The Feast of Salvation
Imagine you’re at a wedding reception. There is music, laughter, dancing, and a lot of food. You might have a cocktail hour with an appetizer course, the main course, and a dessert course. Each of these courses is part of the overall meal during the celebration.
The process of salvation is like a big meal broken down into several courses. Each course is distinct from the others but is part of the same feast.
Using the feast analogy, we break the larger concept of salvation down into its individual courses: justification, sanctification, and glorification. Each of these words relates to a distinct way God works salvation for us, in us, and in the world. As we’ll see, each word (or course) targets a particular aspect of sin: sin’s penalty, sin’s power, and sin’s presence.
Each course will be broken down into its basic concept and what that means for us.
Justification and the Penalty of Sin
Basic concept: Death is the penalty for sin. Jesus has once and for all removed the penalty of sin and has given us eternal life. Justification describes what happens the moment we believe in Jesus.
What that means for us: The moment we believe in Jesus, our past, present, and future sins are forgiven. Through faith in Jesus, we have been justified – made right before God.
Read this: Romans 5:1-2
Sanctification and the Power of Sin
Basic concept: While the penalty of sin has been removed by Jesus, sin still exists and has power in our lives and in the world this side of Heaven. However, Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit to navigate and push against the power of sin. Sanctification describes the process in which the Holy Spirit is transforming us into the likeness of Christ while we live in a world affected by sin’s continued presence.
What that means for us: We are not powerless against sin. The Holy Spirit is actively developing the new, eternal life we have received by faith in Christ.
Read this: 2 Peter 1:2-4
Glorification and the Presence of Sin
Basic concept: After our life on earth has ended, our eternal life continues in God’s Kingdom. Unlike earth, in God’s Kingdom, the presence of sin is completely removed from our lives.
What that means for us: Humans were created for the garden, to live without sin with God in His Kingdom. As Christians, we hope for the future God has promised where sin’s power and presence is removed from the world and we live fully human, alive in God.
Read this: Philippians 3:20-21
Ultimately, salvation is always the work of God – Jesus eliminating the penalty of sin, Holy Spirit defeating the power of sin, and God the Father removing the presence of sin. Understanding the ways God works out salvation for us, in us, and in the world removes any notion that we can somehow save ourselves. As we receive His gifts of salvation daily, may our response be to glorify His name in a life of worship.
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