By Dr Cornelius K. McClinton, BA (Hons); MA; Ph.D.; D.Litt. Ulster/American Christian Fellowship
- Justification: a change of standing - before God. (Habukkuk 2:4) (Romans 5:1-6)
- Regeneration: a change of nature - from God. (John 3:3-8) (Ezekiel 37:1-10)
- Repentance: a change of mind - about God and sin. (2 Chronicles 7:14) (Acts 2:38)
- Conversion: a change of life - for God, in Christ Jesus. (2 Corinthians 5:17) (Romans 12:1-2)
- Adoption: a change of family - in God. (Hosea 2:23) (Romans 9:24-26)
- Sanctification: a change of service - to God. (1 Chronicles 29:5b) (Colossians 3:22-24)
- Redemption: a change of Master - God Himself. (Joshua 24:14-24) (Luke 16:13)
- Substitution: a change of places - by Christ, as God. (Leviticus 16:20-22) (2 Corinthians 5:21)
- Glorification: a future change of body - as God’s. (1 Corinthians 15:51-58) (Romans 8:29) (1 John 3:2)
- Faith: the gracious gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
- Reconciliation: of sinful mankind to our Holy God. (Romans 5:10)
- Imputation: the Righteousness of God imputed to man. (Galatians 3:6)
- Propitiation: Christ satisfies the Holy wrath of God. (1 John 4:10)
Justification by Faith: a change of standing - before God.
Definition of the term: To justify means to legally acquit, to declare righteous; it is the opposite to condemn. (Deuteronomy 25:1)
Our God Almighty is a Holy and Righteous God. (Habukkuk 1:13)
(1 John 1:5b)
As born sinners (Psalm 51:5), mankind is therefore born guilty of sin in God’s Holy eyes, and to remain a Holy God, the Lord God Jehovah is duty bound, by His own pure Holiness, to punish sin and to condemn all sinners to an Eternal Hell! (Psalm 9:17) No sin can enter Heaven!
(1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
Justifying is the Judge’s Act: To receive Justification therefore, if one is being tried in the dock of a court, means that the accused (you and I!) receives the verdict of ‘not guilty’ from the judge. (Isaiah 43:9;25-26)
In Scripture, God is the Righteous “...Judge of the whole earth...” (Genesis 18:25), and His dealings with the sons of men are constantly described in forensic (legal) terms. (Psalm 119:71-72)
Righteousness: True righteousness (full conformity to God’s Laws) is what God requires of men and women, and He shows His own Righteousness as Judge in taking vengeance on those who ‘sin’, or ‘fall short’ of His perfect standard. (Psalm 7:11) (Isaiah 5:16) (Acts 17:30-31) (1 Peter 4:1-5) (Romans 14:11-12) (Exodus 20:3-17)
Therefore, since we know from Scriptures that there is ‘...none righteous...’ (Romans 3:10), since ‘...all have fallen short...’ of the Righteousness of God (Romans 3:22b-23), it follows that al born of woman since Adam are born under God’s Holy condemnation of sin! All, of course, but the altogether Righteous Son of God - the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise His Name! (Hebrews 4:15) (2 Corinthians 5:21) (1 Peter 2:21-24) (1 John 3:4-5)
All mankind, therefore, except Christ Himself, are born guilty, Hell-deserving sinners! (Psalm 14:1-4)
There are no ‘big sins’ and ‘little sins’ in God’s Holy eyes. SIN IS SIN! (James 2:10)
We are double guilty of sin. We are doubly condemned by the Righteous Judge! How? Well, first we are guilty of inherent Adamic sin
(Genesis 5:3), and then again, of the actual sins we naturally commit! (Romans 7:14-24) (1 John 1:8)
There remains, therefore, no hope for any sinner if God’s Righteous verdict goes against us. ‘...our God is a consuming fire...’.
(Hebrews 10:30-31) (Revelation 20:10-15)
Question 1: If all are born sinners, all fall short of God’s Righteous standards (i.e. Christ’s perfection) (Matthew 6:33), then, ‘What must I do to be saved?’ (Acts 16:30-31) How can the born sinner be JUSTIFIED? (i.e. just-as-if-I’d-never-sinned) (Job 14:1-4)
Answer 1: “Ye must be born again!” (John 3:3-8) (1 Peter 1:18-25) We must be given a new birth from God Above, we must be regenerated by God the Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 37:1-10) and enter into the Body of Christ (i.e. the true church) (1 Corinthians 12:12-27) Christ must enter into us, and bring His Spiritual banquet of blessings with Him. (Revelation 3:20) We thus, ‘...die daily...’ unto self, and live daily unto the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:31b) (Galatians 2:20) Yea, more! Jesus lives His resurrected life in us, through faith. (John 14:6) (Leviticus 17:11) (Jon 10:10) Hallelujah! Amen!
We cannot work our way towards Justification - it is done through faith, the gift of our Sovereign Lord God. (Hebrews 11:1;6) (Ephesians 2:8-10) (Psalm 115:3)
Question 2: How, therefore, can we receive faith to be justified before a Holy Lord God?
Answer 2: One place only - “Faith cometh by hearing (or reading) and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17) We cannot be saved (or justified) without first hearing the Word of God - the glorious Gospel of Christ’s Salvation Sacrifice at the Cross for sinners. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) (Acts 4:12)
Who will ever seek to saved, if first they are not made aware that they are indeed lost? (John 16:8) (Luke 19:10)
It is therefore, perhaps easier for an actual thief, and actual murderer; an obvious sinner, to hear and receive the Gospel Truth and be saved!
Nice old ladies and gentlemen; church-going, ‘good-living’ persons, who have never seemed to do harm to anyone in their lives; these poor people are the hardest to reach with the Gospel! Why? Because they don’t really believe they are indeed vile sinners in God’s pure eyes!
Thus, they die and open their eternal eyes in a Christ-rejecter’s Hell! Why? Because they never really sought to be justified before God - in Christ Jesus! They rely on their own assumed righteousness to get them into Heaven. Thus, they reveal their disbelief of God’s Word - “...none righteous...”. (Romans 3:10)
Conclusion: All those sinners, who by simply taking God at His Word, and receiving Christ Jesus as both Saviour and Lord, are born again: declared not guilty; deemed sinless in their STANDING before God’s Righteous Throne (Exodus 12:13) (Isaiah 1:18); imputed (i.e. put to their account) the Righteousness of Christ Himself! (Psalm 32:1-2) Hallelujah!
We thus manifest true trust in Christ’s Righteous ATONEMENT upon Calvary’s Cross; His suffering in our place; for we who are blessed with faith to believe and to keep on believing (i.e. the continuous verb ‘believeth’ and ‘cleanseth’). (John 3:16) (John 1:7) Praise God!
Therefore, when a born sinner REPENTS (i.e. turns away from sin and turns fully to follow God) and receives Christ by faith - he/she is born again of God and declared fully JUSTIFIED in God’s Holy sight.
This is the great Reformation/Protestant doctrine of JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH. Learn it! Teach it! Believe it! Be blessed with the joy and liberty of its truth. Amen.
Regeneration: a change of nature - from God (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Definition of the term: To regenerate is to bring NEW LIFE to; to cause to be Spiritually reborn; to quicken (or give life to) that which is DEAD; to impart a new nature from God (i.e. which means believers have two natures when born again, the old nature and the new!). (Ephesians 2:1)
Regeneration: This is a work of creation, performed by God alone in the breasts of His elected people. (Ephesians 1:3-6)
We are passive in this act of God’s grace. As fallen creatures, we have no power to originate this miracle of new life - “...Salvation is of the Lord!” Praise God for His grace! (Genesis 5:3) (Jonah 2:9) (John 6:37;44) (John 15:16)
Mankind was CREATED in the image of God - a tripartite being i.e. three parts. We were created body-soul-spirit, just as God is Father-Son-Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 5:23) (Genesis 1:26-28)
The body relates to the dust from whence it came.
(Genesis 2:7) (Genesis 3:19)
The soul relates to, or communicates with, other like human souls i.e. each other.
Created mankind’s spirit was the unique part of Adam/Eve which enabled them to communicate with God the Creator - BEFORE sin separated them from our Holy God. (Genesis 3:1-24) (Isaiah 59:1-2)
Born Vs Created: Every person born of woman (as opposed to being originally created by God), therefore, since that time in Eden’s Garden are born sinners; we fall short of God’s perfect standard of righteousness. (Romans 3:10; 22-23) (Psalm 51:5)
Why is this so? Because God told our forefather, Adam, that if he ate of the forbidden tree (nothing to do with sexual relations!) on that very day, he/she would ‘...surely die...’. (Genesis 2:16-17)
Now, we know that it was not physical death God spoke of here! How do we know? Because Adam lived after the Fall until he was 930 years old! (Genesis 5:5) Therefore, we realize that the Lord God spoke of SPIRITUAL DEATH. Adam/Eve were smitten by spiritual death the moment they sinned in disobedience to God.(Ezekiel 18:4) (Romans 6:23)
Sin made them hide from God’s Holy Presence (Genesis 3:9-10) The DEAD human spirit desires no fellowship with the Lord God.
(1 Corinthians 2:11-16) (Isaiah 53:2)
He that was created SUPERNATURALLY became merely NATURAL due to committing sin against his Creator God. (Romans 7:14-24)
Thus it follows that, all BORN of Adam/Eve since then are begotten in Adam’s sinful image. (Genesis 5:3) (Job 14:4) We are born spiritually dead - a body; a soul; and a dead spirit! (Ephesians 2:1)
That is why Christ taught us, “Ye must be born again!” We must be Spiritually regenerated! (Titus 3:5)
This can only be done by God the Holy Spirit Himself. (1 Corinthians 12:12-13) We are thus regenerated into Christ’s Body - the true Spirit-born Church. (John 3:3-8) (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Regeneration is therefore seen plainly to be the free gift of God to Hell-deserving sinners. We cannot WORK our way to Heaven! (Ephesians 2:8-10) (John 3:16)
God’s Means of Showing Grace: (Acts 4:12) (John 14:6)
The means God has provided for us to be Regenerated (or saved) are two-fold - prayer and the Word of God. (2 Timothy 2:1-5) (Jeremiah 33:3)
Prayer: No one can really PRAY unless the Holy Spirit enables (or inspires) us to pray. (Romans 8:26) We can recite useless, ‘...vain repetitions...’, but we cannot actually pray by God the Holy Spirit and according to His will. (James 4:3) God, therefore, makes His people’s prayers to be both inspired and to be heard. (Psalm 19:14)
God, the Holy Spirit’s first ministry to us is to convince (or convict) the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of Judgment to come. (John 16:8) Prayer is thus our true means of fellowship with God - we speak to God in prayer. (Psalm 91:15) (Revelation 20:11-15)
The Word: No one can be Regenerated, ‘born again’, without first reading, or hearing, God’s own inspired Word - the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) (2 Peter 1:20-21)
This doctrine can be more clearly evidenced in the Old Testament illustration of Ezekiel’s valley of dried bones. (Ezekiel 37:1-10)
The dry bones represent all who are DEAD in sin and trespasses; all who are unregenerate; all who are not ‘born again’ of the Spirit of God! (Ephesians 2:1) Read how the Lord told Ezekiel to “...prophesy upon these bones...”. (Ezekiel 37:4) Paul reveals unto us the fact that, “...faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17) (Hebrews 6:1;6) Then, after the preaching of God’s Word, the dry bones are breathed into and come alive! Hallelujah! (John 3:8) This the miracle of Spiritual Regeneration.
We ‘hear’ God’s call due to God-given faith, and receive Eternal Life as the gift of God’s grace. Conviction of sin, and our desperate need to be saved, are revealed only through the Word of God contained in our Bibles. God speaks to us by His Word. (James 5:16) (Colossians 4:2)
We are encouraged to preach the Gospel also! (2 Timothy 4:1-5) (Matthew 28:19-20) (Mark 16:15-16)
Why are we inspired to preach the Gospel? So that the Lord can use His means of Regeneration grace to the full; and reward our labours for Him in the Salvation of precious and immortal souls. (Daniel 12:3)
What a great and gracious Saviour! Amen! (Hebrews 7:25) Hallelujah! These Bible truths surely make us free!
Conclusion: This, therefore, is the great Scriptural doctrine of Spiritual Regeneration. We receive a new nature from God which remains obedient to His Commandments, and helps us daily to battle against the desires of our own carnal natures; fallen natures which shall always be at enmity against God. (John 14:15) (Romans 8:7)
The Spiritual battle is continuous! (Exodus 17:8-16) But, the Victory has already been won for us at a place called Calvary; won by the all righteous Christ Jesus, the Son of the Living Lord God. Amen. And praise be always to His Almighty Name! Glory to God in Christ Jesus! In the risen Jesus we have Regeneration Life Eternal. (Romans 7:14-25)
Repentance: a change of mind - about God and sin. (Matthew 3:2)
The Psalmist said, “Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I MIGHT not sin against Thee.” You see, he (Ezra in this case) was a Godly realist, not some self-righteous, self-deceived, hypocrite. He knew he would sin, but desired deeply that he might fight against sinning by the help of God the Spirit and the Word of God. Praise the Lord! (Psalm 119:11)
(1 John 1:8) (Jeremiah 17:9) (Psalm 130:3-8)
Yet, repentance from our sin is continually required on a daily basis - even AFTER our original Repentance unto Salvation in Christ Jesus and in Him Alone. (1 John 1:8-9)
Definition of the term: To repent means to completely change one’s mind concerning our attitude to God and sin; to make an about-turn from sin to follow God; to cease from following hard after selfish sin; and to turn to follow hard after true Godliness; to cease from being a WILLING slave to sin, and begin to try to be a WILLING servant of Christ Jesus. (Hebrews 12:14) (Psalm 51:1-13)
As the Scriptures teach: “Turn Thou me, and I shall be turned, for Thou art the Lord my God...”. (Jeremiah 31:18) We are ‘turned’ thus, and then, once turned, we continue to turn to God daily, and away from the world, the flesh, and the Devil. (Romans 8:1-14)
Repentance: Repentance unto life Eternal is a saving grace wrought in the sinner’s heart by God the Holy Spirit - through the means of God’s Word (i.e. the Gospel of Christ’s Cross). (John 16:8) (Romans 10:17)
It is an awakening of the DEAD sinner to a sense of peril to his/her soul of the Eternal Torment of Hell, and to his/her guilt before God’s Holy eyes. (Psalm 9:17) (Habakkuk 1:13)
Repentance awakens the sinner to a deep concern towards his/her sins, and the odiousness of such sins when compared to the absolute sinlessness of God’s dear Son, Jesus Christ. (Job 42:4-6) (Hebrews 4:15) (1 John 1:5)
Repentance: Repentance is not mere remorse (self-pity!), but a clear realization of God’s wrath against sin, and of God’s grace and mercy towards sinners who are called of God to repentance and receiving of Christ Jesus as both Saviour and Lord. (Luke 1:46-50) (Isaiah 6:1-7)
Consequently, the repentant sinner so grieves for, and hates, his/her sins, that he/she turns away from them, and turns instead in obedience to God - proposing and endeavouring, to the very best of his/her ability, to walk in fellowship with God; in the way of God; as manifested in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Zechariah 4:6b) (1 John 1:1-7)
This is to ‘...walk not after the flesh...’ in daily practice, ‘...but after the Spirit...’. (Galatians 5:16-26) (Romans 8:1-10)
Repentance: Repentance is absolutely necessary for the sinner to be saved! It does not MERIT pardon; but, pardon is not be had without it! (Luke 13:3) (Ephesians 2:8-10)
Repentance is therefore, clearly proven to be of God’s free grace - it is freely given as an unmerited gift to whomsoever God, in His Sovereignty, elects to grant it. (2 Timothy 2:25-26)
Repentance: Repentance involves seeing and feeling sin to be not only deadly to the soul, but a filthy and hateful thing in God’s pure sight! (Ezekiel 18:27-32)
All who seek to serve God, must therefore, seek to put away sin DAILY - by humble confession to Him Alone; and by being continually washed from daily sins by a daily, ‘...washing of the water of the Word...’. (i.e. daily Bible readings and confession of sin to God) It is what the old Puritan believers called, ‘Keeping short accounts of sin with God.’. (John 15:3) (Philippians 3:12-14) (1 John 1:8-10) (Ephesians 5:26)
Progressive Sanctification: In the above manner we are progressively sanctified from daily sin in our lives as Christian believers - in relation to our actual naturally sinful STATE. Just as we have been Absolutely sanctified in our, ‘...once for all time...’ STANDING, in Christ Jesus, by the precious Blood of His Cross. (Hebrews 10:10) (1 Peter 1:18-19)
Obedience is the direct result of true repentance. (James 1:22)
Repentance: Repentance then, leads progressively to the great Scriptural doctrine of Conversion (i.e. ‘...old things passing away, all things becoming new, in Christ Jesus) (2 Corinthians 5:17) (Revelation 21:4-5)
The Holy Bible becomes our daily looking glass, our personal mirror. We read the Word, and the Word shows us where we go wrong, and how to keep ourselves clean for the Lord’s use. (Hebrews 12:14) (Psalm 119:105) (John 17:17)
A Practical Point of Repentance: Repentance does not make a sinner incapable of committing sin!
Note King David’s experience. (2 Samuel 11:1-17) He committed the sins of adultery and murder AFTER he was appointed King; AFTER he was anointed of, and chosen by, God! (John 15:16)
Read the apostle Paul’s own words of detestation of the sin yet within his OLD NATURE after he was gloriously saved; AFTER he was chosen to be a minister for God! (Romans 7:14-25) (Acts 9:1-20)
Yet, both REPENTED from their sins; and repented CONTINUALLY for their sins, no doubt, ever after until the day they died. (Psalm 51:1-13)
Conclusion: We who are born again of the Spirit of God, and redeemed by the precious Blood of Christ Jesus, first repent from sin and are saved; then we make repentance a daily practice in our lives for Christ.
We must keep ‘short accounts...’ with God concerning daily sins, and enjoy close fellowship with a thrice Holy Lord God; and with all believers of ‘...like precious faith...’. (Psalm 16:11)
Sin separates us from close fellowship with God - repentance leads us nigh to Him and to other sincere believers. (Isaiah 59:1-2) (James 4:6-10)
God blesses the repentant sinner’s soul. Hallelujah! What a Saviour! What a Sovereign! What a Lord God! Amen. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
This therefore, is the Scripturally sound Reformation doctrine of true Repentance. Believe it. Rejoice in its truth. Teach it to others - and the Lord God shall bless you Eternally in His truth. Amen.
Conversion: a change of life - for God, in Christ Jesus.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right (or constant) spirit within me...then will I teach transgressors THY WAYS; and sinners shall be CONVERTED unto Thee.” (Psalm 51:10-13)
“...old things (i.e. habits, way of life, etc.) are passed (i.e. continually passing) away), behold, all things are become (i.e. or are continually becoming) new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
The above Scripture is the basic principle sense of the doctrine of Conversion - born again souls continually becoming more like, or conformed to be like, Christ Jesus, our Redeemer Lord. (Romans 12:1-2)
Definition of the term: Conversion is the act which takes place when a truly repentant sinner is Regenerated (i.e. born again, born from Above); and thus renounces his/her former self-dominated way of life, and turns in faith to follow after Godliness - as manifested by the lord Jesus Christ Himself.
This is what being ‘Christian’ is all about - Christlikeness in one’s NEW LIFE, as opposed to living a consistently carnal life of selfishness and sin. (Galatians 5:22-23)
This NEWNESS OF LIFE is thus a manifestation of what God has miraculously done inside the sinner’s heart. The Life of Christ is emulated, to the best of one’s ability, and the old carnal nature is denied and dominated by the outward expressions of the new nature of God
(1 Corinthians 6:9-12)
Conversion: This Conversion transformation is continually sought after, longed for, by the born again nature within - which seeks to glorify Christ as both Saviour and Lord! Obedience is henceforth yearned for by the believer. (Psalm 42:1-2) (John 14:15)
Constant Conversion, in the eyes of the world, glorifies God, and leads other sinners to Christ for Salvation. (Proverbs 11:30)
Conversion: Conversion reflects the change of mind concerning God and sin which was first brought about by true Repentance - the gift of God.
The NEW NATURE, given by God’s free grace, seeks only to follow after Holiness.
The OLD NATURE, inherited from Adam, seeks only to satisfy self; and is incurably disobedient to God and Godliness! (Hebrews 12:14) (Romans 8:7)
Therefore, because of the above facts of our situation as true Christians, we have continual conflict within us, and always shall until (in death) we put off these bodies of sin - or Christ returns to change us into glorified bodies which shall never sin again. Hallelujah! Even so, come Lord Jesus. Amen. (Romans 7:14-24) (1 Corinthians 15:51-58) (1 John 3:2)
Conversion: Conversion is therefore the exercise of the new nature, subsequent to the gift of Regeneration. It is accomplished by faith and continual Repentance from sin and error. (James 5:16-20)
As born again believers, we have immediate access into God’s Presence by prayer. (Ephesians 2:18) (Hebrews 4:15-16)
When we are aware of having sinned (i.e. transgressed known laws of Christian obedience), we can thus come to our Father, through Christ’s Atonement Sacrifice at the Cross; in the power of God the Holy Spirit.
(1 John 1:8-10) (Romans 8:26)
We humbly confess our sins, and once more resolve to forsake them; and to try to walk a fresh path of Godliness. (Galatians 5:16-26)
Conversion in Relation to Regeneration: The distinction between conversion and regeneration needs to be kept in mind.
Regeneration is the CAUSE of Conversion - we are given a desire to follow after God and Godliness ONLY after we are Regenerated into Christ’s Body, the Church! (John 3:3-8)(1 Corinthians 2:14-16)
Therefore, we consciously attempt to repent from, and forsake, those ungodly things which are behind (i.e. in the past life of sin), and press on in faith towards Christlikeness - God’s Righteous Standard of behaviour and attitudes. (Philippians 3:12-14) (James 1:22) (James 2:14-26)
Being ADOPTED into God’s Family, we thus strive to act like born again children of a Holy Lord God and Father. In this manner, we daily manifest the wonder of Christian Conversion.
Practical Point of Conversion: We who are merely mortal, born again Christians, shall always continue to sin, that’s a Scriptural fact!
(1 John 1:8) (Romans 7:18-18-24)
However, by God’s free grace, we can also be granted God’s forgiveness. (Psalm 130:1-4)
The ‘sheep’ (i.e. saved soul) when it falls into the mire, will never be happy until it is lifted back out and washed clean again. (Psalm 51:7) (Psalm 40:1-3)
But, the ‘pig’ (i.e unsaved soul) is completely at home in filth, and thus happy to wallow continuously in it! (2 Peter 2:22) (John 10:27-30)
True Christians are chastened when they sin and stray. (Hebrews 12:5-11) (Revelation 3:19)
Mere professors, unsaved, ‘good-living’ persons never receive the Father’s corrections. Why? Because they belong not to God! The Heavenly Father only corrects His own children, and the unsaved person in not in the Family of God. (John 8:44)
Conclusion: This, therefore, is the Scriptural doctrine of Christian Conversion - let us thus, “...work out our Salvation with fear (reverence) and trembling...”; and seek to be Converted to Christlikeness DAILY. Amen? Yes indeed, amen - and thanks be to God, amen.
(Philippians 2:8-12) (1 John 1:7-9)
Adoption: a change of family - in God (Galatians 4:1-7)
“...And I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My SONS and DAUGHTERS, saith the Lord Almighty.”
(2 Corinthians 6:17-18) (John 1:12)
Definition of the term: Adoption is an act of God’s free grace whereby believers (i.e. those born again of the Spirit of God) are received into the number of (i.e. or family of) God; and have a right LAWFULLY to all the privileges of the sons and daughters of God. (Romans 8:14-17)
We thus cease to be sin-enslaved children of Devilish disobedience to God; and are ADOPTED into God’s family - through God’s grace, and Christ’s Victory Atonement for us at the Cross of Calvary. (John 8:44) (Ephesians 2:1-3) (Romans 8:4-18) (Ephesians 2:13-22) (Galatians 4:5-6)
Adoption: Adoption ensures us that we believers are thereafter PITIED; PROTECTED, AND PROVIDED FOR - by our Heavenly Father. (Psalm 103:13-14) (Proverbs 14:26) (Matthew 6:30-34) (1 Peter 5:7)
Of course, it also means we are often CHASTENED when we stray, as a loving Father would chasten His own beloved children. What grace! What Fatherly love! (Hebrews 12:5-14) (Revelation 3:19) (1 John 1:8-10)
Adoption: Adoption means that we are NEVER cast off from the family of God! (John 6:37) (Lamentations 3:31-33)
We are rather SEALED, by the Sovereign Spirit unto the day of full redemption of the body as well as the soul and the spirit.
(Romans 8:18-25) (1 Corinthians 15:51) (1 John 3:2) (Ephesians 4:30) (Ephesians 2:10-14) (Daniel 6:16-17)
We are sealed; safe; and forever secure - in Christ Jesus. Hallelujah! What Eternal security we have in our Saviour!
Adoption: Adoption means assurance of EVERLASTING SALVATION! (1 Peter 1:2-5) Even the angels of God are sent to minister to unto we who are God-chosen heirs of Salvation. Hell’s legions cannot prevail against us! Praise God it is so! (Hebrews 1:14) (Matthew 16:18)
Adoption: Adoption means all true believers become LEGAL inheritors of God’s promises - in Christ Jesus. (2 Corinthians 1:20)
We become, in fact, “...joint-heirs...” of all God’s treasures and Kingdom - with Christ Jesus, the Son of God Himself! Riches indeed! Oh, the infinite goodness of God! (Romans 8:15-17)
Adoption: Adoption is an act of God - not a PROCESS! God is God, and He does what He wants to do, He is not hindered by our infirmities at all. (Psalm 115:3) (Ephesians 1:11)
Adoption: Adoption is completed at once, and is conferred by the Lord upon all true believers equally when God saves us. (Galatians 3:24-29)
God’s grace alone provokes this act of God towards we who deserve only Hell and its torments forever. Now, this is something for believers to get excited about! (Ephesians 2:8-10) (Ephesians 1:4-5) (1 John 3:1)
This adoption is carried out on the merits of Christ’s redemptive Atonement on the Cross, and His righteousness alone! (Isaiah 61:10) (1 Peter 1:18-19) (Romans 3:10) (Romans 3:22b-23)
We have no righteousness of our own, in our natural state we are Spiritually bankrupt. (Isaiah 64:6) (Romans 3:10)
Conclusion: We give much respect and praise to a mere mortal who, in his/her human compassion, sees fit to adopt an orphan child - to give the child a home, and make it the legal inheritor of the family possessions.
How much more should we believers now, in the Scriptural light and knowledge of God’s doctrine of Spiritual Adoption, give sincere and heartfelt reverence, and willing worship, and praise - plus thankful service - to the great Father of all who, in faith, possess Jesus as their Saviour and Lord? (James 1:17) Glory to God on High! (Romans 16:27)
This therefore is the Scriptural doctrine of Adoption. Let us rejoice in its knowledge and its Biblically proven truth. Amen.
Sanctification: a change of service - to God (John 13:1-17) (Joshua 24:14-15)
Definition of the term: Sanctification is a two-fold doctrine and can be understood better in this manner:
(a) Immediate Sanctification - consecrated, set apart for sacred use or service. (John 10:36)
(b) Progressive Sanctification - purify afresh; make Holy. (1 Corinthians 6:11) (John 17:17)
John 13:10 - “Jesus saith to him, “He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.”
There are two different Greek words used in this verse for the word we have in the King James Version Bible as “...washed...” and “...wash...”. The first word simply means, ‘The big bath’; the second word could be understood as, ‘The tidy-up wash’.
(a) Washed: This denotes being bathed completely spotless; sanctified; set apart for sacred service to God - and it’s a ‘...once for all time...’ wash. (Hebrews 10:10)
We are cleansed from all sin by the precious Blood of Christ Jesus. (Titus 3:3-6) (1 Peter 1:18-19)
We are PASSIVE in this act of God’s sanctification; it is done according to His free grace. (Ezekiel 36:22-23) (Hebrews 10:3-25) Praise God!
Sanctification: Sanctification in this ABSOLUTE sense is performed by God in His gracious act of Salvation - we are ‘born again’. (John 3:3-8) (Jonah 2:9)
Christ’s righteousness is imputed unto us by God-given faith. (John 6:37) (Acts 4:12)
This act of Sanctification has primarily to do with the believer’s STANDING before God, in Christ Jesus. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
The believer is thus deemed PERFECT, sinless; not guilty; Holy; righteous; etc.; a son or a daughter of God; joint-heirs with Christ; beloved of the Father; with immediate access to God in prayer and acceptance before God’s Holy throne of grace - a new creature in Christ indeed! Hallelujah! What a Saviour! Praise His gracious Name! Amen. (Hebrews 7:25)
(b) Wash: This word denotes being washed (or purified afresh) DAILY, as we walk as pilgrims through this barren land. We are personally and individually ACTIVE in this progressive sanctification process. (John 15:3) (Galatians 6:5)
Therefore, this sense of PROGRESSIVE SANCTIFICATION implies the sense of having a daily tidying up; a constant cleansing exercise which must continually follow the main bath to keep the believer Spiritually clean in his/her actual STATE. It is therefore, the believer himself who is held responsible for this sense of his/her SANCTIFICATION. The Lord commands us as believers: “Be ye Holy for I am Holy.” (1 Peter 1:16)
(1 Peter 3:10-16)
Practical Reality of Sanctification: In our State we are, and shall always remain, “...unprofitable servants...”. (Romans 3:10;22-23) (Romans 7:14-24) (Luke 17:10)
Sin separates us from God’s Holy fellowship - but NOTHING can ever separate us from His Family! (Isaiah 59:1-2) (Romans 8:28-39)
We, as born again, Spiritually regenerate believers have a STANDING in Christ. However, if there is unconfessed sin, or consistent impurity of habits, in the believer’s life - the believer shall seldom receive real Spiritual power to serve the risen Lord Jesus. (Hebrews 12:14) (Acts 1:8) (Ephesians 5:18)
Holy Spiritual power to serve the Lord Almighty will only be imparted to those who are sincerely seeking to sanctify themselves to receive it! Therefore, be Holy, “...be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18)
We must strive to be:
(a) ‘...vessels of honour...’. (2 Timothy 2:15-21)
(b) ‘...conformed to Christ - not the world.’. (Romans 12:1-2)
Question: How do born again believers PREPARE to be filled with the Spirit?
Answer: By PROGRESSIVELY SANCTIFYING the vessel (i.e. our hearts) desiring to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God.
Sanctification: Sanctification is, therefore, a two-way doctrine. God sanctifies us once for all time in our STANDING before Him and in His Holy sight - by clothing us in Christ Jesus. (Hebrews 12:14) (Habakukk 1:13)
Our duty thereafter then, as Christians, is to progressively, “...grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” - as to our actual STATE daily. (2 Peter 3:18) (2 Corinthians 5:17)
When the almost inevitable sins do come into our lives, and cause a hindrance to our fellowship, service, and worship - they must be:
(a) confessed: (1 John 1:7-9) (Psalm 51:5)
(b) forsaken: (Philippians 3:1-10)
(c) and the vessel ‘washed’: (Ephesians 5:26) (John 15:3)
Prayer and the Word:
Prayer to God and the Word of God are the Christian’s passport to a CLOSE SANCTIFIED walk with the Lord God. We must keep short accounts with God concerning personal sins; and be SANCTIFIED daily by Bible study and quiet times in God’s Holy Presence. (Psalm 16:11)
In the above manner, we shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost, as promised, to win souls for the Master - Jesus Christ. (Proverbs 11:30)
Our lives shall then be victorious lives of personal sanctification. We shall have continual victory over Satan, and self, and sin. (Exodus 17:8-16)
Go to then, Blood-bought Christian warrior, live in this Scriptural state of Sanctification. Amen, and amen. Praise God, amen.
Redemption: a change of Master - God Himself. (Matthew 23:10)
“For as ye know that ye were not REDEEMED with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation (i.e. whole way of life, daily practice) received by tradition from your fathers (i.e. rituals, etc.) but with the precious Blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot...”. (1 Peter 1:18-19)
Definition of the term:
Redemption: To be redeemed is to be delivered from some great penalty by the paying of a fee.
Thus, prisoners of war are sometimes released on payment by their Government of a price which is called the ransom price (i.e. the price paid to obtain release of a prisoner; kidnap victim; captured goods; etc.; to release from captivity to a cruel taskmaster; price paid to set slaves and captives FREE). (John 8:32) (Isaiah 61:1-2) (Luke 4:18) (Revelation 5:9)
For example: pawned possessions are REDEEMED by their owners when the financial loan is repaid at a pawnshop!
Question: What then does mankind need to be set free from, Spiritually speaking? (Romans 7:14-24)
Answer: Sin! We are born sinners, and sin naturally from our birth.
Mankind are born as:
(a) Slaves under sin: (Psalm 51:5)
Adam was CREATED perfect, in God’s own image. (Genesis 1:26) He then fell from grace (i.e. sinned!) when he and Eve disobeyed God.
Adam thus became a slave to Satan through his sin, and then BEGAT mankind in his own sinful image. (Genesis 5:3)
Therefore, all Creation including mankind, became prisoners of God’s Curse; and NATURAL SINNERS by birth. (Genesis 3:17-19) (Job 14:4)
God Redeemed (i.e. bought back) Adam and Eve by the shedding of the innocent blood of animals, to clothe; or cover the sins of, the pair. In this manner, God made a blood sacrifice for their sins; their sins were ‘...covered...’ by the blood sacrifice. (Genesis 3:20-21) (Psalm 32:1-2)
Of course, this sacrifice revealed God’s chosen way of Atonement ( i.e. at-one-ment!), sinful man to a thrice Holy God of wrath against sin; and looked forward in faith to the ‘...once for all time...’ Atonement (or Redemption) Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, at the Cross of Calvary. (John 1:29)
This Cross-work of Christ is called EXPIATION: the suffering undergone by an innocent substitute to expiate (i.e. make amends for; pay the penalty of) the sins of the guilty parties. (Hebrews 10:10)
It follows, therefore, that, “...without shedding of blood is no remission of sins...”. (Hebrews 9:22-28) Christ’s Blood was shed for our Redemption.
Redemption: Redemption was made by the shedding of Christ’s SINLESS BLOOD. Thus, the reason for preaching the Blood of Christ boldly - it is the only way of true Salvation! He was our Substitute on that cruel Cross. There is no Redemption without the precious Blood of Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:21) (1 Peter 1:18-19) Thank you, Lord Jesus!
(b)Prisoners of the Pit: (Zechariah 9:9-17)
We are all born as prisoners on our way to the pit of Hell. We are Hell-bound sinners; guilty of Adam’s original sin, as well as the sins we naturally commit ourselves - due to our inherited ADAMIC NATURE. (Genesis 6:5-7)
Redemption: Redemption came by Christ, as promised, when He came to Redeem His people from the pit of Hell and from our sins. (Genesis 3:15) (Matthew 1:21)
He came to free us from going to our rightful destination - a fiery Hell, where we would have gone to spend Eternity but for His grace. (Isaiah 61:1) (Isaiah 42:1-10;22)
Redemption: Redemption was declared to the Jewish nation as Christ’s purpose for coming the first time as the Lamb of God. (Luke 4:18) But, they rejected their Messiah/Saviour. (Matthew 27:22-26)
The wages of our sins was death (i.e. Spiritual and natural death!), but Christ, by His gracious act of Redemption, declares us (i.e. all those born again of His Spirit, Spiritually regenerated) His purchased possessions. (Revelation 20:5-15)
We are through faith in Christ’s Sacrifice, granted freedom, like Barabbas was granted his freedom. We are secured by the highest Price possible to pay - the precious Blood of Christ Jesus Himself. Hallelujah! Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! (1 Peter 1:1:18-19) (Romans 6:23)
Christ, the sinless Lamb of God, went to the Cross, while we latter-day Barabbas-like, guilty, sinners go free! What grace! (Isaiah 53:4-11)
Mankind are ‘Born Again’ as:
(a) Sons/daughters of God: (John 1:12) (Romans 8:10-18) ( Isaiah 56:4-8)
(b) Slaves of Love: (2 Corinthians 5:14-21) (Exodus 6:2-8)
(c) Prisoners of Hope: (Zechariah 9:12) (Psalm 69:29-33)
What a Saviour! What a Redeemer! What a Lord of Love and Truth!
Redemption: Redemption therefore, is God’s free gift of grace to His chosen people. (Ephesians 2:8-10) Yet, although freely given, we must always remember the terrible Price God paid to purchase us, and free us from the power of Satan, self; and the penalty of sin. (John 3:16-17)
In remembering this great RANSOM PRICE of Christ’s infinite suffering, we too shall endure all suffering victoriously, and commit ourselves to our Sovereign Redeemer’s safe keeping.
(1 Corinthians 11:23-34) (Philippians 1:29) (2 Timothy 3:12) Amen.
This, therefore, is the Scriptural doctrine of Redemption - go forward in its liberating truth.
Substitution: a change of places, by Christ, as God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
“Surely He (Christ Jesus) hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows...He was wounded (or tormented) for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed...the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquities of us all (i.e. all born again believers!).” (Isaiah 53:4-5)
Definition of the term: The doctrine of Substitution concerns the penal sufferings (i.e. punishment required by Law) of Christ Jesus, in the place of His people, by which everyone born again of Him are SAVED.
God’s righteous penalties for sin had to be met, and God had to be satisfied by an acceptable Sacrifice. Christ’s SINLESSNESS and perfect conformity to all God’s holy laws, was the only sacrifice the Father could accept - to pay the Price of our vile sins, “...the just for the unjust...”
(2 Corinthians 5:21) (John 1:29)
Christ’s holiness and righteousness was the only thing pleasing to a thrice holy God. (Hebrews 4:14-15) (Matthew 3:13-17)
Thus, the satisfaction offered by Christ was not on His own behalf, but to bear the sins of “...His people...”, and to suffer the required penalty of God’s wrath (literally) “...in our place...”. What a Saviour! Amen. (Matthew 1:21) (Luke 19:10) (John 3:16)
Substitution: Substitution reveals the highest exhibition of God’s grace and mercy towards Hell-deserving sinners such as we. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
It is, of course, the very essence of the Gospel message of Salvation in Christ ALONE. None other Sacrifice could Atone for the sins of the Elect Body of believers, the true Church of Christ! (Psalm 118:1) (1 Corinthians 1:12-27) (John 3:3-8) (Romans 5:1)
Substitution: Substitution manifests the Father’s love for sinners in sending His only begotten Lamb to suffer in our place upon the Cross at Calvary. The Father’s grief must have been INFINITE indeed!
Some reflection of God the Father’s sufferings is revealed in type, as King David mourns the death of his beloved son Absalom upon a much earlier tree than Christ’s Cross. (2 Samuel 18:33) (Acts 2:22-26)
Substitution: Substitution manifests the Son’s love for His people, as He suffers INFINITE sufferings upon that Calvary Tree - the Almighty Bridegroom in place of His weak Bride, the Church. (1 John 4:10) (John 10:11)
Christ took upon Himself our grave-clothes of sins that we, by His grace, might be ROBED in the Robe of His righteousness! Oh, the love of a risen Christ Jesus! Hallelujah! Thank you, beloved Lord God! (Isaiah 61:10) (1 Peter 1:16-19)
Substitution: Substitution is portrayed wonderfully well in the Gospels as Barabbas, the guilty, rebellious murderer is set free; and Christ, the faultless One, goes to the cruel Cross in his place. Instead of the guilty sinner being made to suffer the legal penalty for sin; the guiltless, sinless, Saviour, Jesus Christ, suffers as his substitute! (Luke 23:18-25)
Substitution: The doctrine of Substitution helps us to comprehend, to some degree, how God can remain a HOLY and JUST God of immutable wrath against sin; while at the same time be a God of infinite LOVE and pardoning mercy towards the sinner who has, by faith, received Christ Jesus as their SIN-BEARER, and Saviour; their blessed and gracious Substitute.
Christ, therefore, suffered as a substitute for His elect people. All others who refuse His Substitutionary Sacrifice must suffer for themselves in Hell’s fires forever! There can be no ‘double jeapardy’ in the matter.
Christ Jesus suffered for us who are saved that we might be forever blessed with peace. He suffered unto death, that we might be sustained unto Eternal Life. (Romans 5:1) (John 14:27)
This, therefore, is the glorious Scriptural doctrine of Christ’s Substitution. Teach it, preach it - thank God daily for its truth. Amen.
Glorification: a change of bodies - like God’s, as Christ’s.
“For our conversation (i.e. whole lifestyle!) is in Heaven from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile bodies 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.” (Philippians 3:20-21)
Definition of the term: Glorification is the future STATE of perfect, sinless conformity of the true born again believer to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ - both as to body AND soul - as our text above clearly teaches, and Scripture confirms. (1 Corinthians 15:51-58) (Romans 8:30)
Glorification: Glorification is indeed the last state, or the perfection of the work of God’s Sanctification - of the believer’s body and soul - when these present bodies of humiliation will be conformed to be as Christ’s resurrected and exalted Body of glory, and sin no more.
We shall, thereafter, be like Christ (i.e. truly ‘Christian’!) in the proper sense of the description. We shall receive, at that time, new bodies for these old bodies of sin; immortal bodies, which shall endure throughout all Eternity without sickness, sin, or death! What a prospect! What an expectation! Hallelujah! What a Saviour! Saved to the uttermost!
(Romans 7:14-24) (Hebrews 7:25)
Glorification: Glorification is a future event of Biblical eschatology (i.e. the events of the ‘end times’); and shall take place when the Lord Jesus Christ RETURNS to take His Bride, the true Church, Home to be with Him always. “...Even so, come Lord Jesus!...” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) (Matthew 24:30-42) (Psalm 17:5)
Christ is even now preparing a place for His Bride, the Body of born again believers, to take us to live with Him in perfect splendor. (John 14:1-3)
May we be found faithful to our Bridegroom when He comes. Amen. (Psalm 27:14)
Glorification: Glorification, or what we can comprehend of such a Heavenly concept with these finite, earthly minds, should inspire the believer to PURIFY his/her lifestyle now; even while living in these mortal bodies of corruption and sin. (1 Corinthians 2:9)
We who are Spiritually REGENERATE should, as a consequence, have a God-given desire for the perfect holiness we shall one day be granted when Christ returns as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, to take us to Heaven. After all, this is only our, “...reasonable service...”! Then, we shall be GLORIFIED with Him. (Romans 12:1-2) (1 Thessalonians 4:1-8)
(1 Peter 1:13-16) (Psalm 42:1-2)
At that time, “...in the twinkling of an eye...”, these corrupted bodies will be changed into the Eternal glorified state of sinlessness and incorruption. These mere mortal bodies shall become immortal in a mere moment of time, and shall remain thus throughout all the timeless eons of Eternity. Praise the Lord! (1 Corinthians 15:51-58)
“‘Tis then, and only then we’ll sing;
Oh Death, where is thy sinful sting?”
Glorification: Glorified believers shall experience blessings with God forever, in bodies which neither hunger or decay; nor feel pain or grief. (Revelation 21:1-7)
They shall do so, I believe, at the resurrection of the just (i.e. justified by faith!), when Christ appears, “...in the air...” to receive us for His own. (John 5:29a) (1Thessalonians 4:17) (Luke 14:14) (Daniel 12:2) (Revelation 20:4-6)
Unbelievers (according to this school of thought on the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ) shall also be resurrected and receive immortal bodies, at the resurrection of the damned, following the Millennium period. However, they shall be banished from God’s Presence to be tormented by fire forever. (Revelation 20:5a)
This is, I believe, what God’s Word refers to as the Second Death - banishment from the Presence and compassion of God for Eternity. (Revelation 20:11-15) (John 5:29b)
Glorification: The Scriptural doctrine of Glorification brings much hope and inspiration, therefore, to all whom, by God’s grace, have been ‘born again’ of God through the Saviour, Jesus Christ. (Acts 4:12)
It also cries out the Gospel warning to those poor souls outside of Christ’s Kingdom to, “Seek ye the Lord, while He may be found...” Eternity will be forever - I wonder where the reader will spend Eternity? Heaven or Hell? Praise God for glorification! (Isaiah 55:6) (Matthew 11:28-30)
Note: Needless to say, there are many varied schools of thought on the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. My own fully persuaded beliefs favour the Pre-Millennialist view, yet also include a VISIBLE RAPTURE (translation) of the Church to meet the Lord, “...in the air...”. The above doctrinal studies are my own personal conclusions, arrived at after many years of personal study of God’s Word, the Bible, ALONE.
(2 Timothy 2:15)
However, whatever school of thought believers become “...fully persuaded...” in for themselves, we must always respect the other believer’s sincerely held view. (Romans 14:5)
Secondary doctrines like the Millennialist views of the Second Coming of the Lord are NOT separation issues!
Every believer must hold his/her views in a spirit of humility and grace, praising God that we ALL agree on the fundamental doctrine of the Lord’s return. Glory to the Living Lord God, in Christ Jesus.
(Revelation 22:20-21) (Revelation 22:12)
This, therefore, is the Scriptural and Reformed doctrine of Glorification - a future event for today’s living Church. Go forth in the true hope it brings to our Christian souls. Praise be to God for such a blessed truth.
Amen. And again we cry, ‘Amen! Come Lord Jesus, come!’ Amen.
Faith: the gracious gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Text: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Definition of the term: Nothing interprets, or defines, Holy Scripture better than Holy Scripture. Therefore, we find a profound, yet perfect, definition of the concept of Christian Faith in God’s own Word.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
Faith, thus, can only be understood as a Supernatural quality, something that God alone gives to those whom He desires to give it.
Being defined as ‘...the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.’; we comprehend that it is a Divinely given gift without which we never can, nor ever will be, Eternally saved.
Faith is defined, in the general sense, by theologian Alan Cairns of Faith Free Presbyterian Church, Greenville, South Carolina, as ‘...the assent of the mind to the truth of something of which we do not have an immediate conception, whereas knowledge is the perception of the truth of something of which we have an immediate conception.’
Faith, according to Thomas Halyburton, one of Scotland’s greatest theologians: ‘...the grace of faith is basically a hearty approbation of God’s method of saving sinners. We may define it as the work of the Holy Spirit, His gift to God’s elect, enabling them to believe as true whatever God has revealed in His Word and to accept, receive, and rest upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and Eternal life. It is never alone, being always accompanied by repentance, and producing good works.’ God’s people say a hearty ‘Amen!’ to this truth.
“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”
Faith, the true genuine, God-given article, is ‘...the faith once delivered unto the saints.’ (Jude 3) It is a true faith that will never depart from God’s Word as the only means of obtaining it; and those genuinely possessing such a Divine gift will never, even upon threat of torture or death, ‘...depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils, speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron...’ (1 Timothy 4:1-2)
“So then, Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”
In this sense, we understand more clearly what the great apostle Paul was fearlessly declaring when, not long before he would be martyred for having such faith, he cried: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have KEPT the faith...” (2 Timothy 4:7)
The Divine Giver of this Supernatural faith has therefore KEPT Paul Eternally ‘...through faith unto Salvation...’. Praise His Name!
(1 Peter 1:4-5)
Faith is an absolute necessity for Salvation, we cannot be saved without it; and without it, we can never ‘...please...’ God.
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he that cometh to God must believe that He is (i.e. that God actually exists!), and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
Let’s look at the concept of faith in this manner: we know that ‘...The Lord knoweth them that are His, and let everyone that nameth the Name of Christ depart from iniquity.” (2 Timothy 2:19)
How does the Lord know, and continue to know, ‘...them that are His...’? Because He Himself has given them the genuine gift of faith to believe and to be Eternally saved! If our Sovereign Lord God does not, by His own Sovereign will and grace, chose to give us genuine faith to believe the Gospel of His Son Christ Jesus, we will never even believe we are LOST in the first place! We are saved, by God’s grace, through FAITH.
“But the natural man (unregenerate, uncalled, unsaved) receiveth not the things of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are Spiritually discerned (by God-given faith!).”
(1 Corinthians 2:14)
Happy are you if you are reading about this great doctrine, and believing it is true. May the Lord God continue to build up our FAITH in Him.
Reconciliation: between sinful mankind and a Holy Lord God.
Text: “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” Romans 5:10.
Definition of the term: Our humble dictionary defines the concept of reconciliation as the means by which one party is restored in friendship, or brought back to friendship, or unison, with another; to make pacification between two parties who have been separated through a break in fellowship; to make peace between two parties by means of the payment of a satisfactory appeasement.
Reconciliation: “In terms of Biblical doctrine, reconciliation is the removal of the enmity (hostility, ill-will) between God and the sinner, and the establishment of a new relationship of peace and friendship between them, on the ground of Christ’s payment of everything due to God and His Holy Law because of sin. In Scripture, reconciliation is ascribed to the merit of the Blood shedding of Christ.” (Dictionary of Theological Terms, by Alan Cairns p 296)
“Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1)
Reconciliation: is achieved between a Holy Lord God of wrath against sin, and the sinner - naturally born into this world; ‘fallen’ in sin and in Adam’s fallen image, in one WAY only.
“Jesus saith unto him, ‘I am the WAY, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” (John 14:6)
“Neither is there Salvation in any other; for there is none other Name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
Reconciliation: It is made possible through the Substitutionary suffering of Christ Jesus on the Cross, whereby in His absolute Holiness, He has made the acceptable Atonement Sacrifice to appease God’s Holy wrath against our sins. Christ has in fact suffered in our place to pay the infinite penalty for the sins of those who have, are, and will be saved. Praise His Name! (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Reconciliation: As theologian John Owen writes, “To make reconciliation (which Christ is said in many places to do), it is required first, that the wrath of God be turned away, His anger removed, and all the effects of enmity on His part towards us. Secondly, that we be turned away from our opposition to Him, and brought into voluntary obedience to Him.” (Death of Death by John Owen, page 151)
“That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the Blood of Christ. For He is our peace, Who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the Law of Commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace.” (Ephesians 2:12-15) Wow! Now, that’s eternal RECONCILIATION!
The Ministry of Reconciliation: Because God has reconciled us sinners to His Holy self by Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God, we therefore are given what the Scriptures teach is the true ‘...ministry of reconciliation...’ - sinful man to a thrice Holy Lord God of wrath against all sin! Hallelujah!
This is the only true ‘...ministry of reconciliation...’ we regenerate, Spiritually born again, Christians possess!
We cannot seek to reconcile sinful mankind to sinful mankind before we succeed in reconciling sinful mankind to our Holy Lord God through the true ministry of reconciliation - ‘...the Word of reconciliation...’, or the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Cross of Redemption.
Once we have, by God’s good grace and will, been successful in reconciling sinners to our Holy Lord God then, and only then, can we seek to reconcile saved, yet still sinful, mankind to each other!
“...God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto US the Word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you BY US; we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:19-20) (Isaiah 8:20) (Romans 10:13)
Go to then, beloved Christian, use your true ‘ministry of reconciliation’.
Imputation: God’s full righteousness to fully unrighteous man!
Text: “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord IMPUTETH not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.” Psalm 32:1-2
“...Behold the Lamb of God (Christ Jesus) which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)
Definition of the term: Imputation is a forensic (legal) term that denotes the reckoning, or placing to a person’s account, the merit or guilt that belongs to him/her on account of his personal performance or of that of his federal Head (Adam for all mankind; Christ Jesus for the Christian).
Thus it was that ‘...Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ (Galatians 3:6) (Genesis 15:6)
Imputation of Sin: When our forefather, Adam, sinned in disobedience to God in the Garden of Eden, he did so as mankind’s’ federal head, mankind’s representative in the Covenant made by our Creator Lord God between Himself and His creation, mankind.
Therefore, when Adam sinned, the guilt of sin was imputed unto all mankind who would be born in Adam’s ‘fallen’ image. Original sin is thus put to our account, imputed unto us, by a Holy Lord God of wrath against all sin. We are naturally born in sin and guilty of sin.
“And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his image (fallen, guilty of sin!); and called his name Seth.” (Genesis 3:5)
“Behold (look) I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (Psalm 51:5)
“As it is written, ‘There is none righteous, no, not one...none that understandeth...none that seeketh after God...none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10-12)
In our natural state, we are all guilty sinners. We are guilty, by imputation, of the sin of our original representative Adam; and we are guilty of our own continual sins. We are thus twice worthy of Hell as sinners against our Holy Lord God of fierce wrath against all sin. (Habakkuk 1:13)
Imputation of Righteousness: God imputes vital righteousness unto all those whom He grants faith to believe and receive Christ Jesus as their own personal Saviour and Lord. (Ephesians 2:8-9) (John 3:16)
In this manner, God placed all the guilt and the sin of ‘His people’ on the Lamb of God, Christ Jesus on the Cross , and punished Christ as our Substitute in order to pay the full penalty for all our sins.
“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)
Imputation: “Imputation is an act of God as Sovereign judge, at once judicial and Sovereign, whereby He:
(1) Makes the guilt, the legal responsibilities of our sins, really Christ’s, and punishes them in Him. (John 1:29) (2 Corinthians 5:21)
(2) Makes the merit, legal rights of Christ’s righteousness, ours, and then treats us as persons legally invested with all those rights. (Romans 4:6; 10:4) (1 Corinthians 1:30-31) (Philippians 3:9)
As Christ is not made a sinner by the imputation to Him of our sins, so we are not made holy by the imputation to us of His righteousness. The transfer is only of guilt from us to Him, and of merit from Him to us. He justly suffered the punishment due our sins, and we justly receive the rewards due to His righteousness. (1 John 1:8-9)” (A.A. Hodge, Outlines of Theology, Chapter 30, Question 15.)
Imputation: “The doctrine of Imputation is clearly indispensable to the Biblical doctrine of Justification. It has been attacked by modernists and so misrepresented as to be absurd.” Alan Cairns, Dictionary of Theological Terms, page 187)
Imputation: Looked at in the simplest of terms, the doctrine of imputation is like the bankrupt person (the sinner) going to a bank manager desiring to make a withdrawal to start a new business. The bank manager immediately refuses to receive him/her because the person has no resources at all in the bank.
However, a multi-millionaire (Christ Jesus) then escorts the bankrupt person to the bank, speaks to the bank manager and instructs him to put all his millions at the bankrupt person’s disposal. The bank manager immediately welcomes the otherwise bankrupt person into his office with open arms and full acknowledgement. All the millionaire’s resources had been put to the bankrupt person’s account. That is what Christ Jesus has done, by grace, for ‘His people’.
“...And thou shall call His Name Jesus; for He shall save HIS PEOPLE from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) Hallelujah! What a Saviour!
Rejoice therefore, born again Christian, because of Christ’s Sacrifice of Atonement at Calvary’s Cross, you and I have Christ’s own personal righteousness IMPUTED unto us (put to our account) in the eyes of our Father in Heaven. We are made righteous in our God-given Standing in the Holy Place, and all our sins are covered by Christ’s precious Blood forever.
Imputation means Christ is saying to our Father in Heaven what the apostle Paul is saying to Philemon reference young Onesimus:
“...Thou shouldest receive him forever; not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to Me, but how much more unto Thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord? If Thou (Father) count Me (Christ Jesus, the Son) therefore a partner, receive him as Myself. If he (the sinner) hath wronged Thee, or oweth Thee ought, put that on My account.” (Philemon 15-18)
Thanks be to God for the doctrine of Imputation. What a Saviour! Amen.
Propitiation - Christ satisfies the Holy wrath of God against sin.
Text: “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10.
“And He, (Christ Jesus) is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also (sufficiently and potentially) for the sins of the whole world (i.e. every nation of the world).” 1 John 2:2.
Definition of the term: Propitiation is the appeasement or turning away of God’s Holy wrath against sinners by means of an atoning Sacrifice; the provision by God of a ‘mercy-seat’, a place of propitiation where the precious and sinless Blood of Christ Jesus can be applied, by faith, to appease, or turn away the justified wrath of our Holy Lord God from truly repentant sinners.
“Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His Blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time His righteousness; that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth (trusts, and continues to trust) in Jesus.” (Romans 3:24-26)
“John Owen, ‘the prince of Puritan divines’, lists four essential elements in any propitiation:
- An offence to be taken away. (1 John 1:8) (Isaiah 53:6) (Romans 3:10; 22b-23)
- A Person (God) Who has been offended who needs to be pacified. (Habbakuk 1:13) (Romans 1:18) (Matthew 3:7-8)
- An offending person (all sinful mankind); one guilty of the offence. (Psalm 14:1-3) (Psalm 11:4-7)
- A ransom payment, a full Sacrifice, or some other means of making atonement of the offence.
Propitiation proves that the atonement is objective, that it makes its primary impression on God, not man. “Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones’s sermon on Romans 3:25, in his first volume of studies in Romans, gives a very good exposition of propitiation and disposes of current critical views.”
(Dictionary of Theological Terms by Alan Cairns pp 282-283)
Leon Morris notes that Modernists and sceptical theologians of today “...deny that the wrath of God denotes anything more than a process of cause and effect whereby disaster inevitably follows sin.”
However, such presumptuous arguments from mere men of such sceptical and so-called Modernist persuasion can never refute the fact of ‘...the wrath of God revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men...’, as found in the Spiritually inspired and, thus, inerrant Word of God. (Romans 1:17-18) (2 Timothy 3:15-17) Amen.
For the one blessed of God and given faith to believe His Word, the precious Blood of Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God, makes full propitiation for all our vile sins. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
“And the Blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are; and when I see the Blood I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 12:13)
Past, present and future sins, for the true Christian believer, are forever cleansed by Christ’s Blood of atonement; God’s Holy wrath is fully appeased and the propitiation Sacrifice has been offered to God and been accepted by Him at the Cross of Calvary.
Our sins are Eternally forgiven and can never be a cause of enduring the wrath of our Holy Lord God again. Jesus has the last word on the subject of our sin and His propitiation Sacrifice for Christian believers: “It is finished.” Hallelujah! What a Saviour we have in Jesus, the risen Christ!
Praise God for such a thorough and Eternal Propitiation Sacrifice, achieved for us by God the Son, Christ Jesus. Glory to His Name!
This is the Scriptural doctrine of Propitiation. Go forth in its assurance and teach others what Jesus has done for lost sinners. Amen.
Important Ministry support note follows:
May the Lord God bless these Scriptural doctrines to the hearts and minds and souls of all who sincerely study them in order to hide these truths in their hearts and teach them to others. This is my fervent prayer. (Psalm 119:11)
Amen! And again amen, and hallelujah to the Lord God!
May the Lord God bless you and make you strong in Christ Jesus. Amen. (Psalm 68:11)