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Bible verses about Salvation as a Process
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Romans 1:19-20

God can be understood—even the unconverted can comprehend some things about Him. Despite these verses in Romans 1, the opinions of learned men say that God is incomprehensible, yet Paul is saying that there is a clear testimony. It is a constant and natural revelation of God's power and nature, and that revelation is sufficient for God to hold these people responsible for their conduct.

This natural revelation, however, is not sufficient for salvation because God shows in other places that salvation requires a specific and personal revelation of His word. "No one," Jesus says in John 6:44, "can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day."

But this revelation through what God has created is clear enough for Him to hold people responsible for their conduct. Thus, if His invisible attributes, eternal power, and divine nature are clearly understood by the visible things that God has made in this world, then all we need to do is to use a little common sense in connection with plain statements from Scripture to find out what God really looks like. So, if God says that His attributes can be clearly understood by the unconverted, and if He is seen in the visible creation in this world, what visible things on earth give us a picture of the invisible God?

The very thing that God Himself says in Genesis 1:26. We—mankind—look like Him.

Is that so difficult? Just understanding this principle, it is no wonder that the Greek gods of mythology reflected mankind in all of our foibles, weaknesses, and passions. The Greeks simply turned the principle around. They turned the image around, reflecting in their gods the things of man.

Other portions of Scripture, like I Corinthians 2:6-16, explain the special, personal revelation of God that helps us to know the things of God, so that we can have the mind of Christ and put on His image. However, we know from other passages that the created human being is but a pale reflection of the reality of God, and that God's creative power is still at work reproducing His image in men. That is, we are a work in progress and still unfinished.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Image and Likeness of God (Part 2)


 

Romans 5:6

In Romans 5:6, the apostle Paul declares that “Christ died for the ungodly.” The Greek word for “ungodly” is asebes, meaning “those without any reverence toward God.” The first man and woman, Adam and Eve, showed little reverence toward God. They were heedless when He warned them of the deadly outcome of their disobedience (Genesis 2:17; 3:3).

Since then, all humans have followed their example, falling from God's favor because of unbelief, “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Essentially, man is unwilling or unable to recognize God's sovereignty and holiness, which causes him to fall short of being what God intends him to be.

The countermeasure for man's sinfulness is the perfect, sacrificial life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, culminating in our opportunity for justification (Romans 4:25). The objective of justification is not merely to render a guilt-free verdict for the repentant sinner, nor does it provide a special certificate of eternal life to its recipient. Instead, it is a spiritual act—part of a spiritual process—with spiritual effects that open the way to salvation and eternal life.

Martin G. Collins
The Fruit of Justification


 

Ephesians 1:13-14

God's promised Spirit seals us after we believe. Clearly, receiving the Holy Spirit is something that happened in our past. We received it upon faith, repentance, baptism, and the laying on of hands. Verse 14 clarifies that this occurred in the past, saying that what we received was merely an earnest, an installment guaranteeing that more will be given. The sense here is similar to Romans 8:32, where Paul writes that God's giving of His Son is our guarantee that He will withhold nothing that we truly need.

The word "until" in Ephesians 1:14 further clarifies the time-element by stating that this will not happen "until the redemption of the purchased possession" occurs. Have we assumed that we were redeemed when we believed, accepted Jesus Christ, and were justified by His blood? But, notice, Paul writes that this, too, is yet future!

There is a future reception of more of God's Holy Spirit and a future redemption! The Scripture cannot be broken (John 10:35). The apostle is teaching us that redemption, like salvation, is a process that has begun but has not yet reached its conclusion. Both of these processes began when we believed and accepted Jesus Christ, but they will not end until we receive God's Spirit in full measure and are glorified in His Kingdom.

Thus, just as we know that we do not now have God's Spirit in full measure, we have to realize that we are not yet fully redeemed. As used in the Bible, redeem means "to deliver one by means of paying a price." The price has been paid in full, and we are even now the recipients of merely the beginning of its blessings. In addition, it also places us under obligation to glorify God and show forth His praises, as we are able.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Our Uniqueness and Time


 

1 John 1:7

We know what walk means. It implies how we conduct our lives. I John is a letter written to a church congregation, and he is instructing church members that fellowship hinges on walking in the light. This is how we are to have fellowship with one another.

The context of this instruction is quite interesting. Protestantism focuses heavily on the initial forgiveness of sin that takes place upon belief at the beginning of salvation. Thus, their evangelists have altar calls. People come down before the altar and confess their sins and accept Christ as their Savior. Once they do this, these people are considered "saved" and "born again." Their doctrine—that of eternal salvation—continues in this vein, that is, once that occurs, salvation is basically assured. So a great deal of emphasis is put on the initial repentance and forgiveness of sin.

However, notice this verse in its context. John writes, "If we walk in the light. . . ." An individual cannot walk in the light until he is called and converted. This walking occurs after conversion. He continues, "If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship. . . ." The fellowship depends on what we do after the initial repentance. Amos writes, "Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?" (Amos 3:3). It cannot be done. We do not have fellowship with people that we do not agree with. Agreement is shown by the way that we conduct our lives—by the way that we behave under our belief system.

". . . and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all unrighteousness." This phrase, in context, is the game-breaker. The apostle is teaching that further cleansing, further forgiveness, hinges on our obedience to God after we are converted, for "walking in the light" is synonymous to being obedient or living righteously. Forgiveness after conversion works exactly the same way as the forgiveness we were given before we were converted. It hinged on whether we had repented and had begun obeying God.

Clearly, salvation is a process!

What we must understand here is that forgiveness, cleansing, and even fellowship is not a once-for-all act; but it is a process—even as growing in the grace and knowledge is a process, even as the writing of God's law on our heart is a process. Cleansing is a process. The quality of the fellowship depends upon all of these things. So, if we walk in the light, we have fellowship and His blood cleanses us.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 12)


 

 




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