18 March 2000

"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved"-Acts 4:12 When we speak of salvation, we speak of Christ, for in Him we find salvation in every form and fashion. The very name, Jesus, means Saviour: one who delivers; one who saves. Whether we look for salvation from the evils of this present life, or salvation from the eternal consequences of sin, Jesus should be sought very diligently as the object of our faith because, "there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved"-Acts 4:12. THE ETERNAL PHASE Concerning our eternal destiny, salvation began long before man appeared upon the scene. This phase of our salvation occurred in heaven, in eternity past. Therefore, man is passive in this phase of salvation. It involves God's foreknowledge, election and predestination: "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." Romans 8:29. According to Paul, God foreknew His people and predetermined their future image. I count it one of my greatest blessings to have learned that God knew me before I knew Him; that He thought upon me before I thought upon Him; and that He loved me before I loved Him. Before Eden, before Adam's dark transgression that affected all of humanity, God had a purpose and plan to rescue His elect. Jesus carried it out! THE LEGAL PHASE The legal phase of salvation involves redemption, justification, substitution, and the forgiveness of sin. It occurred upon Calvary's cross. When someone asks me when and where I was saved I must reply, "Upon Calvary, two-thousand years ago". I could not represent myself. I needed a mediator. One that could lay hold upon God and man; on that could fulfill the law that I could not keep; one that could reign over death; one who could answer the demands of God's righteous law written against my soul. Lest we should forget, the old prophet reminds us that man is passive in this phase of salvation as well: "I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me"-Isaiah 63:3a. Our hope of heaven should not be in our works. The eye of our faith should be in the person of Christ in this phase of salvation as well: "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace"-Eph. 1:7. THE VITAL PHASE This phase of salvation occurs in the heart of man. It is when we are brought into vital union with God by the new birth; when we are born of His spirit; quickened from death to life: "and you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins"-Eph 2:1. Paul says, "you were dead. God gave you life." Therefore, we were passive in this phase of salvation as well. We are not born again to become God's children. We are born again because we are God's children. This spiritual birth brings us into fellowship with our heavenly Father. It gives us the ability to learn of Him; to love Him; to communicate with Him; to feel His presence and know that He exists. Again, we find Jesus active in this phase of salvation, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live"-John 5:25. THE PRACTICAL PHASE This practical phase of salvation occurs in our minds. It is when the mind is taught concerning Christ, who He is and what He has done for us. Man is active in this phase of salvation. We hear and the law written upon our hearts in regeneration is brought to light by the gospel(2Tim. 1:10). In Acts, chapter 15, Paul refers to it as conversion as he declared the "Conversion of the Gentiles". It is not the new birth. How could we hear if we were spiritually dead? It is when those who have been born again hear of their Saviour. Jesus is there. He alone can open the eyes and ears of understanding! THE FINAL PHASE This final phase of salvation is yet to come. It is when Christ returns to claim His own. It does not occur in heaven; upon the cross; in our hearts; or even in our minds. It will occur all over this world when Christ returns and speaks with a voice that will wake the dead: "for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation"-John 5:28-29. In this phase of salvation man is passive and Jesus is active. Hallelujah, what a Saviour! Come and worship with us at Harmony Primitive Baptist Church, in Donaldson, where God is sovereign, and salvation is by His abundant and amazing grace. Visit our web page at www.primitivebaptist.org/donaldson/ Singing begins at 10:30 each Sunday morning followed by preaching at 11:00. By His mercy and grace, Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor