Weekly Article Blog
Senior Pastor Dan Hawn publishes a weekly article which is also emailed to members and regular attenders. Let us know if you would like to receive this weekly article via email.
The Golden Chain of Salvation, Part 4
In this series, we’re considering what is included in salvation, the wondrous work of God to save us from our sins, or more appropriately, to save us from the just penalty for our sins.
The Bible actually speaks of 10 different elements or aspects of salvation, sometimes portrayed as a chain of 10 links.
So far, we’ve considered the links of (1) election, (2) calling, (3) conversion, (4) justification and (5) regeneration. The next two are (6) adoption and (7) sanctification.
Adoption is a one-time act of God at the moment we believe in Christ. To be “adopted” means we are made a member of God’s family, whereby He becomes our Father & we become His son or daughter.
A key text is John 1:12-13:
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
Adoption is the greatest thing that Christianity offers! Yes, you read that correctly.
Obviously, it’s a wonderful thing to have one’s sins forgiven (justification). But, God can forgive us and still keep us at arms-length. Through adoption, however, we are brought close to God and given the privileges of son(daughter)ship. These privileges include the following:
1. God is always available & attentive to his children;
2. God is fond of his children;
3. God loves to give his children good gifts;
4. God promises to protect & provide for his children;
5. Everything God owns will one day be given to his children; and
6. Our adoption makes our salvation permanent.
We now come to an element of salvation that is cooperative (the believer & God working together) and progressive (not instantaneous). We’re talking about sanctification.
Sanctification is God & the believer working together over time to the end that the believer becomes more like Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul refers to this as “being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory,… (II Corinthians 3:18).
What God does to make us more like Christ (not a complete list):
1. He gives us the Scriptures & teachers/preachers to instruct us;
2. He gives us examples to follow;
3. He gives us the inner witness of the Holy Spirit to tell us when we’re sinning; and
4. He gives us difficulties & hardships to discipline us.
What we do to become more like Christ (not a complete list):
1. We practice the spiritual disciplines of Bible intake, prayer, worship, service to others, giving, fasting & evangelism;
2. We surround ourselves with good examples;
3. We have friends who tell us the truth; and
4. We submit to God’s discipline.
Most Christians will come to a point in the sanctification process where they feel stuck or otherwise have a sense they have stopped progressing. This isn’t unusual & we shouldn’t panic.
Bear in mind, we may be growing, but just don’t see it. On the other hand, if the feeling or sense persists over a long period of time, that is usually an indication the believer needs to intensify his or her practice of one or more of the spiritual disciplines mentioned above (Bible intake, prayer, worship, etc.).
This is the purpose of our salvation: to be conformed to the likeness of Christ (Romans 8:29). It’s a process that will be completed upon our glorification, which we’ll learn about next week.