COG 151: Life, Part 2 | Salvation
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Welcome back to our Season of Life series on the life of God. I don’t know if you noticed this, but it’s very easy to speak of God’s mercy, God’s grace, and God’s power. We recognize that they are found in God, come from God, and are communicable—meaning that we can partake in the attributes. However, to talk about God’s life sounds strange. It doesn’t communicate quite the same way, and so I’ve found myself referring to the life of God, life in God, and so on.
I think this is merely a hiccup in the modern English language, so I hope that we can all appreciate the fact that the concept of God’s life is exceptionally similar to the concept of His power or grace. It is true of Him, it is something that He experiences, uses, and grants.
And today we’re going to look at the life of God specifically as it touches salvation.
If you’re new to the show, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Aaron Brewster, and if you interact with me online, you’ll probably hear me referred to as AMBrewster. But please call me Aaron.
I’m the president of Evermind Ministries, a family of ministries dedicated to keeping God’s truth at the center of the human experience. I’m a preacher, public speaker, teacher, author, and biblical counselor.
I’m married, have two children, and a dog that worships the ground upon which I walk. I’ve been in full-time Christian service since 2007, and I’ve loved every minute . . . even the very hard stuff, and I would love to get to know you. Please connect with me on social media, send me a message, play me in chess on Chess.com, invite me to speak at your church or camp or conference, whatever. I love interacting with God’s people and elevating His name in our lives.
Of course, if you are new to the show, please make sure you start with last week’s episode before moving into this one. You can find that wherever you find podcasts, and you can listen to it at CelebrationOfGod.com where you will also find today’s episode notes, transcript, and life resources.
Now, let’s get started.
Today’s episode runs the risk of either being too incredibly long or too incredibly short. Long to the degree that you will never be able to stop talking about life eternal, and short because the idea of life is the most well-known facet of salvation.
So, let’s try to spend just the right amount of time looking at key areas where we need to think differently about our salvation in terms of the life of God.
So, let’s set the stage with one of the most familiar verses in the Bible. John 3:16 reads, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
So, with that as the spring board, let’s consider life in regard to each facet of our salvation in Christ.
During the Season of Mercy we meditate on the glorious desperation of man that grabs his attention and shows him his need for life in Christ.
In Ephesians 2:1 we’re told, “You were dead in your trespasses and sins.” Verse 5 reveals that “we were dead in our transgressions,” and Colossians 2:13 says, “You were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh.”
And God, knowing our state, loving us, and “not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9), He shows us just how desperate our situation is. He sent His Son, His Spirit, His Scriptures, and His saints into our lives to teach us, convict us, and introduce us to the Living God.
It’s the reality of death that God uses to juxtapose against a relationship of life.
Now, before we continue, I do have to say that countless men and women have focused on the idea of living forever to the exclusion of the most important realities of salvation. Easy believe-ism and other poorly conceived evangelistical models have tried to scare people away from eternal death with the promise of eternal life. But instead of the goal, purpose, and point of that eternal life being that we could enjoy and glorify God for all eternity, God became merely the necessary power-source to achieve everlasting life . . . and nothing more.
And it’s sad to say that people who prayed the “sinner’s prayer” hoping for nothing more than eternal life in which they could be at peace and have all the pleasure and satisfaction they want as they walk the streets of gold, and they didn’t have to fear death, but they really had no love for nor desire to know the God that was offering them eternal life . . . those people likely never received that life.
This is an important place to bring up Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.”
And Romans 2:6-8 speaking of God says, “Who will render to each person according to his deeds: 7 to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; 8 but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.”
So, yes, the gift of eternal life is a joyous reality, but it’s not really the point. To rejoice in eternal life to the exclusion of an intimate relationship with God is to rejoice in the taxi cab that was designed to drop you off at your home after weeks on the road. To not want to get out of the taxi cab because it was more important than the family waiting for you inside is absolutely ridiculous.
If you think that your eternal life will be for you to spend on your own pleasures and seeking your own fun and enjoyment, you probably don’t have eternal life. But if eternal life excites you to no end because you get to spend it all in the presence of your Creator Savior King . . . then that’s a different situation.
And that leads us to the facet of salvation we’re celebrating this Season.
When most people think about life in salvation, this is the part about which they think. That moment when spiritual life is granted to us, when we walk through the veil from death to life, when we’re born again to new life in Christ, this is life, but there’s more.
I don’t want to downplay the grandeur and glory and miracle that is taking a spiritually dead human and imbuing them with spiritual life. I’m just pointing out that this is the merely the beginning . . . literally.
Spiritual life starts at a time in the past. Justification is a past event for those of us who have been saved by the blood of Christ.
However, though there are other important realities about our life in Christ, I do want to bask in some glorious truths concerning life in justification.
First, let’s consider this idea of being born again by the Spirit. It’s impossible for us to truly comprehend, and we’ll likely spend the rest of our eternal life meditating on it. But God took those of us who trust in Him, and made us alive!
Allow me to read Ephesians 2 again, but this time I’m going to keep reading. Starting in verse 1 and reading though verse 7, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
It was a categorical, diametric, nature-shifting change that He wrought in those who are born again.
And Colossians 2:13-14 reads, “When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”
He forgave all of our transgressions, He canceled our debt, and He made us partakers in Christ’s death and resurrection.
That moment in time when God saves a person is a glorious reality to ponder. But that’s not the end of life in salvation. How could it be? That was simply a momentary beginning. The beauty of everlasting life is not merely that it starts, but that it continues!
The Season of Power is dedicated to celebrating God’s work in our sanctification, the process whereby He transforms us into the image of His Son. And we’re able to grow and change and mature precisely because we have been given spiritual life.
Living things grow. Period. Dead things may change as they decompose and deconstruct, but everything that is alive is in a process of growing.
The life of God showed us our death. Justification imbued us with life, and then the process of sanctification multiplies that life as we mature in it. Not only does the quantity of our living increase into eternity, but the quality of our spiritual life on this earth is designed to improve as we are further transformed into the image of our Savior.
What’s the point of getting life if you don’t live that life, and what’s the point of living that life if it never changes?
Praise God that His life in us is a glorious process of change, growth, transformation, and maturation.
Now, let’s be clear, you don’t do good works in order to earn eternal life, and you don’t do good works in order to keep eternal life. You do good works because you have eternal life.
Let’s go back to Ephesians 2. Shortly after telling us in verse 5 that “even when we were dead in our transgressions, [He] made us alive together with Christ,” in verse 10 we read, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
In the same way, John 3:16 is followed by John 3:20 & 21. “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”
Eternal life was not given to us simply so that we could continue as we are. If that were the case, God wouldn’t have withheld the Tree of Life from Adam and Eve after they sinned. In Genesis 3:22-23 we read, “Then the Lord God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever’— 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken.”
Eternal beings who are sinful and who have the capacity to exercise that sin is the most depressing and disgusting vision in the universe.
We were given life so that we would be His workmanship, “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
But even this is not the end. If it were, it wouldn’t be life. It would be merely be a pause before death.
The point of life is not merely to show us our death.
The point of life is not simply to make us alive.
The point of life is not wholly to transition us from sin to righteousness.
The point of life is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever in eternal perfection!
We can’t do that in this fallen, mortal body. Though spiritual life gave us a living, spiritual nature, we still have the sinful flesh in us, and we still have deteriorating physical bodies.
But glorification is the moment where God eradicates all that is death in us. Not only will he recreate our physical bodies into the perfect state He originally intended, but—more importantly—He will vaporize our sinful hearts. We will be left with nothing but a perfect body and a perfect spirit with which we will bask in God’s glory for all eternity.
And though glorification too is a one-time event that though it may currently be in our futures, will one day be in our past, it sets in motion our eternal state.
Now, that’s not to say that our eternal life will be stagnate on unchanging. No, no. We will spend eternity learning about God and adoring Him for every new truth we learn about Him. We’ll grow and mature in our knowledge, understanding, and wisdom, but we won’t be moving from sinful to less sinful, we’ll be moving from perfection to greater perfection.
And none of this would be possible without God’s gift of life!
I pray that you have been encouraged and challenged today. I hope you’ve been encouraged by the purposes of life.
But I also pray you’ve been challenged to partake in the life God is offering you for the reasons He’s offering it.
If you do not yet have spiritual life, recognize your need. See your death and the destruction it brings.
If you are born again into new life in Christ, praise the Lord for it, but realize that He’s given it to you for a purpose. He wants you to mature in it and use it to glorify Him on this earth—namely, to be salt and light so that others can come to have life eternal as well.
But also remember that this portion our eternal life is not the end. We should be living a life that is focused forward, ever looking forward to our Lord’s return and our everlasting relationship with Him. Stop being so short-sighted, stop being distracted from eternity with the tawdry pleasures of this world.
There is so much for which we should be living . . . start now!
Please share this series your friends . . . even if they’re not born again. And if you or someone you know wants to experience life, and you’re not sure how it works and you can’t find anyone else to tell you, please write to us at Counselor@CelebrationOfGod.com.
And—of course—join us next time as we seek to better know, love, and worship God and help the people in our lives do the same.
To that end, we’ll be digging deeper into point 3. We’re going to be talking about the life of God in man and considering the practical realities. It will informative, it will be challenging, and I pray you’ll join us because this is the stage of eternal life in which we exist.
Lord willing, I’ll see you then.
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The Year Long Celebration of God is a discipleship experience designed to equip followers of Christ to better know, love, and worship Him as they help others in their lives do the same. We exalt God, teach His people how to practically worship Him every day of the year, and train them to disciple others.
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AMBrewster is the creator of The Year Long Celebration of God and host of its podcast.