Is salvation a once for all experience, or is it a daily process? It is my purpose in this article to show from God’s Word that it is both a once for all experience and a lifetime daily process.
An Instant, Once for all Salvation.
Salvation is a once-for-all experience that begins when we, as sinners, are confronted with God’s demand in Matthew 5:48 that we be as righteous as God Himself and we are made aware of our sinful, helpless, hopeless, lost condition, as described in Romans 5 and Ephesians 2. We inherited that sinful nature from our first father, Adam.
Not only are we aware of our lost condition, but we are confronted with the truth of the Gospel, that Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins, and He rose again to justify us; that is, count us as righteous as God Himself. Salvation instantly occurs when we receive this gracious Gift of God by faith alone.
By trusting Christ alone, we are given the gift of eternal life that we can never lose. It is as eternal as God and is as certain as His promises in John 3:16, 36, 5:24, 6:37. Acts 16:31, Romans 8:28-39, 10:9-10, I John 5:10-13
Not only is this a once for all transaction with God, but it marks the beginning of a daily salvation that continues for the rest of our life.
Salvation can be likened to the birth of a baby which takes place in a moment of time, resulting in a new life of growth and increasing maturity that continues for the rest of his life on earth.
It can be likened to a wedding. As a wedding marks the beginning of an intimate, loving relationship between a man and a woman, which continues until death parts them; so being saved marks the beginning of a personal, eternal loving relationship with Christ which normally results in a life of growth in godliness.
A Daily Walk
Salvation is not just a one time experience of the past. It marks the beginning of a daily walk with God. Old Testament saints, such as Enoch, Noah and Abraham, are known as men who walked with God. Salvation takes place in an instant; but more than that, it takes place day by day for the rest of our lives and it is consummated in eternity when we are glorified sinlessly perfect in His sight.
Here is just a sampling of verses of Scripture that show that the Christian life is a life of walking with God. Ephesians 4:1, 17, 5:1, 8, 15, Galatians 5:16, 25, Colossians 2:6, Psalm 1, 86:11, 89:15, 101:1-3 116:9. All of these verses speak; not of an emotional experience, but of daily progress as we walk a holy life in the midst of a sinful world.
A Daily Surrender
In Romans 12:1 Paul challenges us as Christians to invite Christ to sit on the throne of our lives. This is not only an initial surrender to Christ; but a daily life of surrender to Him as Lord. Sometimes in our carnality, we rebel and suffer for it. When we ignore the promptings of Christ and go our own way, it is important that we confess it as sin and invite Him to return to the throne of our lives. So although the initial surrender may be a crisis experience; in reality, it become a daily surrender to His Lordship.
A Daily Filling
In Ephesians 5:18-21 Christians are urged to be filled or controlled by the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:9 teaches us that He lives in the life of every believer. The problem is that He does not fill and control each of us. When we surrender to the Lordship of Christ, the filling of the Spirit takes place automatically. Again, we need not seek an emotional experience. We simply need to surrender to Christ and the Spirit fills and controls us. The evidence of that filling is found in Ephesians 5:19-21. We are filled with joy, thanksgiving and given the ability to submit ourselves to one another as we seek God’s best for others. Furthermore, when we are filled with the Spirit, we bear His fruit which is described in Galatians 5:22-23.
A Daily Worship
Genuine worship of God is practically expressed as we magnify Christ in our lives and minimize our own preferences and desires. That is expressed in John the Baptist’s motto in John 3:30. “He must increase, but I must decrease.” According to Psalm 138:2, we must magnify God’s Word in order to magnify Christ. We get to know and love Christ as we give ourselves to reading and listening to the preaching of His Word, the Bible, and let it control our thinking, attitudes and actions. Otherwise, we don’t know the Christ we claim to worship.
I encourage you read the activities that took place daily in the early church, as listed in Act 2:42-47. Worship is not even mentioned. Why is that? Because, every activity of the church was then and should be today, an expression of our worship of Christ. Worship is not a twenty or thirty minute segment of a church service. Worship of Christ should be going on constantly, regardless of our activities in church or in the so-called secular activities of life. As long as Christ is Lord and the Spirit of God is filling our lives, we live in ceaseless praise and worship of Christ.
Frances Ridley Havergal understood this truth about worship when in 1874 she wrote the beloved song of consecration, “Take My Life and Let it Be”
“Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to Thee.
Take my moments and my days, Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice and let me sing always only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold. Not a mite would I with-hold.
Take my intellect and use every power as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will and make it Thine. It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart. It is Thine own. It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love; my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.”
Dear Christian friend, that’s worship!
Worship is the most intimate relationship we have with God. The closest thing I can liken it to is the intimate relationship of a husband and wife. That intimacy is not flaunted in public. That would be vulgar. So public, fleshly displays of our intimacy with God, such a drooling pious talk or doing anything in a worship service to try to make an impression on others, are inappropriate and sometimes vulgar as they draw attention to us, rather than to God. Such Christian tend to worship themselves rather than God.
Do you want a worship experience with God? Spend time in the Word, reading and meditating on it. Talk to God about its application to your life. Expose yourself to the faithful preaching of God’s Word, even if it tends to offend you at times. That’s worship; “magnifying God’s Word above His name.” Psalm 138:2
A Daily Supplication
God expects us to talk to Him each day. He teaches us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Psalm 68:18 reminds us that “He daily loads us with benefits.” We daily depend on His faithfulness to us, Lamentations 3:22-23 reminds us. Whether we ask Him or not, we depend on Him daily for all our needs, proving to us that we can’t get through one day without thinking of, speaking with and depending on our God and Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
A Daily Searching of His Word
Israel gathered manna every morning, Exodus 15:21 reminds us. In John 6:32-35 Jesus teaches us that He is our Manna which we feed on, preferably each morning, as we read and meditate on His Word each day.
The Church of Berea is held up as an example to us. Acts 17:11 tells us that they searched the Word daily to test what they were hearing by the plumb line of God’s Word.
It’s a sure thing that our growth in the grace and knowledge of Christ will be proportionate to the time we read and obey God’s Word.
A Daily Vigilance
Because we live in enemy territory surrounded by powers and influences that would destroy us, I Peter 5:8 warns us to be sober and vigilant against our ever present enemy, Satan, who would take great delight in ruining our lives. Psalm 141:3 warns us to be ever alert and WATCH; guard our Words, Actions, Thoughts, Companions, and our Heart.
Our Daily Cross
In Luke 9:23 Jesus taught His own to take up their cross daily and follow Him. In I Corinthians 15:31 Paul testified that he died daily. That involves being dead to our rights, our feelings, our desires and our preferences. Sure, we still have them; but if we don’t get our way, it doesn’t really matter. In Galatians 2:20 Paul taught “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me.” What a wonderful freedom that gives us! For more on this doctrine of the crucified life, I encourage you to work your way through my series on Freedom, which is actually a study of Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians.
A DAILY WITNESS
In Psalm 96:2 we are challenged to “show forth His salvation from day to day.” The key to evangelism is to “show and tell” Christ wherever you go. That’s what the Thessalonian church did, as recorded in I Thessalonians 1. In the early church, souls were saved daily Acts 2:46-47 tells us. Why such success? Because Jesus was absolutely everything to those early Christians. They lived and died for Him.
A DAILY STRENGTH
In the 1940’s I often rode steam engine drawn trains. The steam generated, only took the trains a short way down the tracks. As they kept on shoveling the coal into the engine. It generated enough steam to take the train a little further on down the track.
So, we don’t have enough spiritual power to live the Christian life to the end. We are only given enough for the day. Sometimes it is only enough for a few hours and we need to continue to lean on Christ for more strength, especially when life is difficult with pain and sorrow and confusion.
Listen to these wonderful promises of His strength for each day. “As thy days, so shall thy strength be. The eternal God is thy refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Deuteronomy 33:25, 27
“He giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might He increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:29-31 Take time to read in II Corinthians 12:7-10, Paul’s testimony of how God strengthened him in his weakness.
A Daily Rejoicing
If you are saved and on your way to Heaven, you have lots for which to rejoice.
I challenge you to choose to rejoice every day, regardless of the circumstances. Rejoicing is a matter of the will. You can either choose to complain or rejoice. It’s up to you. David determined in Psalm 118:23 to rejoice daily. He said, “This is the day that the Lord hath made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.”
As we learn more of God’s sovereignty, wisdom, power and love; rejoicing will become a way of life for you. It sure beats going through life depressed, bitter and angry; and it surely is much better on your health.
As joyful, surrendered Christians grows older, we experience the truth of Proverbs 4:18 “But the path of the just is as a shining light, that shines brighter and brighter unto the perfect day.”
“Wise men see more at night with their eyes closed, than a fool can see by day with his eyes open.” CH Spurgeon
J.I, Packer in his classic Knowing God, deals in chapter 19 with the Biblical doctrine of Adoption. He offers the Westminster Confession as an excellent declaration of the doctrine of Adoption, based on Romans 8 and 9, Galatians 4:5 and Ephesians 1:6 which summarize all the blessings of being born again into the family of God.
“All those that are justified, God vouchsafeth (guarantees as safe), in and for His only Son Jesus Christ, to make partakers of the grace of adoption: by which they are taken into the number and enjoy the liberties and privileges of the children of God; have His name put upon them, receive the Spirit of Adoption; have access to the throne of grace with boldness, are enabled to cry Abba, Father (the cry of a little child for his earthly father); are pitied, protected, provided for, and chastened by Him, as by a father; yet never cast off, but sealed to the day of redemption, and inherit the promises, as everlasting heirs of salvation”
Then Packer summarizes this doctrine as follows,
“What, then, of the historic disputes? The Romanists were wrong; viewed in the light of adoption and the fatherhood of God, their denial of both preservation and assurance becomes a ludicrous monstrosity. What sort of father is it that never tells His children individually that He loves them, but proposes to throw them out of the family unless they behave? The Wesleyan and Lutheran denial of preservation is similarly mistaken. God is a better father than this denial allows for: He keeps His children in faith and grace, and will not let them slip from His hand.
The Reformers and Wesley were right to say that assurance is integral with faith; the Puritans, however, were also right to lay more stress than either on the fact that Christians who grieve the Spirit by sin, and who fail to seek God with all their heart, must expect to miss the full fruition of this crowning gift of the double witness, just as careless and naughty children stop their parent’s smiles and provoke frowns instead. Some gifts are too precious for careless and naughty children, and this is a gift that our heavenly Father will, to some extent at least, hold back if He sees us to be in a state whereby it would spoil us, by making us think our Father did not care whether we lived holy lives or not.”
Rousas John Rushdoony wrote a classic book, Law and Liberty back in 1971. This book deals with the institutions of family and government and their inter-relationship.
God has set up three basic institutions in society. The family, the State and the Church. The family came first in the Garden of Eden, the State or human government, was set up after the Flood and the Church was established at Pentecost after Jesus had ascended back to Heaven.
Historically and Biblically, the family is the basic unit and building block of society. If the family fails to function as God intended, society crumbles.
According to Genesis 9:5-6 and Romans 13:1-4 the purpose of human government is for one reason only; to protect families from enemies, both foreign and domestic. As I understand it, the government Constitutionally has no business being involved in education nor providing for the financial needs of families. The State only got involved in public education in the middle of the nineteenth century and they only got involved in the Socialistic distribution of welfare money and Social Security with the New Deal following the Great Depression.
The Church is a special called out people of God, purchased by the shed blood of Christ, and given to bless the world through her witness.
Consider the family in this article.
THE FAMILY IS GOD’S PLAN FOR THE PROCREATION AND REARING OF CHILDREN.
Adam and Eve were married by God in the Garden of Eden, as recorded in Genesis 2:18-25. In Malachi 2:14-16 we learn that marriage is a sacred covenant in the sight of God, in which a man and a woman are bound together in love and trust for as long as they both live. Marriage is also a picture of the spiritual relationship between Christ and His Church, as taught in Ephesians 5:22-33.
From that marriage union, normally children are born and have a heritage from their families that cannot be duplicated by the State. The Biblical family cannot be rivaled by science nor government as the institution for the procreation and rearing of children.
THE FAMILY IS ALSO THE BASIC LAW-MAKING BODY OF SOCIETY.
Historically, family law has been the basic law of mankind. Proverbs 1:8-9 teaches it. As children we encounter rules of conduct, and our idea of law is shaped and defined largely by our family. Life is seen through the law structure that the family gives to the child.
How the child approaches and reacts to the church, school, state and society in general depends greatly on his source of law which is parental authority. He can face other law making bodies rebelliously, or obediently and respectfully. His attitude can be constructive, destructive or indifferent, depending on his family background to a large degree. Of course, parents can best rule their children, when they themselves are under the Lordship of Christ.
According to Genesis 18:19 God could bless Abraham and his family and make them a blessing to the world because He could trust Abraham to take his parental responsibilities of commanding his children seriously.
The response of children towards authority outside the home is a reflection of their response to authority within the home and is a reflection of our own submission as parents to the Lordship of Christ.
Children who are out of control in public places, such as church, school, in a store, or visiting in the homes of others, are children who are out of control in their own homes. Children who are out of control are a reflection of parents who are out of control. That’s why a father’s ability to govern his family is such a crucial consideration when choosing pastors, elders and deacons, according to I Timothy 3:5.
THE FAMILY IS THE FIRST GOVERNMENT IN THE LIFE OF A CHILD.
The father is the God-ordained head of his household and his government under God is the child’s basic government.
The children are not the only ones governed in the family. The mother is governed in her activities by the needs of her husband and children.
The father is governed by his need to lovingly and sacrificially provide for, protect and give his family the example of leadership they need.
When a father is not self-supporting, he has neither the power nor the authority to govern his family.
Welfare families, with their lack of masculine authority from the days of the Roman Empire to the present, have been notorious for their undisciplined, immoral and delinquent family members. A man who will not provide for his family, will not earn his family’s respect and will lack the character, authority and ability to govern with wisdom and honor. The Christian man who does not provide for his family is worse than an infidel, according to I Timothy 5:8.
In short, government welfare destroys family life and creates more evil than it tries to solve.
THE FAMILY IS THE CHILD’S FIRST AND BASICSCHOOL.
Parents have very extensively educated their children, for better or for worse in the first five years before they ever set foot inside a government or private school. Read and study Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and Isaiah 28:9-10 on this.
Has it ever occurred to you that every mother performs the most difficult of all educational tasks which no school performs nor can match? From birth, over the next three to five years, she teaches her child to speak fluently in the native tongue of the family. Though difficult and painstaking, it is accomplished through love and patience. It comes simply and naturally within the family as an expression of parental love. Learning is the child’s response to that parental love.
At every stage of a child’s life, the educational function of the home is the basic influence in the life of the child. Read Proverbs 1:8 and 4:1-13 on this.
If parents are to entrust the education of their children to a school, it is essential that they find a school that best reflects their values and goals. Our Christian school, Victory Christian School, is under the control of Alameda Bible Church. We seek together to live under the control of Christ and His Word. As we teach and reflect those Biblical values, standards and goals, we attract only those families who desire what we have to offer. For education to cease to be parent and church controlled and become state controlled is deadly to the child.
ANOTHER BASIC FUNCTION OF THE FAMILY IS TO PROVIDE MOTIVATION AND GUIDANCE.
A child is provided with the best motivation and guidance in his home because his family loves him and is deeply concerned for his future. That goal is, of course, to be like Jesus. Philippians 1:21, 3:10-14
CONSIDER THE ECONOMIC FUNCTION OF A FAMILY.
A father provides for his family; not for strangers.
Welfare agencies provide for a growing number of dysfunctional families. Under this system, disintegration and demoralization takes place within the family. Education declines and there is less interest in the values of learning and less ability to progress.
Under the family system, children are not only intellectually motivated, but they are also economically financed through high school, college and sometimes grad school.
As far as sheer economic efficiency is concerned, nothing in all of history equals the family. By comparison, state welfare and Socialistic takeover of the family economic functions are pathetic and tragic failures. Socially, the family has no equal in its contribution to social stability and order.
The family as an economic unit has an excellent division of labor plans. Fathers, mothers and children each have their responsibilities. Each has rights and duties which are equally shared. The family can withstand and survive more shock, economic disasters, personal disagreements and social catastrophes than any other institution.
THE FAMILY ALSO HAS A VALUABLE POLICING AND PROTECTIVE FUNCTION.
The members of the family police one another and keep their family in line and out of trouble. They punish and protect one another. Their’s is a cradle to the grave protection.
THE CONTRAST OF FAMILY TO THE STATE
When government talks about cradle to the grave security, they are simply attempting to imitate the family and offering the state as a substitute to the family.
Throughout history the family has done the most satisfactory job. The State botches up every attempt to replace the family. Today our socialistic government continually attempts to limit the authority, power and ability of the family. They do this through:
1. Outrageous taxation, even to taxing the inheritance parents pass on to their children. That is stealing!
2. By scrutinizing how families rear their children and threatening to take children from their parents if discipline or education is not according to their standards.
3. Then the State has the audacity to blame the family for the problems they have created within the family.
Has the State weakened the family? Not really. The more the State has interfered and demoralized families, the more it has emphasized man’s need for family. The prevalence of sickness does not make health obsolete. It only emphasizes the importance and need for health. So the incompetence of the State had made more obvious the need for the family to function as a family.
Historically, every period of Statism is followed by a period of intensely family oriented society as men turn from sickness to health. For decades we have been in a struggle between two clear choices in America. The choices are obvious.
1. More and more State control and dependency as we depend on “The Village” to raise our children.
2. Or we must strengthen our families and take back the responsibilities and freedoms the former generation forfeited to the State. We must return to strong Biblically oriented families and quit depending on the State to do for us what we can much better do for ourselves.
I encourage you to read Psalms 127 and 128 and note:
1. The Psalmist is speaking primarily to the husband and father. He refers to his wife and children.
2. Children are given by God to families; not to the State.
3. The wife is seen as a homemaker with all the family sitting around the dinner table together.
4. Security and prosperity come by hard work; not by government welfare.
5. If we live in the fear of God and in obedience to God’s Word, we can expect God’s blessing on our children, our grand children and our great grandchildren. I have seen that in our own family, by God’s grace. All our children, and our grandchildren are successful and living for the Lord. And now our great-grandchildren are beginning to come! May they continue to “seek the Lord while He may be found.” Isaiah 55:6-7
And may you, Dear Reader, know the Lord and His blessing on your family.
I love you, Johnny, said mother one day,
I love you more than I can say,
Then she answered his questions with,
Don’t bother me now!”
And just didn’t have time to show him how
To tie his truck to his tractor and plough,
But she washed her windows and scrubbed the floor
And baked, and cooked, and cleaned some more.
“Bring the boy next door in?” “Well, I should say not,
You’ll mess up the floors and I don’t want a spot.”
“No, we don’t have time for a story today,
Mother’s too busy cooking, so run out and play,
Maybe tomorrow,” she said with a sigh,
And Johnny went out almost ready to cry.
“I love you, Johnny,” again she said,
As she washed his face and sent him to bed.
Now how do you think that Johnny guessed
Whether ‘twas he or the house that
She really loved best?
First read this many years ago. Author unknown