The Vocabulary of Salvation
By Joe Banghart
Table of Contents
- Repentance/Part 1
- Repentance/Part 2
- Regeneration/Part 1
- Regeneration/Part 2
- Regeneration/Part 3
- Adoption/Part 1
- Adoption/Part 2
- Supplication/Part 1
- Supplication/Part 2
- Supplication/Part 3
- Supplication/Part 4
- Sanctification/Part 1
- Sanctification/Part 2
- Sanctification/Justification Compared
- Preservation and Ordain
- Preservation and Forknowledge
- Election and Forknowledge
- Salvation and the Soul, Spirit, and Body
- Assurance of Salvation
There are at least fifteen key words that should be understood when a person studies the vocabulary of salvation. “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways and sinners shall be converted unto thee” (Ps.51:13, Mt. 18:3; Acts 3:19; 15:3; Jas. 5:20). The Greek word translated “conversion” has reference to a twofold turning on the part of an individual. One has to do with repentance (a turning from) and the other with faith (a turning to). Repentance has been misunderstood by many individuals. The study today will only examine what repentance is not. Many people will seek to reform or turn over a new leaf as part of a new years resolution. Repentance is more than this process. Repentance is not remorse, the act of regretting the fruit of one’s crime, but not the root. Examples of individuals in the Bible that had remorse are Esau (Heb.12:17; Gen. 27) Judas in Matthew 27:3-5 as he went out and hanged himself. Repentance is not penitence, that act of attempting to make up for one’s sins through good works. Many in this new year will work hard doing great things yet the efforts will be with the intent of making up for one’s own sin’s through good works. O Lord help us understand in this brief study what repentance is not so we can understand what true conversion according to the Bible, the Word of God actually is.
What is repentance? As taught by Christ, “for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mt. 9:13). “I tell you, nay; but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Lk. 13:5). Then in Luke 15:7: 24:47 and as found in how Jesus dealt with many individuals as in John 3. John preached repentance in Matthew 3:2 & 8). In the ministry of Peter (Acts 2:38 & 3:19) and in the ministry of Paul (Acts 26:20; 17:30). Repentance is a voluntary and sincere change in the mind of the sinner, causing him to turn from his sin. It should be noted here that we said sin and not sins. True repentance involves the turning from one specific sin, the previous rejection of Christ. True repentance for the salvation of one’s soul is not the effort of God trying to convince that individual to give up smoking, swearing, drinking, and illicit sex, as bad as these may be, for this will never save him. The great sin, which will eventually condemn any individual forever, is the rejection of Jesus Christ. Repentance therefore deals with a turning from this horrible crime of spurning Calvary. Without this specific type of repentance you can not have true conversion according to the Bible. O Lord help us help others turn through repentance to Christ.
“Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance towards God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). Repentance and faith are two sides of the coin of conversion. The understanding of both is essential for conversion. What is faith? It is not a blind leap into the dark, supposition, speculation, or an opinion or hypothesis. It is a voluntary and sincere change in the mind of the sinner, causing him to turn to the Savior. Repentance is a turning from the sin of rejecting Christ, and faith is a turning to Christ. How are these produced or introduced into life so all may have the opportunity to receive Christ? “So, then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Rom. 10:17). This is necessary in order that we may please God, “But without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6). The individual sinner is saved by repentance and faith (Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:8,9). The individual saint is sanctified or grows in grace after salvation by faith. The saint when faith is applied can live (Rom. 1:17), stand (2 Cor. 1:24, walk (2 Cor. 5:7), fight (I tim. 6:12), and overcome (I Jn. 5:4). Our first three daily studies have dealt with the first of fifteen words found in the vocabulary of salvation. Faith is essential for our life and we must practice it each day if Christ is to be at the very center of all we do and think.
The second of fifteen key words in the study of salvation is substitution. “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God” (I Pet. 3:18). In the Old Testament we have temporary substitution prior to Calvary as the sheep died for the shepherd. Read Genesis 22:10-13, Exodus 12:3-7& 12,13. Permanent substitution is found in the New Testament because the blood of bulls and goats could not take away our sins when Christ came. “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Heb. 10:4). In the New Testament times, after Calvary, the Shepherd died for the sheep, “I am the good shepherd, the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep” (Jn. 10:11). Thus, Christ became on the cross what he was not-namely, sin that we might become what we were not-namely, righteous. The Son of God became the Son of man that sons of men might become the sons of God. (2 Cor. 5:21). Salvation is a person’s repentance by faith of the sin of rejection of Christ accepting his substitution for that sin upon Calvary. As we share our faith with others it is vital that they understand these events. This can happen by each of us allowing the Word of God to flow through us as we talk with others about being saved. When is the last time you shared your faith with a person who was not saved?
The third word in our study of the vocabulary of salvation is “reconciliation.” “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself” (2 Cor. 5:19). In the Old Testament the Hebrew word “kaphar,” which means to cover something, is found some eighty-three times. Of these it is translated “atonement” seventy-six times and “reconciliation” seven times. In the New Testament the Greek word “allasso” means to change from that of enmity to that of friendship (Eph. 22:16; Col. 1:20-22; Rom. 5:10; 2 Cor. 5:18-20). What is the implications of the word reconciliation? That a previous animosity once existed and the offended party (or parties) now views things differently. The two phases of reconciliation are God has reconciled himself to the world through Christ (2 Cor. 5:18, 19), and man is to now reconcile himself to God through Christ ( 2 Cor. 5:20). What is the history of reconciliation? In the Garden of Eden God and man originally faced each other in fellowship and after the fall God and man turned from each other because of the sin Adam and Eve committed. Then at Calvary God turned his face toward man and because of this at conversion (through repentance and faith) man turns his face towards God. Purpose in your heart to share Christ with someone today?
The fourth word in our study of the vocabulary of salvation is “propitiation.” “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). “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (I Jn. 4:10). The Greek word for propitiation is hilasmos and means “to render favorable, to satisy, to appease.” The method of propitiation is found “through faith in his blood”(Christ on Calvary)(Rom. 3:25; Eph. 2:13). Propitiation is necessary because of God’s wrath, his stern reaction of the divine nature of evil in man (Jn. 3:36; Rom. 1:18; Eph. 5:6; Col. 3:6; Rev. 6:16; 11:18; 14:10; 19:15). In the Old Testament propitiation found a temporary place at the mercy seat in the tabernacle (Ex. 25:22; Heb. 9:5-7). In the New Testament propitiation has a permanent place at the center cross on Golgotha (Rom. 5:10; Col. 1:20). The results of propitiation demonstrates God is justified in forgiving sin and bestowing righteousness (Rom. 3:25, 26). Thank you Lord propitiation and the gift of your Son on Calvary for mans rejection of you.
The fifth word in our study of the vocabulary of salvation is remission.” “To him (Jesus) gave all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43; see also Mt. 26:28; Lk. 24:47; Heb. 9:22). The meaning (concept) of remission is practically synonymous with the word forgiveness. Remission refers to a sending back, a putting away. The Old Testament example of remission is found in (Lev. 16:21, 22). How can God possibly reconcile his holiness and righteousness to his mercy and grace? Paul writes the answer for us, “To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26). The uniqueness of remission found as compared to all fifteen words associated with salvation is remission alone has to do with subtraction, whereas all other terms speak of glorious addition. Thank you O Lord that through remission of our sins you have put them away and we have victory through and in you.
The sixth word in our study of the vocabulary of salvation is redemption. “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed us from the curse of the law” (Gal. 3:13). “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” (Rev. 5:9). Redemption has a three fold meaning. First to pay a ransom price for something or someone (Heb. 9:12). Second to remove from a slave market place (Gal. 3:13). Third to effect a full release (Rom. 8:22, 23). One of the most important Old Testament offices was that of a goel, or kinsman-redeemer. There were three requirements a goel had to fulfill. First he must be a near kinsman (Lev. 24:48, 49). Second He must be able to redeem (Jer. 50:34). Third he must be willing to redeem. Jesus Christ successfully fulfilled all three of these requirements. Christ became a near kinsman (Heb. 2:14-16; 4:15). He was able to redeem (Jn. 10:11, 18). He was willing to redeem (Heb. 10: 11, 18). What is the costliness of redemption? “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptial 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 Pet. 1:18, 19).
The seventh word in our study of the vocabulary of salvation is regeneration. This is the first of three studies of the word regeneration. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5). Regeneration is the process whereby God through a second birth imparts to the believing sinner a new nature. “Jesus answered and said unto him (Nicodemus), Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Other scripture for our study include John 1:12, 13 and I John 5:1. Why is regeneration necessary? The answer is clear in scripture and shows that by nature all men are dead to God (Eph. 2:1), children of wrath (Eph. 2:3), sons of disobedience (Eph. 2:2), and cursed with Adam’s sin nature. What is the extent of regeneration ? It is first for each individual as mentioned in Titus 3:5. Second regeneration is applied to nature its self which will transpire during the millennium (Mt. 19:28; Rom. 8:19-23). Three factors are vital for the sinner to experience regeneration. The Word of God,(Jn. 3:5; Eph. 5:26; Jas. 1:18; I Pet. 1:23), the man of God (Rom. 10:13-15; I Cor. 4:15; Phil. 1:10), and third the Spirit of God (Jn. 3:5, 6; I Cor. 2:14).
The second of three studies of the word regeneration warrant a careful look at why the three factors of regeneration are vital. Those factors from our previous study where the Word of God, man of God, and Spirit of God. No sinner has been saved since Adam apart from these factors. Some may say that many people have come to Christ alone after reading a gospel tract or speaking to another individual. This proves the necessity for someone somewhere to have said or placed in writing the message of Christ. The Holy Spirit is looking for individuals that will be soul-winners and usher sinners into the kingdom of God. It is the responsibility of every saved individual to share the message of Christ with others. It is not just the responsibility of the preacher, elders, deacons, or other church officers. All of us fail in this area of our Christian life. Can you imagine what would happen if each of us spoke about Christ and His love for the lost each day to at least one person? One human factor that is keeping us from doing this is fear. My prayer for us today is that fear will not stand in the way of each of us speaking to someone today about Christ. Christ clearly tells us this is our responsibility, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven”(Matt. 10:32).
The third study of regeneration examines what a person who has experienced regeneration should love. First they love other Christians, “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren, He that loveth not his brother, abideth in death” (I Jn. 3:14). Second they love Jesus, “ Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God; and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him” (I Jn. 5:1, 2). Third they love the separated life, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (I Jn. 2:15). Fourth he loves his enemies, “But I say unto you love your enemies…” (Mt. 5:43-45). Fifth they love the Word of God,”Thy testimonies also are my delight, and my counselors”(Ps. 119:24, 40, 47, 48, 72, 97). Sixth they love the souls of men, “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have a great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsman according to the flesh”(Rom. 9:1-3; 10:1; 2 Cor. 5:14). And seventh they love prayer (Eph. 5:19, 20). Do we love these things? Are these loves an indication that we have experienced regeneration?
The 8th word in our study of the vocabulary of salvation is imputation. “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin” (Rom. 4:8). The definition of imputation is “the act of one person adding something good or bad to the account of another person.” There are three kinds of imputation in the Bible. The first is the imputation of Adam’s sin upon the human race, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Rom. 5:12). This first imputation seems totally unjust unless we study the other two imputations in scripture. The second imputation is the race’s sin upon Christ, “That he, by the grace of God, should taste death for every man” (Heb. 2:9; Isa. 53:5; 53:11; I Pet. 2:24). The first imputation was a unwilling one (for no human would voluntarily accept Adam’s guilt), but the second imputation was effected upon a totally willing volunteer, Christ, (Jn. 10:11, 18). The third imputation is God’s righteousness upon the believing sinner, (Phil. 3:7-9). This imputation like the second must be voluntary. God forces the righteousness of Christ upon no one.
The 9th word in our study of the vocabulary of salvation is adoption. “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Gal. 4:4,5). This is the first of two studies concerning adoption. The word adoption literally means “the placing of a son.” Regeneration gives one his nature as a child of God, whereas adoption gives him his position as a son of God (Rom. 8:15-23; 2 Cor. 6:18; Gal. 4:4-6; Eph. 1:5). The Bible meaning of adoption differs from civil adoption. First,a person would never adopt their own natural children, but God never adopts any other. Second civil adoption provides comfort for the childless or those that desire a larger family than they currently have, but God had a beloved Son (Mt. 3:17; 17:5) prior to adopting us. Third there are usually many pleasing characteristics in a civil adopted child, but not in God’s children prior to their adoption (Rom. 3:10-18). Fourth civil adoption could never give the child the nature of the father, but God’s adopted are given the very mind of Christ (I Cor. 2:16). Fifth in some cases, civil adoption could be declared null and void, but God’s adopted are absolutely secure.
This is the second study of the word adoption. In this study we will examine how spiritual adoption compares with civil adoption. In the historical process of civil adoption and with spiritual adoption the father must begin the action leading to adoption (Isa. 1:18; Jn. 3:16). Both civil and spiritual adoptions give an inheritance to one who previously had none (Rom. 8:17; I Pet. 1:1-9). Both adoptions provide a new name (Jn. 1:42; Rev. 2:17). The adoption by God for all that will trust Christ provides an intimacy that only Jesus himself had used until calvary (Mt. 26:42; Mk. 14:36). This intimacy with God allows us to cry, “Whereby we cry, Abba, Father”(Rom. 8:15). The spiritual adoption allows us an inheritance with the Son, “Joint heirs with Christ”(Rom. 8:17). As adopted children do we live a life that helps others see what family we are a part of? Do we act like the family of the world or the family of God? Can others tell that God is our Heavenly Father? What are we doing to help others become a part of our spiritual family?
The 10th word in our study of the vocabulary of salvation is supplication (PRAYER). This is the first of four studies concerning prayer. “I exhort therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men”(I Tim. 2:1). “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit”(Eph. 6:18). “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God”(Phil. 4:6). Prayer may best be defined as “having fellowship with God.” It is more than just talking to God, but rather talking with God. It has been said that no sinner is saved without prayer and no believer is sanctified (to grow in grace) apart from prayer. Our supplications (prayers) may be like Solomon’s prayer which is one of the longest in the Bible, with thirty verses (I Ki. 8:23-53) or like Peter’s prayer (one of the shortest, with one verse containing three words (Mt. 14:30) but in any case supplication (prayer) must be a part of our life each day. Are we praying as we should each and every day?
The second study of supplication (prayer) examines the elements of prayer found within the model prayer of Christ (Mt. 6:9-13). “Our Father” signifies the relationship between God and the believer. “Which art in heaven” is a picture of faith and Paul tells us without this element our prayers are useless (Heb. 11:6). “Hallowed be thy name” is a picture of worship. In John 4:23-24 Christ teaches us about how to worship the Father “in spirit and in truth.” “Thy kingdom come” is a statement of expectation of the blessed millennial kingdom spoken of in the Old and New Testament (Isa. 2:2-4; Rev. 20:1-6). “Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” This is a statement of submission and the greatest example is in Gethsemane (Mt. 26:39). “Give us this day our daily bread.” This teaches that our praying should be as our eating-daily. “And forgive us our debts.” This is confession and teaches only confessed sins can be forgiven (I Jn. 1:9). “as we forgive our debtors” is compassion (see Mt. 18:21-35 and I jn. 4:20). “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” It should be understood that while God has never promised to keep us from temptations, he has promised to preserve us in and through temptation (I Cor. 10:13). “For thine is the kingdom, and power, and glory forever.” This is our acknowledgement of the power of God.
The third study of supplication (prayer) examines reasons for prayer. We should pray because of the repeated command of God (Rom.12:12;Col.4:2), the example of Christ (Heb.5:7; I Pet. 2:21-23), and the example of the early church (Acts 1:14; 2:42; 6:4). Prayer is God’s method for our use to accomplish defeating the devil (Lk. 22:32), saving the sinner (Lk. 18:13), restoring the backslider (Jas. 5:16), strengthening the saint (Jude 20), sending forth laborers (Mt. 9:38; Acts 13:2, 3), curing the sick (Jas. 5:13-15), Glorifying God’s name (Rev. 5:8; 8:2-4), accomplishing the impossible (Mt. 21:22; Jas. 5:17-18), giving good things (Mt. 7:7-11), imparting wisdom (Jas. 1:5), bestowing peace (Phil. 4:5-7), keeping one from sin (Mt. 26:41), and revealing the will of God (Lk. 11:9, 10). We should not allow anything to stand in the way of us praying. Some have ask, “To whom should we pray? To the Father, the Son, or the Spirit?” The basic New Testament rule is this: Prayer should be made to the Father, through the Spirit, in the name of Jesus (Rom. 8:15, 16, 26, 27). Prayer is something we can all do, should do, and we cannot find the peace of God without it.
The fourth study of supplication (prayer) helps explain answers to the following three questions. What position should we be in when we pray? What time of the day should we pray? What are some hindrances to prayer? No particular position is specific in scripture, it is prayer from the heart that counts. People prayed standing (Mk. 11:25), sitting (1 Chron. 17:16-27), bowing (Ex. 34:8), lying (Ps. 6:6), prostrated (Ps. 28:2), on one’s face (Mt. 26:39), on one’s knees (I Ki. 8:54; Acts 20:36), and with the face between the knees (1 Ki. 18:4). What are times of the day that people prayed? Early in the morning (Mk. 1:35), at noon (Ps. 55:17), late in the afternoon (Acts 3:1), in the evening (Ps. 141:2), and at midnight (Acts 16:25). What are some hindrances to prayer that we should be aware of and be on the watch for? Known sin (Ps. 66:18), insincerity (Mt. 6:5), carnal motives (Jas. 4:3), unbelief (Jas. 1: 5, 6), Satanic activity (Dan. 10:10-13), domestic problems (I Pet. 3:7), pride (Lk. 18:10-14), robbing God (Mal. 3:8-10), refusing to help the needy (Prov. 21:3; I John 3: 16, 17), refusing to submit to biblical teaching (Prov. 1:24-28; 28:9), and refusing to forgive or be forgiven (Mt. 5:23, 24; 6: 12, 14).
The 11th great word in our study of the vocabulary of salvation is justification. “How then can a man be justified with God? Or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?” (Job 25:4). “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1). It does not mean to be acquitted, that is to successfully defend oneself against all charges (Rom. 3:19). It does not mean to be pardoned, that is, to be found guilty, but given a second chance. It does not mean to be paroled, that is, to be guilty and set free with certain restrictions. The great theologian A. Strong defines justification in the following way: “By justification we mean that judicial act of God which, on account of Christ, to whom the sinner is united by faith, He declares that sinner to be no longer exposed to the penalty of the law, but restored to His favor.” The method of justification is by faith, “Therefore it is by faith that it might be grace” (Rom. 4:16). The results of justification are the remission of sins penalty (Acts 13:38, 39; Rom. 4:7), the restoration of divine favor (Rom. 5:1-11), and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness (Mt. 22:11,Lk. 15:22-24). Man justifies only the innocent, but God only the guilty. Man justifies on the basis of self-merit, but God on the basis of the Saviour’s merit.
The 12th great word in our study of the vocabulary of salvation is sanctification. This is the first of two studies concerning sanctification. “And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth” (Jn. 17:19). “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleans it” (Eph. 5:25, 26). “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification” (I Thess. 4:3). It is not the eradication of the sinful nature (PHIL 3:12-14). Christians cannot be sinless yet through sanctification sin less. It is not the “second blessing.” Paul describes the Corinthian believers in his first epistle as already being sanctified (I Cor. 1:2; 6:11). It is not the baptism of the Holy spirit ( I Cor. 12:13). What is the meaning of sanctification? Sanctification occurs in various forms some 300 times in the New Testament and 760 times in the Old Testament for a total of 1060 in the Bible. The basic meaning in all these instances is “to set apart.” Days and seasons were sanctified (Gen. 2:3; Deut. 5:12). Physcial objects were sanctified, people were sanctified, one man could sanctify another, God sanctified Christ, Christ sanctified himself, believers are to sanctify God.
The second study of sanctification examines the process listed in Romans 6: 1-6 by Paul on how we can achieve sanctification. “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death:” (Rom. 6:4). Here Paul is saying that Christ not only died for me but as me. The word “baptism” as used in this verse means “identification.” Then we are “planted together…in the likeness of his resurrection” (6:5). The believer is “Dead to sin” (Rom. 6:2), and “Freed from sin” (Rom. 6:7). Sin is personified as a cruel tyrant who taxes his subjects beyond all endurance. The only way to beat the rap is to die! This then renders inactive (but does not remove) the body of sin and makes it powerless (Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 3:9, 10). “Reckon ye” (Rom. 6:11, 12). We are to act by faith upon these facts. “Obey ye” (6:16). We can serve but one master (Mt. 6:24). Why then are we to obey these teachings because we are “freed from sin” (Rom. 6:22). The Latin “Posse non pecare” is one of three theological terms that clarify this doctrine and means “able not to sin.” This describes each person after salvation. It shows we now have the power to live victorious lives over sin by the Word of God as we learn more each day of His will for our life.
It will help us understand the work of sanctification and justification with a contrast of the two words. Justification deals with our standing, while sanctification deals with our state. Justification is that which God does for us, while sanctification is that which God does in us. Justification is an act, while sanctification is a work. Justification is the means, while sanctification is the end. Justification makes us safe, while sanctification makes us sound. Justification declares us good, while sanctification makes us good. Justification removes the guilt and penalty of sin, while sanctification checks the growth and power of sin. Justification furnishes the track which leads to heaven, while sanctification furnishes the train. Here is a quote I have placed in my Bible that helps me understand sanctification (Holiness). “Holiness is not realized by my endeavor, but by His working in me when I have given Him His chance.” I give him this chance as I study His Word and repent of sins that stand between my life and Christ. Often the longest list in my life has been sins of omission. These are the things I should do for Christ, found in His Word, that I am not doing. It should be our prayer that we would grow in sanctification each day as we serve Christ on this earth.
The 13th word in our study of the vocabulary of salvation is glorification. “Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified” (Rom. 8:30). “By whom also we have access by faith unto this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Rom. 5:2). Glorification is the ultimate and absolute physical, mental, and spiritual perfections of all believers (Rom. 8:22, 23; I Cor. 15:41-44, 51-55; 2 Cor. 4:14-18). It will begin at the rapture and continue throughout all eternity (I Cor. 15:51-53; I Thess. 4:13-18). The Hebrew word for “glory” is kabod, which means literally “to be heavy,” lending itself to that one laden down with riches (Gen. 31:1), power (Isa. 8:7), and position (Gen. 45:13). The Greek word for glory is doxa, which means literally “to manifest an honorable opinion.” Both words often suggest the brightness and brilliance of supernatural light. These words by the meanings of each may suggest believer’s glorified body will be supernaturally enriched and empowered to serve God in an appointed position by radiating the brightness of grace to angels and the universe.
The 14th word in our study of the vocabulary of salvation is preservation. “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly: and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it” (I Thess. 5:23, 24). No other term has caused as many discussions and divisions among Christians as the word preservation. This has been true especially during the sixteenth century and within current theological debates. We will take multiple lessons to better understand it’s meaning. We will consider a study of eight words to help us see the complete teaching of preservation found in scripture. The first word is decree “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him, and for him” (Col. 1:16). The decree of God is defined by the Westminster Shorter Catechism as follows: “The decree of God is His eternal purpose according to the counsel of His will, whereby, for His own glory, He hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.”
The word decree concerning God, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev. 4:11). In his book Systematic Theology, L. Berkhof lists seven characteristics involved in God’s decree. It is founded in divine wisdom, (Eph. 3:9-11). It is eternal, “Known unto God are all his works, from the beginning of the world” (Acts 15:18). It is efficacious (effective), “The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever” (Ps. 33:11). It is immutable meaning God is not deficient in knowledge, veracity, or power, (Acts 2:22-24). It is unconditional or absolute. This means it is not dependent upon the weather, the goodness or badness of men, or any other outside factor, (Dan. 4:25-37). It is universal and all-comprehensive, (Eph. 1:11). It is, with reference to sin, permissive. It is a decree which renders the future sinful act absolutely certain, but in which God determines (a) not to hinder the sinful self-determination of the finite will; and (b) to regulate and control the result of this self-determination” (Ps. 78:29; 106:15; Acts 14:16; 17:30).
Preservation and Ordain
Another word that is important in understanding preservation is ordain. The Greek word for ordain is tasso and basically means “appoint.” To ordain means “to place or put in order, to arrange.” In the New Testament we have three nontheological examples and at least two that have direct theological connections. The nontheological references are, “then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus appointed them” (Mt. 28:16 and Lk. 7:8; Rom. 13:1). The theological references are, “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believe” (Acts 13:48). “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 a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was forordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you” (I Pet. 1:18-20).
Preservation and Forknowledge
The word preservation is connected with forknowledge (Greek, proginosko). The word foreknowledge means, “to know experientially, to know beforehand.” This foreknowledge is found in multiple areas within the Bible. In the realm of creation, “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world” (Acts 15:18). With God’s dealing directly with the nation of Israel, “I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid…God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew” (Rom. 11:1, 2). The crucifixion pictures God’s foreknowledge, “Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having lossed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it” (Acts 2:23, 24). The foreknowledge of God and the believer can be seen in both the physical and spiritual. The believer’s physical condition is in Psalms 139. The spiritual condition is clear, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate” (Rom. 8:29). “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father” (I Pet. 1:2).
Election and Forknowledge
The word election has a direct connection with forknowledge. The Greek word for election is eklektos and means, “to pick or choose from a number.” The Bible list at least eight ways God used election for the appointment of a specific task. Christ was God’s elect, “A living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious” (I Pet. 2:4). A certain group of angels have been elected, “I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels” (I tim. 5:21). Israel was an elect nation, “The God of this people of Israel chose our father” (Acts 13:17). Believing Jews are elect, “Even so, at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace” (Rom. 11:5). Certain men were elected to perform important tasks in God’s ministry, Jeremiah, David, Abraham, John the Baptist, Paul and others. The twelve apostles were elected by God, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you (Jn. 15:16). The plan of salvation was chosen by God (I Cor. 1:27, 29). The people of salvation were chosen by God (Rom. 8:33; Eph. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13, 2 Tim. 2:10).
The word counsel (Greek, boulema), refers to “deliberate and willful intention.” “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Eph. 1:11). This is one use of the word as it speaks of the intention of God to save the elect. Other Biblical examples include: the intention of the Paharisees to kill Christ (Jn. 11:53). The intention of the Pharisees to kill Peter and John (Acts 5:33). The intention of the centurion to save Paul (Acts 27:43). The intention of God to offer up Christ (Acts 2:23). The intention of God to control all things, “The counsel of the Lord standeth forever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations” (Ps. 33:11). “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Isa. 46:10). What a wonderful word for our study in that it is the “deliberate and willful intention” of a loving God to save all that will trust in Jesus Christ as personal savior.
A word that has been used to cause division among many Christians and is vital in the study of the Vocabulary of Salvation is predestination (Greek, proorizo, horizo). The word predestinate is “to mark out beforehand, to determine a boundry.” The English word “horizon” comes from horizo. It is our horizon, of course, which marks out the earth from the sky. The Greek word is also translated by the words “determination” and “declaration.” It is used to declare the deity of Christ, “And declared to be the Son of God with power; according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:4). It is used in the predetermining of the national boundaries (Acts 17:24-26). Then it is used of believers in being conformed to Christ, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified” (Rom. 8:29-30). The bible clearly presents clear language for the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man. God will always complete His part it is our part that often lacks. Our responsibility is to accept Christ as our savior and allow the Holy Spirit and Word of God to change us each day to be more like him. We should always be a witness to others of the love of Christ.
Another word directly connected to preservation is purpose (Greek, prothesis ). This literally means a “setting forth.” The first illustration of this word is found in the setting forth of the shewbread in the tabernacle, “For there was a tabernacle made; the first wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary” (Heb. 9:2). Second the setting forth of nations from judgement (Assyria, Isa. 14:26; Tyre, Isa. 23:9; Babylon, Isa. 46:11; and Israel, Jer. 4:28;51:29). Then the setting forth of Pharaoh as an object of God’s judgement (Rom. 9:17). Last the setting forth of the divine plan to work through Isaac (instead of Ishmael) and Jacob (instead of Esau) (Rom. 9:6-13). What is it in our life that God is “setting forth?” What has He called us to accomplish for Him during this day? What is our individual purpose for God granting us another day, week, month, or year to continue in this life? Our prayer should be that we would live within the purpose of God for our life each day. “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 1:16).
The last word that has direct connection with preservation is called (Greek, kaleo, klesis). The word mean’s “to officially summon.” “That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory” (I Thess. 2:12). “Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2 Tim. 1:9). The word called is also used in reference to Jesus’ parables (Mt. 20:8; 25:14). Our spiritual life is a call from God for each of us to give of all that God has given us back to him. How can we not respond to the call of God each and every day? Our human ability to call someone concerning any topic is limited. God’s ability in calling everyone unto salvation is unlimited. God is calling today, will we answer? Will we allow God to use us so others can answer His call?
Salvation and the Soul, Spirit, and Body
We have concluded our study of words connected with salvation and will spend the final two studies looking at the completeness of salvation and the security we have in our salvation. The salvation of God fully embraces man’s soul, spirit, and body. In regards to man’s natural body, “It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body”(1 Cor. 15:44). “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself”(Phil. 3:21). Salvation in regard to man’s soul, “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the vail” (Heb. 6:19). “Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls” (1 Pet. 1:9). Salvation in regard to man’s spirit, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Rom. 8:16). “The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen” (2 Tim. 4:22;also Heb. 12:23). When we are saved it is a complete process that includes mans spirit, soul, and body. It is vital that we understand this completeness and study scripture that teach us concerning the totality of our salvation.
Assurance of Salvation
What about our assurance of salvation? “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (I Jn. 5:13). “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves” (2 Cor. 13:5). In his book on salvation Dr. Robert Gromacki list twelve things by which one may test his salvation experience. First, have you enjoyed spiritual fellowship with God, with Christ, and with fellow believers? (I Jn. 1:3,4). Second, do you have a sensitivity to sin? (I jn. 1:5-10). Third, are you basically obedient to the commandments of Scripture? (1 Jn. 2:3-5). Fourth, what is your attitude toward the world and its values? (1 Jn. 2:15). Fifth, do you love Jesus Christ and look forward to his coming? (2 Tim. 4:8; 1 Jn. 3:2,3). Sixth, do you practice sin less now that you have professed faith in Christ? (1 Jn. 3:5,6). Seventh, do you love other believers? (1 Jn. 3:14). Eighth, have you experienced answered prayer? (1 Jn. 3:22;5:14, 15). Ninth, do you have the inner witness of the Holy Spirit? (Rom. 8:15, 16; 1 Jn. 4:13). Tenth, do you have the ability to discern between spiritual truth and error? (Jn. 10:3-5, 27; 1 Jn. 4:1-6). Eleventh, do you believe the basic doctrines of the faith? (1 Jn. 5:1). Twelfth, have you experienced persecution for your Christian position? (Jn. 15:18-20; Phil. 1:28).