The Wonderful Works of God: Salvation

As we conclude this short series on the wonderful works of God, we must not do so without addressing the subject of salvation. Approaching the Scriptures, we find there are multiple words in the original languages describing the salvation that God provides. Taking a dictionary of Bible words and an interlinear concordance and tracing the use of these words, we find them in many different settings relating to our spiritual, physical, emotional, mental and moral wellbeing in connection with time and eternity. We learn that the theme of salvation in the Bible is much more than a fire escape from hell. That the English words “salvation/saved/save” have to be defined by their context is an important distinction to make as false teachers distort Scriptures to suit their evil agenda (2Pe 3:16). A simple example of this is 1 Timothy 2:15, which has been exploited in an attempt to teach that eternal salvation is obtained by good works. With this in mind, let us focus on the threefold aspect of salvation, highlighted under these headings: Justification (past), Sanctification (present) and Glorification (future). In each instance, we find that the entire Godhead is intimately involved.

Justification and the Three Persons of the Godhead

Luke 15 contains one of the most delightful parables the Lord ever told. It’s of great importance to note that it is a singular yet three-pronged parable. There were many lessons our Lord was communicating to His audience that day, but perhaps the most important was illustrating the entire Godhead at work for the justification of the sinner. The shepherd going after the lost sheep “until he finds it” graphically portrays the lengths to which our Lord Jesus would go (Joh 10:11), “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (Heb 12:2).[1] The lost coin unquestionably represents the helpless condition in which sinners find themselves, never seeking after God (Rom 3:11) and lost utterly without hope except for the gracious illuminating light of the Holy Spirit. Fittingly, the Father who waits, looking for and desiring a response from the individual, runs at the moment of repentance, covering any ground the lost son intended to make (no penance there!). Confession is made (Rom 10:9), and the picture is drawn together with another threefold image: the best robe outlining our standing before God in righteousness (justification), the ring displaying the new relationship (reconciliation), and the shoes depicting the changed walk (sanctification). On these grounds alone the fatted calf is killed and fellowship is enjoyed; the son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. Truly this son could say, “I have been saved.”

Sanctification and the Three Persons of the Godhead

The NT declares that Christians are sanctified in each Person of the Godhead – the Father (Jud 1), the Holy Spirit (1Pe 1:2) and Christ Jesus (1Co 1:2). That is, we have been not only positionally set apart as holy for God but also provided for to make this a practical reality. The Christian has three great enemies – the flesh, the world and the devil, and the Bible declares that these are impossible to conquer by human intellect, willpower or physical strength. Sadly, the professing sphere of Christianity is full of groups and individuals who (even to the extent of excluding themselves from society) vainly attempt to attain holiness by such measures. We noted in preceding articles that when God saves a person, He indwells them with the Holy Spirit, sealing them as divine property for eternity. How extraordinarily gracious of God to provide One who is our teacher, comforter, helper and guide, whose mission is to conform us to Christ.

Gifts are given by each Person of the Godhead (Rom 12; 1Co 12; Eph 4), enabling us to function in every sphere of life to the glory of God. The Father disciplines (Heb 12) and forgives us (1Jn 1:9). The Spirit intercedes on our behalf (Rom 8:26), and the Son ministers as our Great High Priest. Beloved, we are inexplicably and extraordinarily loved by God, and whether it be physical (Mat 6:26-33), spiritual, emotional, mental or moral, there is sufficient care on hand by each Person of the Trinity. The Christian can say, “We are being saved.”

Glorification and the Three Persons of the Godhead

Believers in the Thessalonian church were perplexed and distressed about the future of their deceased brothers and sisters. Would they miss out on the second coming of Christ and His glorious kingdom? Paul, having received a word from the Lord, taught them that every believer in this dispensation will rise together to meet the Lord in the air (1Th 4:13-18). Each body will be instantaneously changed (1Co 15:51-55) and fashioned like unto our Lord’s glorious body (Php 3:21), forever beyond the reach of sin (1Jn 3:2). What God desired in the beginning, He shall have in the end, and failure in every dispensation won’t prevent each Person of the Godhead from bringing this great salvation to pass.

In the first dispensation Adam failed, but in the last God states, “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion” (Psa 2:6). In the second, a cursed earth and wicked world were sunk under a flood, but in the millennium the curse is lifted and righteousness reigns. In the third, the world was led astray by the government of Nimrod, but in the millennium there’s a new government where the seven-fold characteristics of the Holy Spirit will be displayed (Isa 11:2-3). In the fourth, the newly called-out nation of Israel ends in detention as slaves in Egypt, but in the millennium God will have Israel at the head of the nations, never to be set at nought again. In the fifth, God’s covenant of law was impossible for any to keep, but in the millennium, Christ having established a new covenant, the Holy Spirit empowers individuals (Jer 31:31-34; Eze 36:26-27). In the sixth, the Church fails time and again, but in the millennium, it’s presented a “glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph 5:27). In the grand finale, the doors of time shall close and the eternal Day of God shall open; only the redeemed of all time shall enter and every tear shall be wiped away! “There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Rev 21:4).

Beloved, there are not sufficient adjectives in the English language to adequately convey the perfection of the salvation God provides. Every child of God can lift their voice to declare, “We shall be saved!” “We will … [show] to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done” (Psa 78:4). “He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion” (111:4).

[1] Bible quotations in this article are from the KJV.