Category Archives: Salvation

Complete Deliverance – Part II

The Lord will also begin to teach you the futility of earthly thinking and the transience of fearfulness.  The just will live by faith means that faith provides the balance when emotion has one off keel. Our God has the absolute advantage of context spanning eternity past and full understanding of the future.  He is not surprised or overwhelmed by the events we experience; but he has compassion for our problems and pain.
As we learn and begin to conform our will with His,  He allows those events and circumstances to shape our character.  He teaches obedience and tests it.  That is why the process takes so long.  Our goals is to be conformed to the image of Christ  -> mind, will and emotions to save the soul.
The physical body is redeemed on the “Day of the Lord”. I Thessalonians 5:12 The Apostle Paul provides narrative delineating the natural and the spiritual and names the order of their appearance.  He clarifies that we have the natural state and the image of the man of dust, we shall soon have the image of the man from heaven. The transformation will take place in an instant.
We are in the state of change, our soul salvation is the only part of the transformation that we have any control over.  “Wherefore my beloved . . . work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” Philippians 2:12

Complete Deliverance Part I

Israel was in Egypt. It seemed providential since Joseph was sold into slavery before the great famine. The sitting Pharoah had lost the history of Joseph and later generations were in bondage.  They cried to be free.  God sent an unlikely hero to be their deliverer.  He was Moses.
They needed deliverance from the tyranny of their bondage, the effects of 400 years of captivity, the toll of hard physical labor.
Salvation, much like their bondage is 3-fold. The plan of salvation as revealed in scripture is:  the spirit is saved, the soul is being saved and the body will be saved on the Day of the Lord. Salvation is the transformation from the “Kingdom of Darkness into His marvelous light” I Peter 2:9.  Jesus said one must be born again, that is, borne of water and of the Spirit.  In this process one’s spirit is is renewed and becomes open for being in contact with God. 
Man was created in God’s image and likeness or his form and similitude.  God is a tri-fold being manifest as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Man is a tri-fold being as he is a spirit, he has a soul and lives in a male or female body. While the born-again experience is immediate and complete, the soul salvation takes considerably longer.
The soul consists of the mind, the will (volition) and the emotions.  The Bible describes both Father God and the Holy Spirit as emotional stating they can be grieved, can be pleased and laugh.  [James 2 and Psalm 59]  Jesus openly shared emotion with his disciples and the world.  He wept, showed anger and frustration and most importantly compassion. As is most things, our goal is to imitate Christ in all ways especially his emotion. 
The writer of Hebrews says that Christ learned obedience through the things he suffered. Our soul salvation is limited or enhanced by how much we study and imitate his emotion, his conviction and how he subjugated his volition. 
I Corinthians 1 says we have the mind of Christ.  If we received this promised benefit, what would it look like?  A mind that wouldn’t forget, that wouldn’t be distracted by the fiery darts of the adversary [Ephesians 6:16].  A mind that keeps focused on the trail and that esteems others more highly than he does himself.
Will is defined as the mental faculty by which one deliberately chooses or decides upon a course of action that is not prescribed but surrendered to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.   The beautiful grace of God is that once you set you affections upon Him,  his will, the Kingdom – He helps you turn your emotions and will toward Him.  
To be Continued!!
inset photo of an Egyptian deity figure part of the Indianapolis Children’s Museum collection photographed by the author.  

Written to “J” with love

I met a wonderful and interesting woman this week and she confided that she had been catholic but that she never felt that God heard her prayers.  I said God is listening and wants to answer all of your prayers.  What I would have liked to have said was ” . . . We have to learn to attune our ears to hear Him clearly”.   Taking a moment in one of the nation’s premier department stores, I felt somewhat challenged to share with her fine points about Christianity and to discover where she is in her walk with the Lord but I am praying that she will follow me to this page and I add this writing with her and hopefully others in mind. 

Christianity is not a religion, it is the formation and development of a relationship between ourselves and Jesus,  the Christ (the Anointed One, Risen Messiah). I say it is not a religion because religions are founded upon the premise that people need to do something in order to be “good enough” to be acceptable to God.  Every religion known to man provides a vehicle where if we can pray enough, or do enough good or (God forbid) destroy our enemies, we can be deemed righteous and/or be rewarded. 

Clearly and simply, we cannot do enough, but the love of God is so great that He would not let us be lost but sent His one and only Son to pay the penalty of death for our failure and separation.   He paid that debt and as a result, we have a chance to know and fellowship with Him. 

There have been no lack of stories about a designated savior/gift to the world. This story differs from most as it details the most gruesome death that anyone has had to die who was innocent of any crime.  As it is written, “scarcely for an upright man will one die, or even for an especially good man. But Christ died for us” while we were dead wrong and not even looking for redemption!  [partial quote and my own paraphrase of Romans 5:7-8]

He rises from the dead and was seen by hundreds of people, returns to heaven but is coming back for all that believe in Him.  He made promises of good gifts and favor for all who believe in Him. The story is easy to believe but also easy to reject.  We can come up with our own rationale for how and why God should operate and complete scenarios about how the plan of salvation should work.  But God is looking for those who will follow His plan, seek Him to worship and worship Him in Spirit and Truth.   He wants people to love him in faith by grace as we learn to understand His love and mercy.

Another View of Psalm Ninety-One

Although some question remains on who the author of this psalm is, Moses as author of Psalm 91 rings most true to me.  Moses wrote several of the psalms but this one has inspired me since my bible reading became vital and the Word, a life priority.  

The vision of this psalm describes the camp that the Lord God described to Moses on the mount over 40 sleepless days and nights. Moses was taught how to prepare the camp according to the pattern he was given. The detail he was given showed which tribes were to be placed where, and where the Levites were also to be placed. The protocol for the camp’s movement was also given priority.   

The Israelite tribes wandered in the heat of the desert wilderness but they were under a cloud of divine protection.  A cloud representing the glory of the Lord covered the tent of meeting and quite literally the entire camp.  When the cloud was taken up, that was the signal for them to prepare to travel, the camp was to be dis-assembled and packed for movement.  The uplifting of the cloud then provided shade, [shadow] a covering for those below as they followed it to the next campsite.   Abiding in the secret place under the shadow of the Almighty is a very secure place and clear metaphor for what Moses experienced.

Moses had to learn from experience how to trust God in the midst of his own unbelief including the many trips to the Pharoah’s palace, so many times he left there empty-handed. I can’t imagine how frustrated he must have been to have seen the masses of Egyptians suffer plagues of frogs and locusts, sores and more knowing that the Pharoah’s stubbornness was totally to blame. 

He clearly witnessed the noisome [rank and noxious] pestilence of flies, locusts, dead livestock and water turned blood, he was assured not to fear these things.  

In the moment of great angst, Moses saw the people trapped before the Red Sea and had to learn the hard way that God is a refuge and fortress – when He wraps his arms [wings] around you, you are safe.  As verse eight says “only with your eyes will you behold the reward of the wicked”, he witnessed the Egyptian chariots and horses swallowed in the depth of the Red Sea.  The old song claimed “Mary don’t you weep, Pharoah’s army got drowned” 

The psalmist says that you won’t be afraid of night terrors or any weapons (rendered evil plots and slanders in the Amplified Version). Neither the destruction or sudden death that could happen in broad daylight.  A thousand or even ten thousand  can die before you but you will be safe.  
The psalmist places a conditional promise as does occur frequently throughout the bible. The promise can be considered true as long as the premise is completed. The premise states, “Because he has set his love upon me . . . then sets forth a number of promises but the most striking and amazing to me is I will satisfy him with long life. That is, as a result of loving Him, I will be satisfied with the length of my life, or even,  ” . . .  when I depart this life, I will be satisfied.

The second part of this promise is: ” . . . show him my salvation”.  I Thessalonians 5:23 describes salvation more clearly than most by describing salvation as a whole.  Salvation of the spirit, soul and body as a process incomplete until the Day of the Lord.  Yet the Lord promises to show this salvation process to those who love Him.