TEN STEPS OF SALVATION
Since man fell, God has been working to restore man back to Himself. The Scripture calls the salvation Jesus made available “so great salvation” and warns that those who neglect this salvation will no more escape judgment than others did in previous dispensations who were disobedient to the salvation plan in their day (He 2:1-3).
Salvation has been one of the most misunderstood and misrepresented terms in Christianity since the day Jesus returned to heaven. Mankind’s nature has always been to remove from themselves their responsibility for their salvation and lay it all on God and Jesus. Because of this motivation, the truth that salvation is a process and not a one-time event has been all but lost. Consequently, many of the terms describing this process are not understood or are muddled together. This error prevents man from the proper growth and progression needed for his salvation. This progression or “steps” of salvation are revealed in the following ten scriptural terms. The first three steps are a preparation and prerequisite for true salvation.
1. REPENTANCE: The intelligent acknowledgment of sins with sincere remorse and humility. The first step to salvation is to repent. A person must acknowledge that he has sinned against God, with the intent of not returning to his sin. Repentance is only the first step, and progression must be made from there. Heb 6:1, Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God. Repentance was never intended for man to take for granted God’s goodness, and to continue to sin as though he can also continue to repent. Jer 15:6, Thou hast forsaken me, saith the LORD, thou art gone backward: therefore will I stretch out my hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am weary with repenting.
2. FORGIVENESS: To pardon, overlook, forbear man’s sins (to the end of remission and exoneration of those sins). It is God’s goodness that leads to repentance (Ro 2:4), and it is His nature to forgive. If man cooperates with God’s leading to repent, forgiveness is granted. Ps 86:5,For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.
3. REMISSION: The altering and absolving of punishment for sins. Once God has forgiven a person for his/her sins, God can also give remission for those sins, removing the punishment justly due. It is at this step that many fail to progress in the plan of restitution. At this step the person is entering into the presence of God and feeling His great love. Many therefore fall under the false assumption that they have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Up to this point, man has only been saved from past sins. Ro 3:25, 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. This can best be illustrated in Acts 19:1-7. There were disciples who believed in Jesus but had not received or known of the Holy Spirit baptism. They only knew of John’s baptism of repentance. They had received forgiveness and remission of their sins and were leading good lives, but they had not yet entered into the salvation that Jesus made available by the baptism of the Holy Spirit, despite the fact that they were believers in Jesus.
THE NEXT SEVEN STEPS OF SALVATION ARE MADE POSSIBLE BY THE HOLY SPIRIT BAPTISM:
These seven steps work both simultaneously and progressively.
4. IMPUTATION: To reckon or attribute to someone righteousness of faith, Ro 4:1-8. Once a man’s sins are remitted, God no longer sees his past sins. Man now has a clean slate with God, as if he had never sinned. With the Holy Spirit baptism, you receive Jesus’ overcoming life. You now have been given Jesus’ divine nature before you have actually lived out that overcoming life. This is what is meant by being saved by grace and not of works (Ep 2:8,9). No one has ever done anything that has made himself worthy of having sins forgiven, and remitted, or to have the Holy Spirit given to them. God accounted to Abraham righteousness because he believed. However, this belief had no value if he did not then obey God, making manifest that his belief was genuine, (Ja 2:23,24).
5. ATONEMENT (RECONCILIATION): The act or state that reconciles you with God. The removal of the separation or barrier that has kept man from God. In Le 16 the atonement day requirements are given. This was provided for Israel to be reconciled back to God by having their sins, which separated them from God, removed. They were required to do this ever year because they continued to sin every year. He 10:1-9 tells us that Jesus’ sacrifice was able to remove the barrier of sin permanently. Those saved by Jesus would no longer sin and therefore would not need forgiveness annually as Israel did. God already had a plan that forgave sinners on an ongoing basis in the Mosaic law of atonement, now He wanted to save man from the act of sinning, not just from his past sins. If Jesus’ sacrifice cannot do this, it has no more value than an animal sacrifice.
6. JUSTIFICATION: Giving God a satisfactory reason for saving you by your faith in Him. An unjust person is not saved. This is another word that has been greatly misunderstood by those who do not compare Scripture with Scripture. Many read Ro 3:20, Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. They then think you only have to “believe” to be saved, without any works. They ignore Ro 2:13 For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. The Scripture does not contradict itself. Not being justified by the law meant that nothing in the law could truly remove the sinful nature of a man, those sacrifices made year by year could not make the comers thereunto perfect (He 10:1). Jesus’ life living in you by the baptism of the Holy Spirit not only removes and justifies you from past sins, it wrote the law on your heart and mind. This gives you power to overcome sin and obey God’s commandments. The law could not give you this power. Acts 13:39, And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. Moses’ law could justify you from past sins every atonement day. It could not remove the nature to prevent future sin.
7. REDEMPTION: The payment and recovery of that which was lost. The truths of redemption come from the custom and laws allowing the original owner of something to buy it back from someone who for one reason or another became the subsequent owner of that thing or person. The Scripture says of Jesus that He purchased us with His own blood (Ac 20:28). We are rightfully His. Because of sin, Satan obtained ownership, but by His own blood Jesus redeemed or bought us back. Unfortunately, what the Bible teaches about redemption from evil has been greatly misunderstood. Jesus paid a great price by His sacrifice to redeem us. However, a great truth has gone unseen. Israel’s deliverance from Egypt is a prophetic picture of the deliverance and redemption Jesus provides from Satan. God’s payment price to Pharaoh was his destruction. Ex 6:6, Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments:. Jesus’ payment price to Satan was his destruction also (1 Jo 3:8-9). It took Jesus’ death to make available the Holy Spirit baptism so that by the Holy Spirit we can be free from the bondage of sin. Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin John 8:3-4.
8. SANCTIFICATION: Jesus Himself sanctified Himself in order that we might do the same by His example, through His truth and spirit. John 17:19, And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Hebrews 2:11, For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren. These Scriptures indicate that those sanctified by Jesus are sanctified in the same manner and by the same means. It is not done without your choice to apply truth to your life. You must choose to apply the truth to destroy the works of the devil in your life.
9. REGENERATION: To revive and renew the body, soul and spirit through the plan of salvation. This regeneration begins at the very beginning and continues throughout the salvation process. Col 3:9-10, 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. - Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.
10. GLORIFICATION: The life of God manifested in an individual because he has destroyed the works of Satan in his own life by faith in the Word of God. People generally think of Jesus’ glorification as the resurrection. This is not altogether inaccurate, but it is incomplete. Very often the most important part of glorification is left out. John 13:31-32, Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him. When Jesus said (before His death and resurrection), “Now is the Son of man glorified” He was referring to entering into the most difficult trial of His life in doing the Father’s will. Satan in the persons of the rulers of Jesus’ day attempted to prevent Him from doing His Father’s will by threatening His life. Because Jesus kept God’s word, His humanity was glorified. It had nothing in it that Satan could touch. Jesus’ humanity was one with His divinity. He proved these words true: Jo 14:30, the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. Those who have been given Jesus’ life by the baptism of the Holy Spirit have been called to be glorified in the same manner, by living and doing God’s will. Ro 8:17, And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
SALVATION IS PROGRESSIVE
5. ATONEMENT (RECONCILIATION)
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