The Ten Facets of Our Salvation (Part 2)
Previously we discussed five of the ten facets of our salvation (regeneration, conversion, repentance, faith and confession). Keep in mind that these are facets and not chronological steps. In this article we continue our discussion of the facets of our salvation by looking at five more facets. It is important to know these facets to get a better appreciation for the Word of God, to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and to know what God has done for us when He provided salvation for us.
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The sixth facet of our salvation is forgiveness, meaning “not to take into account one’s sins”. When God does not take into account the believer’s sins, he or she is forgiven by God. The believer’s sins are sent away, dismissed and overlooked completely. A just Judge cannot pardon or forgive a sinner on the basis of leniency, but rather either the sinner must pay for his or her sins or a substitute must do so on behalf of the sinner. For the unbeliever, he or she will pay for their own sins in the lake of fire; for the believer, he or she has placed their faith in Christ as our Substitute. This leads to the seventh facet of salvation.
A good example of imputation (in the non-salvation sense) is shown in Philemon 17-18: “If then you [Philemon] count me [Paul] a partner, receive him [Onesimus] as myself. But if he [Onesimus] has wronged you [Philemon] at all, or owes you anything, put that to my [Paul’s] account.” Imputation means “to reckon to another”, or to “set down to the account of another”. When a human being exercises faith in the gospel of Christ, the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ is imputed to the believer (Romans 3:21-22; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:8-9). The righteousness of Christ is reckoned to the believer, it is set down to the account of the believer. All this is based upon Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice (Hebrews 9:14; 10:14).
As a facet of our salvation, adoption means that the redeemed person becomes a son or daughter of God with all the privileges of being in God’s family (cf. Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5). As John 1:12 states, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He the right to become children of God, even to them who believe on His name”. God the Father becomes the Father of the believer by adoption, the Church age believer is baptised into Christ and the Holy Spirit indwells the believer.
There are many effects of this adoption. As a child of God, the believer not only becomes a recipient of the care and compassion of God (cf. Luke 11:11-13), but also becomes subject to correction and discipline (Hebrews 12:5-11). The believer now has the right to approach God in boldness, appearing before the throne (Hebrews 4:14-16). There should be an increasing conformity to the image of the Son of God in the believer. As brethren of Christ (Hebrews 2:11), we also become heirs and joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17; Galatians 4:7), living in the freedom of functioning in the sphere of God’s grace (Romans 8:14-15; Galatians 4:6-7).
A believer can know that he or she has salvation —and this is called assurance. (This is not quite the same issue as eternal security.) Three key principles need to be grasped. First, salvation is a free gift from God apart from merit: there is nothing meritorious that one can do to gain salvation; there is nothing unmeritorious one can do to lose salvation. Second, salvation is a work of God for humankind; it is not a work of human beings. Third, concerning the nature of salvation, this is based on the finished and complete work of Christ on the cross.
As the ninth facet of salvation, assurance is a confirming testimony of the believer’s experience (2 Corinthians 13:5). The Bible says we can know that we have been saved and we ought to believe the promises of God (John 1:12; 1 John 5:13). The source of assurance is therefore the Word of God, the Holy Spirit who does the work of assurance (1 John 2:27-29; 4:13) as well as works which a believer should do after he or she has been saved (cf. 1 John 2:3-5).
The First epistle of John is very much concerned with assurance. As explained in more detail in Fruchtenbaum’s article, the following 13 tests (some requiring positive answers and some requiring negative answers) from 1 John can be applied so that we can have the assurance that we have been saved:
- Do you enjoy fellowship with God (1 John 1:3-4)?
- Do you have a sensitivity to sin (1 John 1:5-10)?
- Are you living in obedience to God’s commands? (1 John 2:3-5)?
- What is your attitude towards the world? (1 John 2:15)?
- Do you love Jesus Christ and do you look forward to his return (1 John 3:2-5)?
- Do you practice sin, especially habitual sin (1 John 3:4)?
- Do you provoke others to love (1 John 3:14)?
- Do you experience answered prayer (1 John 3:22; 5:15)?
- Do you have the inner witness of the Holy Spirit (1 John 3:24; 4:13)?
- Do you have the ability to discern between spiritual truth / error (1 John 4:1-6)?
- Do you believe in the basic doctrines of the Christian faith (1 John 4:1)?
- Do you have inner peace (1 John 3:19-21)?
- Do you love the brethren (1 John 2:7-11; 3:11-18)?
The tenth facet of our salvation looks to the future, when believers will reach a state of perfection (Romans 8:28-30). When believers are glorified, we will no longer be able to sin; we will no longer have the sin nature (Colossians 1:22). In our glorified state, we will be free from stumbling and be purified (Philippians 1:10), irreproachable (1 Corinthians 1:8), faultless (1 Thessalonians 3:13; 5:23) and spotless (Ephesians 5:25-27). Further, believers will have full knowledge (1 Corinthians 13:-9-12) — but never be omniscient as God is. When believers are glorified, they will receive new glorified bodies (1 Corinthians 15:50-58), be vindicated by God (Romans 8:31-39) and receive their inheritance in God’s kingdom as God determines (Ephesians 1:13-14; 1 Peter 1:3-5).
This concludes a two-part series of the ten facets of our salvation. In Christ there is much to be thankful for and much to look forward to!
If you would like to read more about this important topic, we suggest you read the original article and source of this summary, The Ten Facets Of Our Salvation, written by Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum.
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