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Absolutes Of Salvation

This article is rather lengthy, over four typewritten pages. I suggest that you read it when you have sufficient time. This article will also appear in the website under the title Lutheranism 3. There are absolutes regarding salvation.

Jonah 2:9: But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.

The first absolute of salvation is that it is of the Lord. Salvation is not a hand-me-down salvation. It is not a second-handed salvation. If any part of salvation came from or through a mortal, a ceremony or anything else, it would not be of the Lord.

The second absolute of salvation is that it is the gift of God.

Ephesians 2:8: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Entire religions are built upon an incorrect overestimation of the simple word key. Keys are functional and necessary but they have no power or authority. The Bible uses the phrase keys of the kingdom. In this article I shall call some of the absolutes that cause salvation keys.

Several keys work together to cause salvation. The keys in the Bible relating to salvation are almost impossible to misunderstand. Even so they are willfully misunderstood and rejected by unbelievers. Natural men reject God*s keys by substituting their own preferences. They may believe in one of God*s keys and reject others. They may reject some of God*s keys or all of them. They reject one or more of God*s keys at their own peril.

1 Corinthians 2:14: But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

When keys get the same result (salvation) they work together. They work simultaneously. If salvation could occur without one of the keys that one would not be a key to salvation. If only one of the keys caused salvation the others would not.

Salvation is eternal life. Eternal life existed in the Triune God for all eternity past. God places it into mortals in a moment. We do grow in our understanding of the life that God places in us and in our ability to live it and enjoy it, but the beginning of it does not come in fits and starts. Its beginning in us is not a step-by-step process. God puts it into us the moment we receive Jesus.

A key that results in salvation is receiving Jesus. Old Testament saints believed God*s promise that He would send a Savior and thereby received Jesus ahead of time.

John 1:12: But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

1 John 5:11-12: And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

Individuals have either received Jesus or they have not. They either have eternal life or they don*t. The vast majority of those who have received Jesus understand that water baptism played no part in their salvation and that it came directly from Diety. They are not saved by wisdom or intelligence but by receiving Jesus.

Another key that results in salvation is faith. People in all ages who have been saved were saved through faith in God.

Ephesians 2:8: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Hebrews 11:6: But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Romans 4:5: But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

Hebrews chapter 11 is called the faith chapter. It lists a number of people who had faith in God and were saved. They were saved well before baptism was practiced. Faith in God is not passive or inert. Wall-flowers do not participate in dancing. Bumps on a log do not have faith in God. Faith in God obeys God. Obviously their faith was demonstrated in different ways.

Another key that results in salvation is being born again.

John 3:3, 5: Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. . . . 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

One cannot know the difference between counterfeit 50 dollar bills and a real one until he sees a real one and probably not until he studies the real one. The same is true of those who have not been born again and cannot see the kingdom of God. They cannot know the difference between the real and the counterfeits.

Another key that results in salvation is a baptism performed by Jesus and/or the Holy Spirit. There are several baptisms discussed in the Bible. Therefore we MUST know which one saves and which ones do not. Some baptisms are performed by mortal men and some are performed by members of the Godhead, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Theirs is the baptism that saves.

Jesus knew that the water baptism of John the Baptist in and of itself was not effectual and promised a better baptism.

Acts 11:16: Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.

John 4:1-2: When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, 2 (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary on John 4:2:

John being a servant baptized with his own hand; Christ as the Master, baptized with the Holy Ghost, and administered the outward symbol only through His disciples.

Matthew Poole*s Commentary on John 4:2:

For he himself did not personally baptize any, but left it to his disciples, himself attending to the greater work of preaching the gospel, by which men and women were made fit for the ordinance of baptism.

The Fourfold Gospel on John 4:2:

Jesus, as divine Lawgiver, instituted baptism, and his disciples administered it. We nowhere hear of the disciples of John administering baptism. In fact, the Baptist, like the disciples of Jesus, baptized under a divine commission, and could not delegate the power to others. It was the office of Jesus to commission others to this work, not to perform it himself. Had he done so, those baptized by him might have foolishly claimed for themselves some peculiar honor by reason thereof (1 Corinthians 1:14, 15). Jesus was the spiritual baptizer, in which baptism the efficacy lies in the administrant; but water baptism, the efficacy of which lies rather in the spirit of the one baptized than in the virtues of the administrant, [this baptism] Jesus left to his disciples.

John the Baptist himself knew that water baptism in and of itself was ineffectual and that Jesus would provide an effectual baptism.

Luke 3:16-17: John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: 17 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.

The word fire in verses 16 and 17 are the same word. The fire of judgment in verse 17 is that which will fall upon the lost. The fire of judgment in verse 16 is that which has already fallen upon Jesus. He suffered that judgment on our behalf. When we receive Him, He baptizes us with that fire of judgment.

We must understand God*s purpose for John and look at his water baptism from that perspective. His purpose was not the salvation of souls. His purpose was not to be the Saviour. He never claimed that his baptism had any saving merit. He never claimed to be a substitute for Messiah (Jesus).

John 1:19-21: And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? 20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. 21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.

John*s purposes were to PREPARE the Jews for their Messiah, Jesus, and then to announce the arrival of Jesus and that He would take away sin. The first purpose of John*s ministry was prophesied in Isaiah and restated in Matthew.

Isaiah 40:3: The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Matthew 3:3: For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

John 1:29: The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

The Apostle Peter knew that water baptism was ineffectual.

Acts 11:16: Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.

The Apostle Paul knew that water baptism was ineffectual. He thanked God that he had not baptized many. If baptism saved, he would have baptized everyone he could.

1 Corinthians 1:14-17: I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; 15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. 16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. 17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

The baptism of John the Baptist did not save because he was not baptizing with the Holy Ghost.

Acts 19:1-5: And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, 2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John*s baptism. 4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Paul knew that Jesus baptized people with the Holy Ghost as a result of preaching.

1 Corinthians 1:21: For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

The Bible repeatedly uses the phrase: baptized with the Holy Ghost. That phrase means much more than simply being baptized by the Spirit, or being baptized into the Spirit or having the Spirit placed in you. The question arises what is it to be baptized with the Holy Ghost? The Bible states more than once Jesus would perform this baptism. (See Luke 3:16 and Acts 11:16.) The Bible never states that mortals would be able to baptize with the Holy Ghost.

The moment we receive Christ He baptizes us with the Holy Ghost. The first work of the Holy Ghost on us is to regenerate us. His work on us is then continual for the rest of our lives. We cannot separate His first work from the continual and repeated work He performs upon us for the rest of our lives. We cannot say that being baptized with the Holy Ghost stops at some point and then define the rest of His work on us in some other way. Being baptized with the Holy Ghost includes all of it. Being baptized WITH the Holy Spirit permeates the entire being of the baptized one for the rest of his life. In contrast, the water in water baptism never gets past our skin unless, of course, we have an open sore or drink it. And its wetness is only temporary.

Titus 3:5: Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

2 Corinthians 4:16b: . . . though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

The regeneration happens once and the renewing of the Holy Ghost goes on for the rest of a believer*s life.

When studying what the Bible says about baptism, we should pay close attention to details. Often there are two types of baptism mentioned in the same passage. One baptism is effectual in salvation. Others are pictures of the effectual one. Others are the result of effectual one. Whether a particular mention of baptism is in the past tense, the present tense or the future tense is very informative. Many of the passages speak of a present and on-going baptism. We must also pay attention to what the passages DO NOT say.

1 Peter 3:21: The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now (present tense) save us [not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,] by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

Romans 6:3: Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? (Not into water or with water, but into Jesus Christ and into His death)

1 Corinthians 12:13: For by one Spirit are we (present tense) all baptized into one body, (not into water) whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

Galatians 3:27: For as many of you as have been (past tense) baptized into Christ (not water) have put on (past tense) Christ.

Mark 16:16: He that believeth and is baptized (present tense) shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Matthew 20:22-23: But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be (future tense) baptized with the baptism that I am (present tense) baptized with? They say unto him, We are able. 23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be (future tense) baptized with the baptism that I am (present tense) baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.

When Jesus baptizes us with the Holy Spirit we are also baptized by the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:13: For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

The third absolute is the as many as in John 1:12: But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: This is an absolute number. We don*t know the exact number but God does. This is the absolute that includes one in salvation and involves all of the necessary keys. This is the absolute that brings all the keys together and holds them together. This is the absolute that makes all the keys fit. Those who are included in the as many as have the proper faith. Those who are included in the as many as have been born again. Those who are included in the as many as have the proper baptism. Those who are included in the as many as have everything they need to be the children of God and get to heaven. Those who are included in the as many as have had their sins forgiven. Those who are included in the as many as have forsaken their own preferences and received Jesus. Those who are included in the as many as may not have immediately understood all of the keys involved but they got them all.

Care to discuss Absolutes Of Salvation with Ron?

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