A young man called Sinner once received from his father a beautiful red Salvation Saloon. It was sparkling new, and it delighted his heart. For it was a free-gift. 'I did nothing to earn it. I could have worked for years and years and never been able to buy it.' He was so happy he changed his name to be more like it - from Sinner to Saved. He polished it every day, took pictures to show and tell his friends about it. He looked all over it and admired it's excellent workmanship. He told everyone 'My Father gave it me - it's a free gift.'
A few days later he was seen out on the highway pushing his lovely new car. Mr Helper came up to him and asked: 'Why are you pushing this lovely car.'
Saved: 'It is a lovely car isn't it -a free-gift you know. If I can push it to the end of the highway then I'll be allowed in into the heavenly city.'
Helper: 'It must be exhausting pushing it around all day?'
Saved: 'Well yes, in many ways life was much easier before I received my Salvation Saloon. Especially when it's uphill. But it will be worth it in the end. And it's such a wonderful gift-it's worth getting tired for it. The least I can do to push it everywhere. And I've learned some techniques-the bumper kept cutting into my hands but then an expert told me how to install some rubber cushions and now I can push for hours without a blister ! and if I back against the car, bend knees, lift 45 degrees-wonderful for muddy roads. Sometimes I wonder if I can keep this up. It's so hard.'
'Does it have OIL and PETROL in it.' -asked Helper.
'Yes- when My Father gave it to me He said the tank was full. But I don't know what it's for. Everything will be revealed when I get to the end of the highway.'
Helper: 'Have you read the manual?'
Saved: 'Not much-I've been too busy and tired pushing'
Helper: 'Let's get in.'
Saved: 'I've never thought of that. What's the point? It looks so good from the outside I never got in it. Also, if I stop pushing how will I get anywhere. Surely if I just SIT and REST back in my SALVATION I'll get nowhere.'
But Saved was so worn out, he decided just to sit back and rest all his weight on the car and let it support him for a bit. Mr Helper got in, and told him to turn the keys in the lock. His Father had given them but he never realised he could use them.
Soon they were driving down the highway at 60mph !
Saved was quite breath-taken and excited and asked:
'Where did this power come from?'
Mr Helper explained: 'It came with a brand new ENGINE and PETROL. You still have to drive it. You have the responsibility of controlling where the car goes. But you don't have to push it! It has plenty of power to drive. You just have to trust in the power provided-sit back and turn the key and let it carry you along. Your Father sent me to help you and by the way-keep your tank full.'
THE RED SALOON represents OUR SALVATION made through the FINISHED WORK of Christ and given to us by our Father. By his blood a Great Exchange (my sin for his righteousness) took place. This enabled God to offer us, through the gospel, Salvation as a Free-Gift. When I believed in Christ and what he did, I was put (BAPTISED) into Christ and his Righteousness was given to me (IMPUTATION) and I was JUSTIFIED by his grace. I was also placed as a member of his family (ADOPTION) Thus, IN CHRIST I was put into a new relationship with God. All this was done FOR ME. The man who admired his car from the outside knew all this, but he didn't know what was INSIDE the car.
There are INTERNAL (transforming) as well as EXTERNAL (legal) aspects of our salvation. For God did also did something IN US when we believed.
He IMPARTS His LIFE to us which transforms, delivers and makes us whole (John 10:10). His power is working in us to move us forward. God's Purpose for us in the Journey of Life is to become more and more like Jesus through God's Life controlling us (Rom 8:28,29).
3 Key Words describe this process:
(1) SALVATION- Deliverance from all sin and curse by God's Life. This logically follows after (legal) Justification. (Rom 5:9,10)
(2) SANCTIFICATION- to be set apart to God, and to be set apart from all that is not of God, to made holy as God is holy, to be made Christ-like. (Rom 8:29).
(3) GLORIFICATION -Our purpose is to glorify God, and be God's glory - in who we are, by receiving of His glory (his love, life etc) and expressing it. Romans 8:28-30 describes God's eternal purpose in making us like Jesus: 'Whom He called-He justified-He glorified.' After justification God releases His life (glory) into us to begin glorifying us. To God in Eternity it's done. But now we're in the process of God's glory growing in us. 'We are changed from one degree of glory to another by the Spirit of the Lord' (2Cor 4:17,18).
SANCTIFICATION is by BLOOD (Hebrews 13:12)
The Great Exchange of the cross first secured our justification through remission of sin and imputation of Christ's righteousness (2Cor 5:21). It secondly secured our sanctification by releasing us from the curse of sin and imparting the blessing (the LIFE of CHRIST)
'Christ has redeemed us from the curse (death) of the law being made a curse (death) for (instead of) us for it's written 'cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree' that the BLESSING of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles through (union with) Jesus Christ-that we might receive the promise of the SPIRIT through faith.' (Gal 3:13,14).
The new life we live is comes to us through the cross. The cross released the ministry of the HOLY (sanctifying) SPIRIT to us. He COMMUNICATES God's Saving and Sanctifying Life to us (John 16:14) All sanctification (growth in holiness, conformity to Christ) is by the HOLY Spirit, so called because He is Holy and His primary ministry is to make us holy by imparting Christ's Life (holiness) to us (sanctification) Thus sanctification is through the love of God and grace of Christ communicated to us through the fellowship (participation) with the Holy-Spirit. (2Cor 13:14)
3 Stages of SANCTIFICATION
'The God of peace SANCTIFY you wholly
-(1) spirit, (2) soul and (3) body.'(1Thess 5:23)
1. THE SALVATION of the (HUMAN) SPIRIT= Regeneration= a completed PAST action by the Holy-Spirit at the moment of receiving Christ, recreating and perfecting our spirit. (Col 2:10, 2Cor 5:17, Eph 2:10) He put a brand new ENGINE in us! Our spirit is made of the resurrected life of Christ (Eph 2:5, Gal 2:20) 'Christ in us-the hope of glory' (Col 1:27). Thus we are called SAINTS (1Cor 1:2) which means 'sanctified ones.' We've been SANCTIFIED, MADE HOLY in spirit (1Cor 6:11, Heb 10:10,14; Eph 4:24, 1Cor 1:30, Acts 26:18). At the moment of faith the Holy-Spirit baptised us into Christ and regenerated our spirit and sealed us (2Cor 1:22, Eph 1:13, 4:30). He did such a good job that He was also able to permanently INDWELL our reborn spirit from that moment! (Matt 9:17; John 7:37-39, 14:16,17, 1John 3:24; 4:4,13; 1Cor 6:19,20, Rom 8:9,23; 1Cor 2:12, 12:13; Gal 3:2,4:6). The Anointing of God now dwells within us (1John 2:20,27, 2Cor 1:21,22).
2. THE SALVATION OF THE SOUL is a PRESENT tense continuous growth process (2Pet 3:18) by the Spirit. (2Cor 4:17,18).
3. THE SALVATION of the BODY Our salvation will be fully manifested in a FUTURE moment our resurrection. ULTIMATE SANCTIFICATION. (1John 3:2, Jude 25, Eph 5:26,27; Rom 8:23, 2Cor 5:5)
Our present sanctification is the ministry of THE INDWELLING HOLY SPIRIT.
The 3rd Person of the Godhead INDWELLING US means we have the OIL and PETROL in our Salvation- we're powered up and ready to go! But while I trust in myself and push, the power is not released. But if I trust (sit) in my Salvation and turn the KEY OF FAITH, the power of God works for me and carries me along the highway of life until I reach my final destination.
We can only live and progress in the Christian life by continually trusting in the power of the Holy-Spirit. Many Christians are like Mr Saved- they don't know the Holy Spirit is WITHIN them to help them live and grow. He continually works to sanctify us, to make us more like Jesus by releasing the LIFE and LOVE of God through us. (Rom 5:5, 15:16, 1Peter 1:2) But it only happens through our co-operation and fellowship with Him as we look to Him and trust Him to empower and sanctify us. We are sanctified through sharing in the life of the Holy-Spirit which flows from the Love of God and Grace of Jesus. (2Cor 13:14) So we must cultivate our dependence upon the Spirit. He's not only the PETROL, but the HELPER sitting next to us guiding us on life's journey.
GOD'S PART and OUR PART IN SANCTIFICATION.
1. He is our HELPER (John 14:16,17,26)--we do it but He provides us with the strength. We must look to Him and call upon His help. (We are not passive expecting Him to do it all for us.) He is a real Person, in you, sent to help you, available for you all the time. You can turn to Him in need and He will fill you with His strength and wisdom.
2. We must work out the salvation (life) that God has worked and is working within us continuously (Philippians 2:12,13, Rom 5:5). The Fruit of the spirit comes from the Spirit but is born by the branches as they allow the sap (Spirit) to fill them. (Gal 5:16-25)
3. 'BE (BEING) FILLED (CONTROLLED) WITH THE SPIRIT' (Ephesians 5:18) The Spirit will change us and impart God's life to us but it's up to us to let Him fill and control us. The command is given to us to let Him fill us.
HOW CAN WE BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT ?
1. REPENT of any known sin, especially of trusting in self (pride) Sin blocks our spiritual PIPE -when we confess it the Spirit can apply the blood and remove it, so we can be filled. (1John 1:9)
2. YIELD-PRESENT YOURSELF TO GOD We have areas (rooms) of our soul and life that arenít renewed. We give access for God to fill (control) us by presenting ourselves (body and soul) to God, inviting Him to fill us. (Rom 12:1,2; 6:13) We must give Him something to fill. Lifting of Hands and Tongues are ways we do this. Heíll fill whatever we give Him. 2Kings 4 - gives a picture of this. The more jars she presented the more oil filled her house.
3. RECEIVE BY FAITH
'How much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them who ask Him?' (Luke 11:13,9) Ask-believing Him to fill you. He always answers this prayer. Believe you receive when you pray. (Mark 11:24) So simple? Yes-God wants us to do this all the time- to look to Him in faith for his filling. God's will is that we're continuously filled with, controlled by and walking in the Spirit for then His LIFE will flow through us, his LOVE (FRUIT) will be developed in us and we'll become more like Jesus everyday (sanctified) Don't reach out for a feeling, reach out by faith for God-desiring to be filled and He'll fill you. Don't think to be filled you have to have a great evangelist to pray for you and have a tingling feeling. He can't follow you around all week keeping you filled but the Holy-Spirit does and you can turn to Him everyday ask Him to fill you and He will. It's by faith (a spiritual transaction) you may or may not get a feeling but what's important is that you stay filled with the Spirit. He will always fill you when you ask, but the degree He can fill you depends on the first two steps.