Paul's Passing Thoughts

Romans 13:11 | What’s in the Word “Saved” Part 2: The Other Salvation

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 23, 2014

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Last week we laid a foundation critical for understanding the Bible: the dichotomy of justification and sanctification. Justification is a finished work; sanctification is not a finished work. If this is not understood, a biblical dichotomy is contradiction. Furthermore, sanctification is not a matter of being empowered, or God working “through us” alone, but our new creaturehood  makes our colaboring with God possible. In fact, we will be judged according to how we participate in kingdom living:

1 Corinthians 3:1 – But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, 3 for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?

5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8 He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.

10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” 20 and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” 21 So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

This is a long passage, but it speaks much to our subject, especially the other salvation. As discussed last week, there is still a salvation left for God’s people—the salvation from mortally that was previously under law. Though the old us died with Christ, as long as we are mortal, the flesh that once enslaved us can wage war against our minds that are now enslaved to righteousness. Unfortunately, by and large, Christianity defines itself as still enslaved to the flesh—this is perceived everywhere you look as testified to by the following popular Christian placard.

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So, as Christians, we are still a “mess.” The only difference is the Jesus label. We were a mess, and we are a mess. Not only does this stand in stark contrast to the corpus of Holy Writ, but it is far from being good news to the world who would normally have one eye towards escaping a world that they know is a mess—why would they want to trade one mess for another one?

Last week, we discussed the fact that Paul made it plain in Romans 7:25 that Christians await a salvation from the weakness of the flesh. Again, in the passage we are starting with today, we see that Christians will stand in a judgment that will determine rewards, and even though we will suffer loss of rewards to some degree, we will be saved “by fire.” There are two different salvations: one from eternal judgment, and a second one for Christians in regard to mortality, or the “flesh.” Let’s establish the fact that two separate judgments coincide with two different salvations:

Revelation 20:4 – 4 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

7 And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. 9 And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, 10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

These are two different resurrections, and two different judgments. Those in the first resurrection are “holy” and the “second death” has no power over them. The great white throne judgment concerns those who will be condemned under the law. I believe the “first resurrection” spoken of here concerns those who die during the tribulation period. Notice that there will be multiple judges; I believe these are the apostles and this judgment concerns Israel:

Matthew 19:28 – Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

I believe the judgment that Paul wrote of in 1Cor 3, what we are presently examining, speaks to what is commonly known as the Bema Seat of Christ. This follows the “resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:12-14) at the end of the “church” age and will be immediately followed by the rapture of the assemblies or “church” (1Cor 15:51,52, 1Thess 4:15-18). It is clear that the next coming of Christ is imminent and will occur at a time when people least expect it—this is hardly the case during the tribulation period. I suppose the Bema Seat of Christ and the first resurrection could be one and the same, but with certainty we can ascertain that the great white throne judgment is a separate event. So therefore, we are saved from the final judgment and also saved from the warfare with the flesh. The Bible must be interpreted in that context.

Justification necessarily encompasses the prophecy issue—it reflects the true gospel and this kind of continuity in the Bible shouldn’t surprise us: separate judgments and resurrections in regard to the finished work of justification versus kingdom living. In both cases we are judged by our works, but Christians escape the judgment of condemnation. As strange as it seems, what we do in our Christian lives will determine what we do for God in eternity (Matt 25;23). Christianity lacks a biblical informed vision of what we will be doing in eternity. Such a study is a wide-open frontier of knowledge. This shouldn’t surprise us either if the main focus of the Christian life is being ready for a judgment that determines our eternal destiny.

In all probability, there are three resurrections and four judgments: a resurrection and judgment at the end of this age regarding believers and including the rapture; a judgment of the nations at the end of the tribulation period; the first resurrection, and the second resurrection which have their own judgments associated with them. There will necessarily be a judgment of the living at the end of the tribulation period because the millennial kingdom will be inhabited by mortals who are left alive at the end of the tribulation period. Many will be those who heed the instruction of Matthew 10:23. Prophecy must be understood in the light of a proper soteriology. It all fits together.

So, we are looking this week at a biblically developed argument for more than one type of salvation that allows for our eternal salvation to be a finished work while the other salvation waits for redemption, or salvation from our mortality. This brings us back to 1 Corinthians. Paul addresses the problem of man-following in the Corinthian church at that time. The assembly at Corinth would have been like most New Testament assemblies at that time, the single assembly was made up of several home fellowships, and some of those fellowships were made up of families only. In Jewish tradition, “small sanctuary” was another term for synagogue, and many were merely extended families that met together for the breaking of bread and Bible study. The primary tenets of a synagogue follow:

• A Jewish “church” is called a synagogue, shul or temple

• A synagogue is a place of worship and study, and a “town hall”

• Synagogues are run by laypeople and financed by membership dues

• There are several important ritual items found in the synagogue

• Non-Jews may visit a synagogue, but dress and should behave appropriately

• The Temple is the ancient center of Jewish worship where sacrifices were performed

This pattern goes all the way back to the exodus, and when the Temple was destroyed, all that remained was the synagogues. This pattern carried over to the New Testament Jewish church. At Corinth, home fellowships that were not following the misguided behavior of the other fellowships reported to Paul what was going on (1Cor 1:11; best translated, a group associated with Chloe or “Chloe’s people” ESV).

Let’s first note that Christians can behave according to the old us that died with Christ, otherwise known as “the flesh” which is the weakness of mortality (Matt 26:41, 1Cor 15:50-58). Paul accuses them of acting like “mere mortals” (NET). We have the treasure of the new birth, the seed of God (1Jn 3:4-9) in jars of clay (2Cor 4:7). Because we are born of God we are in fact holy, our mortality notwithstanding. Hence, Christ came to do two things through us: fulfill the law and put an end to the works of the devil (Matt 5:17-20, Rom 8:1-4, 1Jn 3:8) Why would Christ come to fulfill a law that empowers sin? (1Cor 15:56). Christ came to end the law (Rom 10:4) so that he could fulfill its righteous requirements with us and in us. Christ didn’t come to fulfil the law FOR us, He came to end the law so that He could fulfill it with us and in us. The institutional church doesn’t get this; therefore, the institutional church is a plenary waste of God-given time.

In verses 6-9, Paul explains our role clearly in the sanctification process; it’s no different from farming. The farmer plants and waters, but who is responsible for the miracle of a dead seed bringing forth life? Ultimately, God gets the glory, but we will be judged according to how we plant and water. But Paul also states that we will receive a “wage” for our planting and watering. This couldn’t be talking about justification!  Clearly, this must be talking about reward for how we build on the foundation which is Christ. The “foundation” is the gospel of first order (1Cor 15:3-6).

We will clearly “suffer loss” because of “wood, hay, and stubble” (bad behavior), but yet we will be saved in this judgment by “fire.” Debate rages among theologians about what that means exactly, but the definitive point here is that there remains a salvation for Christians that has nothing to do with justification. It is a salvation from mortality, and in both cases, whether the resurrection with Christ via the new birth for our justification, or the resurrection unto immortality, both are a work of God alone. Even when we choose God, the sending of the Holy Spirit to regenerate us in obviously ordered by God Himself and totally out of our control, albeit a promise if we believe.

And this is how the word, “salvation” must be discerned in the Scriptures.

One Response

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  1. paulspassingthoughts said, on March 23, 2014 at 4:44 PM

    Reblogged this on Clearcreek Chapel Watch.

    Like


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