lord, of passing from death to life, of remission of the guilt of past sin by the blood of Christ. The grace of God is given freely to us through Christ and we are received as a child of God.
We are using the terms salvation, sanctification, and conquest to describe the three areas of redemption we are discussing. Our usage is arbitrary. The word salvation covers all three areas and is so used in the Scriptures. The way we use the terms constitutes their definitions in this book.
The second area of redemption is that of sanctification. By sanctification is meant the setting apart of the Christian as holy to the Lord. Many Christians have had a genuine experience of salvation but have stopped there. They never have cooperated with the Holy Spirit in the task of directing their daily behavior into ways pleasing to the Lord Jesus.
In the first area of redemption, initial salvation, we die to the world and are raised in Christ.
In the second area of redemption, sanctification, we die to the works of the flesh, the fleshly nature, and are raised into the life lived in the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit.
That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after of the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. (Romans 8:4,5)
The second area is the area of the testimony, the area of the Holy Spirit. He predominates in this area as He leads us, instructs us, builds us up in preparation for our presentation to the Lord Jesus Christ as the glorious Church without spot or wrinkle. The area of sanctification is one of conquering sin, of instruction in godliness, of the testimony of the Person, will, and way of God Almighty, of preparation for greater transformation and blessing yet to come.
Here the Holy Spirit enables us to live by the Scriptures and to bring other people to the Savior. The Holy Spirit leads us as we share with them our personal experiences with Christ. He imparts to us gifts and ministries. Through the anointing of the Spirit the Word of Christ is confirmed in our life, sometimes with powerful signs and wonders.
The Holy Spirit works night and day to form Christ in us. He intends to bring us into the image of Christ and into oneness with Christ. If we will cooperate with Him, He will set us apart each day as holy to the Lord. He is the Holy Spirit.
It is the will of Christ that the members of the Body of Christ begin to follow the Holy Spirit into putting to death the deeds of the body (Romans 8:13). If He is not leading us into conquest of the deeds of our flesh we are not sons of God. No person walks in peace and fellowship with Christ and continues in known sin.
Although our deliverance from the bondages of the flesh takes a while to accomplish (we are not delivered into sinless perfection overnight), yet our redemption in this area is as definite, as certain, as is our initial step of salvation. The Book of I John holds forth the idea that Christians are not to continue in sin, that whoever is continuing to sin is not walking in Christ and has neither seen Him nor known Him.
In time past we have not understood how to overcome our sinning, and so we have put our trust in Christ and have left the problem with Him. Now the Lord is showing us that if we will allow the Holy Spirit to do so, He will enable us to wash the robes of our conduct in the blood of the Lamb, becoming sparkling white in the righteous conduct that God requires.
We must learn to judge ourselves through the Holy Spirit. Little by little we achieve the victory of sanctification of spirit, of soul, of body. In this manner we purify ourselves in preparation for His glorious appearing (I John 3:1-3).
We may say that the area of sanctification is a reaping to the Holy Spirit just as the area of initial salvation is a reaping to Christ. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit always work together in all aspects of our redemption. Nevertheless, dividing the Christian redemption into these three areas for the purpose of analysis may be helpful to us as we ponder the meaning of redemption and atonement.
Sanctification is a second death and resurrection. In sanctification we become dead to the life lived in the impulses of the flesh and mind. By the power the Holy Spirit provides we are raised into freedom from the need to keep on serving the lusts of the flesh and of the eyes. The second area of redemption is a place of wilderness wandering, of learning the ways of God, of coming under God’s law of the Spirit of life, of Christ pruning back the fruit of our life and the bearing of more fruit, and of daily manna from the Lord.
In the area of sanctification the Church, the Israel of God, begins to be formed into an army. The Body of Christ moves toward maturity as the Servant of the Lord (Isaiah, Chapter 42).
However, the fullness of the development of God’s warriors and servants takes place in the third area—that of conquest, as we shall see later on.
In the first area, salvation, we Christians are so occupied with what we are receiving from God that not too much is accomplished from the standpoint of what we will return to God in the way of service. Growth in service comes to us if we follow on to know the Lord. We begin to exercise a priestly role as we learn more about how to please the Lord and serve Him.
Spiritual warfare rages about us as we press on past initial salvation into the fullness of sanctification and victory. There yet is much evil in the Christian churches—sometimes more than is found in the world. It may be recalled that when Pilate was faced with the Lord Jesus Christ he wanted to release Him, but he was prevented from doing so by the leaders of God’s chosen people.
The rulers of Israel howled for Christ’s blood. Here is Satan working in a religious setting. Pilate represents the world. The leaders of Israel represent religious activity and church government. When the world would have set Christ free the church authorities demanded He be crucified.
This is an example of the problems of covetousness and self-seeking that exist at the second level of spiritual life, the level of ministry and church activity. Today the world is evil and becoming worse all the time. There is increased satanic activity in the world and abominations are being committed. When Christ pours out His Spirit in these last days there will be persecution from the churches as well as from the world. Satan will be cast down from the heavenlies into the earth, and his thrashing about in the earth will be expressed both in the world governments and in the religious organizations.
The battle against sin, against the kingdom of darkness, is taking place in every true believer in Christ. The battle against sin cannot be waged successfully in unsaved people because the world is dead in sin. The Holy Spirit of God is dwelling eternally in the believers in Christ. Therefore in them there is a struggle going on night and day.
Satan is striving to maintain his hold over the conduct of each Christian. The Holy Spirit in each Christian is attempting to bring him or her into deliverance from having to obey the spirit of the world, Satan, and the lusts of the body. Also, his or her self-will and self-love are in the process of being “crucified.”
The Christians who are pressing forward in the Lord Jesus Christ are gaining the upper hand over sin. Victory requires a period of time for its accomplishment. The Lord God of Heaven has promised that He will deliver even the lords of darkness into our hands and that we will destroy them until they have been utterly consumed (Deuteronomy 7:23).
Through the wisdom and power of Christ, and in His time, we will be able to tear down the strongholds of Satan in the heavenlies. Every spirit will be brought under the feet of Christ, who will use the members of His Body to crush the evil armies of wickedness (Romans 16:20).
When a Christian confesses a sin, and gains victory over that sin through the authority of the blood of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, the victory constitutes a judgment of Christ on the particular sin and on the spirit performing that sin.
The members of the Body of Christ are to walk in absolute righteousness and holiness of deed, word, motive, and imagination. God’s judgment is on His own household in these days. God can have no fellowship with the evil works of darkness and neither can His children. We must learn to put to death the deeds of our flesh by the wisdom and power the Holy Spirit provides.
The second area of redemption, that of sanctification, is a protracted actual death of the compulsion to sin that resides in our flesh. It is a protracted spiritual resurrection as we change from walking in the sins of the flesh to walking in the holiness of the Life of the Holy Spirit.
The “dying” and “living” consist of a long series of lessons in learning how to resist sin and how to live, speak, think, fight, and minister in the Spirit of God. Such sanctification of behavior requires a period of time, and sometimes we become discouraged “in the wilderness” of testing.
There will come an end to the instruction, at least for the present stage of our transformation into the image of Christ. We will “graduate” eventually. We must not allow ourselves to become weary in the battle. Our end will be glorious if we do not faint.
In the preceding paragraphs we have discussed the sanctification phase of the Christian redemption. Every person who would be a member of the Body of Christ must appear here.
We must be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Upon entering the Life of the Spirit we begin to receive power to minister, and also power to bear the fruit of the image of the moral Character of Christ (Galatians 5:22,23). The law of the Spirit of life guides us in putting to death the deeds of our body. We must confess our sins as the Spirit directs and empowers. We must submit ourselves to God, draw near to God, and resist the devil.
Only then are we prepared and equipped to enter the third aspect of our full redemption.
Conquest: The Third Area of Redemption
Salvation from Divine wrath is the first area of redemption. Salvation requires that we leave the spirit of the world, and includes the birth of Christ in us.
Sanctification is the second area of redemption and has to do with learning to follow the Life of the Holy Spirit rather than the life of the natural man. The natural man is the human, soulish, flesh-and-blood personality that was born of our human parents. The natural personality has a strong tendency toward the lusts of the flesh, covetousness, and self-exaltation.
One of the results of the process of sanctification is the elimination of unclean spirits from our personality.
Conquest is the third area of redemption. Conquest is the level at which we gain victory over every enemy of God and man, particularly over self-love and self-seeking. Such victory begins with salvation, is developed during sanctification, and attains its fullest expression as we follow Christ into obedience to the Father.
Such victory in our lives is made possible by the blood of the Lamb, by the testimony that the Holy Spirit works in us, and by our willingness to love not our own life to the death (Revelation 12:11).
Initial salvation, the first area of redemption, makes it possible for us to enter the plan of redemption.
Sanctification, the second area, is a school. It is the place where we make the transition from the life of flesh to the life of the Spirit.
Conquest, the third area, is the final result, the goal of the first two areas. In the realm of conquest we enjoy the fruitfulness and dominion promised to the heirs of the Kingdom of God.
Conquest comes in a third death and resurrection. The blood of Jesus leads the way toward conquest. The Holy Spirit testifies to us, in us, and through us, moving us along toward the rest of God—the place of total victory in Christ. The final victory depends on our willingness to allow God to slay our will. We must be willing to deny our self. Death to our will is the deepest of the deaths that we die. It leads to the fullness of resurrection glory.
In initial salvation we are assigned to the death of Christ and we share with Him in His stupendous resurrection from the dead.
In sanctification we die to the desires of our flesh and mind and are raised into life lived in the Life of the Holy Spirit of God.
In conquest, the third area of redemption, we die to the deepest level of self—the origin of our identity. God has His own methods of touching the center of our being, often using suffering as a tool.
Death of the self-will. If we allow the Lord to enter the source of our individuality we will be raised into the fullness of fruitfulness and rulership in God the Father as one of His eternal servants (Revelation 22:3; Philippians 2:5-9).
All living creatures, whether physical or spiritual, have wills of their own. Mules, men, and angels all have wills of their own. In bringing us to the fullness of conquest God does not take away or destroy our will; rather, He transforms it until our will corresponds to His will.
It is difficult to die to the deepest levels of the will, even for the most devout Christian. We are glad to be saved from wrath and to be accepted of the Father. We are thankful to be delivered from the sins of the flesh and the other bondages that Satan places on human beings.
The re-creation of the will, the death to what in many instances is lawful, is not easy to accept. However, death to our self-will and self-exaltation leads to the highest realms of fruitfulness and service to God.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. (Mark 8:35)
It is not easy or pleasant to lose one’s life.
There are many flaws in the human will. These flaws must be corrected by the grace of God working through the Lord Jesus Christ before we can serve as kings, priests, and prophets in the Presence of the Lord God of Heaven. Christ was probed for these flaws during His three temptations (Luke, Chapter Four). Christ passed the tests with honors.
Some of the more prominent of the flaws of the will include: presumption, personal ambition, disobedience, double-mindedness, suggestibility, man-pleasing, self-aggrandizement, stubbornness, pride, self-pity, self-destruction, self-preservation.
We Christians are to walk in the way that Christ directs us and not attempt to force spiritual results before the Lord prepares the time and place. There is a significant difference between presumption and aggressive faith, although sometimes we must be prayerful in order to distinguish between the two.
Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. (Psalms 19:13)
Presumption leads to sin and defeat. Faith leads to victory in the Lord.
No person can serve the Lord and personal ambition at the same time. He will end up hating one and cleaving to the other.
Some of the principal motives behind the desire of the elders of Israel to crucify the innocent Christ were their envy, personal ambition, pride of station, desire for self-glorification, and instinct for self-preservation. They were fearful that Christ was threatening their position as the leaders of the Jews.
An uncrucified will can lead to tragedy. Jonah was a disobedient prophet. The nation of Israel, from the time that the people demanded a king until the carrying away into Babylon, witnessed few periods in its history when God was able to bless the nation because of obedience to His ways.
It requires the resources of Heaven and earth in order for the Holy Spirit to create obedience to the Lord in the will of a human being. We by nature are disobedient to the will of God. We must learn obedience, and it is a difficult curriculum.
A double-minded person is unstable in all his ways and cannot proceed in the plan of redemption because he cannot make decisions. Double-mindedness is a flaw in the will.
The Christian who is suggestible is unable to proceed straight on in God’s will because he is open to all voices. Do you recall the prophet who was led into disobedience by the suggestion of an older prophet? (I Kings, Chapter 13).
It is well that we “salute no man by the way,” so to speak, but steadfastly go about our business in the Lord without being led astray by the suggestions of others. We are not recommending that we refuse to heed the advice and counsel of other Christians, because it is a fact that there is wisdom in the multitude of counselors. Rather, we are speaking of being led off course by suggestions and by not bringing each decision that we make into careful prayer before the Lord.
It is impossible to be a true prophet of the Lord if we are given to man-pleasing. Jesus never went out of His way to “sell” the Gospel or to please His listeners. “The fear of man brings a snare.”
If we fear the faces of clay that are looking at us we never will be free to declare the whole counsel of God. We must prepare the Divine food and make it palatable so the sheep will be inclined to eat. However, we never are to hold back what the Holy Spirit is speaking in order to gain the approval of our audience.
Neither self-pity nor harsh criticism of ourselves is pleasing to the Lord or has any place in the Kingdom of God.
We have so much to be thankful for that self-pity is inappropriate. It is impossible for one to be God’s prophet, priest, and king—God’s servant, in other words—while being subject to presumption or personal ambition or disobedience or double-mindedness or suggestibility or man-pleasing or self-pity. Christ is able to correct these flaws in our will so that our will begins to correspond to the will of God.
From self-centeredness to God-centeredness.
In the first death and resurrection, that of salvation, we pass from spiritual death into spiritual life in the Presence of God.
In the second death and resurrection, that of sanctification, we pass from sinful behavior to holy behavior—behavior free from the lusts of the flesh.
In the third death and resurrection, that of conquest, we pass from self-will to God’s will, from self-centeredness to God-centeredness, from self-love to the love of God, from self-seeking to the serving of the Lord Jesus Christ.
As soon as we possess the fullness of Divine Life in body, soul, and spirit, perfect liberty in body, soul, and spirit, and perfect obedience to the Divine will in body, soul, and spirit, having been joined perfectly to God through Christ, then we have been redeemed fully. We are able to receive the fullness of the abiding of the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit.
The product of all three deaths and resurrections is our acceptance by the Lord God and our rest in Him. In the third death and resurrection we die to the imperfections of our will and are raised into the Presence and fellowship of the Father. It is a reaping to the Father. It includes the crucifixion of our self-will.
How blessed to be released from the bondage of having to have our own way! God strikes down our youthful glee, our striving for position and preeminence, our impulsive enthusiasms. We rest in His will.
The means to the righteousness of the first resurrection is the blood of Christ. We overcome the accuser by the blood of the Lamb of God.
The means to the liberty of the second resurrection is the Holy Spirit, who brings us into accord with the written Word of God. We become and we declare the Word of God, and this testimony overcomes the accuser.
The means to the fruitfulness and rulership of the third resurrection are the power of Christ’s resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings. We overcome the accuser by loving not our own life to the death. This is the path to the throne of Christ.
We see that the third death requires a period of time for its accomplishment. It is a protracted death to our tendencies toward presumption, toward the desire to be pleasing to our hearers, to gain the admiration and support of people. The third resurrection is a protracted entering into rulership with God and into restful service to Him in our land of promise.
As soon as we have been saved from wrath, set free from the bondages of sin, and transformed from self-centeredness to Christ-centeredness, we are ready for the making alive of our mortal body. This will occur “in the twinkling of an eye” for those who have prepared themselves, at the glorious appearing of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The fullness of the inheritance will be assigned to those who are faithful to God in each of the three areas of redemption.
The third death and resurrection is typified by the crossing of the Jordan River. It is a change from Christ as Moses, the shepherd, to Christ as Joshua, the commander of battle. It is the throne phase of Christianity.
The Body of Christ, which is the Body of the Anointed Servant of the Lord depicted in Isaiah, Chapter 42, must be in the image of the Head, of the Divine Substance and Nature of the Head, and in union with the Head. Such maturity will be achieved in us by the three areas of redemption proceeding from the grace of God working through the Lord Jesus Christ.
As soon as God has brought His sons through the three areas of redemption it will be time for the Lord Jesus to appear, the hour of the revealing of the sons of God (Romans 8:19). The entrance of Christ and His brothers into the earth will cause the Battle of Armageddon, the confrontation between Christ and Antichrist.
Prior to Armageddon the sons of God must come to know Christ, to know the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings. Then they will be prepared to put down all opposition to the rule of Christ. Christ is King of all kings and Lord of all lords. The creation, whether of the heavens, the earth, or the spirit realms in the interior of the earth, must bow the knee to Him.
Are we willing to have the “sentence of death” in ourselves until we do not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead? Are we willing to be troubled on every side, perplexed, persecuted, cast down, as we attempt to follow the Lord? Are we ready to say yes to the death of the “I will”?
If we consent to die the death God requires of us as an individual we will cross the Jordan, speaking figuratively, and begin to conquer our land of promise. We will enter the Most Holy Place and abide there. We soon will be eating the “old corn of the land” with the Lord Jesus. Eventually we will know and understand as we are known and understood.
We have termed the third area the conquest phase of redemption. Every believer who would rule with Christ must appear here. We must learn to depend on the power of His resurrection, and that power will be wrought in us as we are willing to share in His sufferings. This is the route to becoming part of the Servant of the Lord and to fighting alongside of the Lord in His war against His enemies.
We must accept the sentence of death in ourselves and learn to trust in God who raises the dead. We must never attempt to serve God out of ambition or presumption or neglect to serve Him because of fear, double-mindedness, or disobedience.
Experience teaches us to serve from our position on the cross and to bear our own cross behind Jesus. Our personal cross converts us from the rule of self to the rule of Christ. The cross is the wisdom of God.
Until a disciple consents to serve Christ after this fashion he may be alive to God and he may have victory over many of the sins of the flesh. However, he still is in bondage to his own will. Now he is to allow Christ to bring him over Jordan until he can testify: “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:…” (Galatians 2:20).
The material creation is waiting in the chains of corruption and futility until God’s sons have died to their self-centeredness, until King Jesus rather than King Self is sitting on the throne of their personality (Romans 8:19-21).
Death to self is the third area of redemption. From this vantage point the sons of God will be revealed.
Redemption includes the establishing of a relationship with God such that freedom from the guilt, bondage, and effects of sin is obtained along with release from the bondage of self-will.
The person who is wise, whether he or she is young or old, will turn away from everything else in life, if need be, in order to more perfectly lay hold on the fullness of redemption. It is the Father’s good pleasure to bring many sons through every aspect of redemption—all the way to the full measure of the Glory of God.
There is no route to complete redemption other than by battle against the adversary. Satan is our enemy. He will utilize every device to block our attempts to escape from his influence. But Christ is greater than Satan.
One of God’s greatest joys arises from beholding His son or daughter lay hold on the grace and virtue He has provided through Christ and by them escape from every unclean influence. God anoints us with the Holy Spirit when we love righteousness and hate lawlessness, and when we are perfectly obedient to Him.
The three areas of the heavenlies. It seems to be true that each of the three areas of redemption has its counterpart in the heavenlies. We live spiritually in the heavenlies and physically on earth at the same time. The saved begin to experience the joy and peace of Heaven while they yet are on the earth. However, the material creation and the spirit realm are not joined together at the present time.
Before Adam and Eve rebelled against the Word of God the material creation was alive through the union of the spirit realm with the natural realm—the condition that would be true today if the earth had not been placed under the curse of God.
Satan entered the Garden of Eden, and Adam and Eve were not spiritually mature enough to resist his wiles. Heaven withdrew from the earth. The union of God’s Spirit with the material realm was dissolved. God placed cherubim to guard the way of the Tree of Life so that Adam and Eve would not be able to receive eternal life into their personalities while their flesh and souls were in rebellion against God.
When we Christians die we enter realms of spiritual light, if we have been faithful to Christ. We are placed among people and angels who are received of the Lord God. The realms of spiritual light will serve as a place of rest for us until it is time for the restoration of the union of God’s Spirit with the material realm. Then we will be reunited with our body.
The first level of Heaven is the place where we are accepted of God and enjoy the love, joy, and peace that follow acceptance by Him.
The second level of Heaven seems to be the realm where we minister before God as prophets and priests by the ministries and gifts of the Holy Spirit. The second realm appears also to be that of spiritual activity and battle. Some passages of the Scriptures give us insight into the turbulence and conflict of the second area (Job 1:6; Daniel 10:13; I Thessalonians 2:18, Revelation 12:7; for example).
The third level of Heaven, that which Paul visited either in vision or physically is the area of the Throne of God and of the Lamb. Paul refers to the third Heaven as Paradise (II Corinthians 12:4). God’s will is performed at this highest level of government and authority. Christ abides at the third level, as do the most holy, glorious, and powerful of the angelic creatures (Psalms 103:19,20).
The third level is the domain in which we rule in Christ with fullness of authority and power. It is the third area of redemption. Jesus has promised us that if we are faithful in overcoming we will be raised to sit with Him in the throne of glory.
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:21)
Every Christian, through the blood of his Redeemer, has access to the Throne of God, there to offer adoration and to make his needs known to the Father. The extent to which the believer is able to abide in the Presence of God in every situation depends on his willingness to allow the grace of God to work full redemption in him.
Summary: Three Deaths and Three Resurrections
The first death we must die, as the Divine redemption is worked out in us, is our entrance into the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. It is death to the world.
The first resurrection we are terming salvation. The first resurrection results in our being preserved from destruction throughout all the coming Divine judgments. It is the beginning of life in the Kingdom of God.
The second death is our baptism into the Body of Christ through the Holy Spirit. It is death to our fleshly, animal life, making possible the working out in practical holiness and testimony our new life in the Spirit of God.
The second resurrection we are terming sanctification. The second resurrection is to life lived in the Spirit of God, with the resulting holiness of behavior, and testimony to the Person, will, way, and purposes of the Father.
The third death is the laying down of our will in obedience to the will of God. We may suffer delayed gratification of what we desire fervently. We may be required to continue doing things that are unpleasant. We may be “carried” where we do not choose to go (John 21:18).
The third resurrection we are terming conquest. The third resurrection brings us into oneness with Christ in God, with the resulting achievement of the fullness of the Glory of God. We have been redeemed fully when every aspect of our personality is perfectly at rest in the will of God and lives as an integral, eternal part of Christ.
There are other titles we could have assigned to the third area of resurrection, such as “consecration,” or “perfection,” or “throne-life.” The term conquest suggests the warfare necessary to entrance into the promised-land rest of God, and speaks also of the life of victory in Christ—the dynamic, faith-filled Christian discipleship that keeps on marching toward the “city that hath foundations.”
Christ asks: “Will you die to the world that you may live in the Kingdom of God?” If your answer is yes, He will bring you through death and resurrection.
Christ asks: “Will you follow the Holy Spirit into the holy Fire of God’s Person, allowing your animal passions to be crucified? If your answer is yes, He will bring you a second time through death and resurrection.
Christ asks: “Will you lay down your life for My sake and the Gospel’s?” If your answer is yes, He will bring you a third time through death and resurrection.
What are your answers to His three questions?
The fourth area of the Spirit, the “waters to swim in” of the forty-seventh chapter of the Book of Ezekiel, are not part of the three deaths and resurrections of redemption. Rather, they are the level of service as a tree of life along the banks of the River of Life.