Salvation in 3-Dimensions
I just met the world’s worst worrier and she did not have a care in the world. I asked: 'What happened? How did you get rid of all your worries?'
She said: 'I hired a man to worry for me.'
I replied: 'Wow - what does he charge?'
She answered: '£500 a day.'
I said: 'But where are you going to find that kind of money?'
She replied: 'Well, that’s his worry, isn’t it!'
Wouldn’t it be great if we had someone who could take all our worries and for free?! That’s exactly what God offers us (1Peter 5:7). We get into anxiety when we take our eyes off the Lord and try to carry the burden ourselves. One of the things we can worry about is our salvation. Has it happened?, is it happening?, or will it happen? There is a paradox here. In the Bible, salvation is sometimes past, sometimes present, sometimes future - which is it? Do our weaknesses and failures mean God won’t be able to finish what He started. Will He finally be able to perfect us? What's God doing in us now?
1Thessalonians 5:23,24: 'Now may the God of peace Himself SANCTIFY (save) you COMPLETELY and may your whole SPIRIT, SOUL, and BODY be preserved blameless at the Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, Who also will do it.'
* He is the God of peace: He wants you to have the assurance of your salvation, that He will see it through to the end. He does not start something and then abandon it.
* Your salvation is so important He Himself is doing it. He is leaving nothing to chance but taking personal responsibility.
* He is working on you until He has saved you completely. He is not going to settle for anything less than perfection.
* Our complete being that is being saved (restored to glory) is defined to be: spirit, soul, and body.
* The process of salvation will be complete: at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Until then we are still under construction.
* Our guarantee that God will complete His work in us is that: He is faithful. He began by calling us into salvation through the promise of the Gospel. He is faithful to keep His promise to do (complete it). We can rejoice and rest in this assurance: “Confident of this very thing, that He Who has begun a good work in you will perform it (carry it on to completion) until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6).
SPIRIT-SOUL-BODY. One of the most enlightening revelations concerning the nature of man and how God is working our salvation is that man by creation is a TRINITY or TRI-UNITY. This is not surprising as threeness is the very nature of our One God. 'In the beginning God (Elohim- a plural noun) created (singular) the heavens and the earth' (Genesis 1:1).
He created a Triune Uni-verse: (1) ‘In the beginning’ = TIME,
(2) ‘the heavens’ = SPACE, (3) the earth = MATTER-ENERGY
Science confirms that one can’t exist without the other two.
Likewise when God created man in His image and likeness He made man a Trinity. 'The LORD God (1) formed man of the dust of the ground (BODY) and (2) breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (SPIRIT) and (3) man became a living being (SOUL)' (Genesis 2:7).
Before the Fall, these 3-dimensions of man were in harmony.
His spirit (made of the breath of God) was in constant contact and fellowship with God’s Spirit giving him direct intuitive knowledge of God and things.
By his body he contacted and exercised authority over the physical world.
His soul or personality (his mind, will and emotions) was formed from the fusion of spirit and body, forming the bridge between them. He lived under God’s authority by the life flowing from his spirit.
So, man is a spirit, he has a soul and lives in a body.
God’s purpose is for every part of triune man to respond to the Triune God with love: 'Hear, O Israel: The LORD (FATHER), our GOD (SON), the LORD (SPIRIT) is ONE (echad - meaning a corporate unity) You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart (SPIRIT), with all your SOUL, and with all your strength (BODY)' (Deuteronomy 6:4,5).
The Three are One so we should love the One God with all three parts of our being.
But after the Fall our spirit, soul, and body got messed up. Man’s spirit died to God immediately, so that we were cut off from the life of God. It became the ‘Old Man’. The sin-nature (sin) came into the flesh resulting in certain physical death. All this was predicted in Genesis 2:17. So instead of the soul coming under the control of the spirit, it came under the power of ‘sin in the flesh’.
This means we need salvation on all 3-DIMENSIONS: Spirit-Soul-Body.
This explains whyin the Bible we discover:
(1). We have been saved,
(2). We are being saved and
(3). We will be saved. Which is right? - they all are!
There are 3-STAGES OF OUR SALVATION:
1. We have been saved - this is the salvation of our SPIRIT.
2. We are being saved - this is the salvation of our SOUL.
3. We will be saved - this is the salvation of our BODY.
Notice the order: SPIRIT - SOUL - BODY. God works from the inside out.
1. We have been saved (the Past Tense Salvation of our SPIRIT by the New Birth).
* 'Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit' (Titus 3:5).
* We are a NEW CREATION in the spirit, we are the righteousness of God (2Cor 5:17,21).
* 'God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that (salvation) not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we (the New Man) are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them' (Eph 2:4-10).
'The new (spirit) man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness' (Eph 4:24). See Romans 6:1-11, Col 2:9-15.
2. We are being saved (the Present Tense Salvation of our SOUL by the Word of God).
'The message of the cross ... to us who are being saved it is the power of God' (1Cor 1:18).
'Receive with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls' (James 1:21).
'Receiving the end (result) of your faith - the salvation of your souls' (1Peter 1:9).
Now our reborn spirit is perfect and indwelt by the Holy-Spirit, but our soul is not perfect. There is an ongoing process called ‘the salvation of our souls, which works through us (1) receiving and (2) doing the Word of God (including repentance, prayer, worship, serving). Our soul (mind) now is the main issue (the decider) in determining what progress we make. The spirit pulls the soul one way and the flesh pulls the opposite way. Whichever way the soul votes will dominate (Gal 5:16,17, Rom 8:5).
It all depends on what we set your mind on and give attention to. If we become spiritually minded by allowing the Word to renew our mind to who we are in Christ in our spirit, then the fruit of the Spirit will flow out of our spirit.
The result is the transformation of our life: 'Do not be (externally) conformed to this world (by its pressures), but be transformed (by ‘metamorphisis’) by the renewing of your mind (soul), that you may prove (in your life) what is that good, acceptable and perfect will of God' (Romans 12:2). In metamorphisis, the inner beauty of our reborn spirit (butterfly) is no longer hidden inside the soulish outer shell (caterpillar), but comes forth into manifestation. It is change from the inside out. Likewise God’s will is for the life and love of Christ in our spirits to be expressed outwardly, showing forth the will of God. This requires the renewing of our mind - letting the Word of God bring our thinking (souls) into agreement with our new-creation spirit (removing blockages of unbelief, unforgiveness etc) by continually (1) hearing and (2) doing it. Faith in our salvation comes by (1) hearing the Word, but only by (2) acting it out by faith is the process completed. As a butterfly must exert its strength so you must: 'work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which works in you both to will (giving you the desire) and to do (giving you the ability and power) His good pleasure' (Phil 1:12,13).
3. We will be saved (the Future Tense salvation of our BODY by resurrection and glorification)
Our eternal glory depends on how well we have received the saving of your soul: 'salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1Peter 1:5).
'For those who eagerly await Him, He (Jesus) will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation' (Hebrews 9:28).
'Let us who are of the day be sober, putting on as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ' (1Thess 5:8,9).
'now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed' (Romans 13:11). See also 1 Corinthians 15:50-58.