1. The Finished work of Christ
This is no less than the combined values of His redemption, reconciliation, and propitiation, as these aspects of His Cross are related to the whole world lost in sin (1 Tim. 2:6; 2 Cor. 5:19-20; 1 John 2:1-2). This aspect of the divine work is forever “finished” for every soul, and its “glorious achievement is the good news of the gospel of saving grace.”
2. The Convicting Work of the Spirit
By this work of God the Gospel of His saving Grace is revealed to the mind and heart of the unsaved by the Spirit of God. He convicts of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment (John 16: 7-11). Only by this illuminating work of the Spirit can the Satan-blinded mind of the unsaved (2 Cor. 4:3-4) understand the way of life in Christ Jesus.
3. The Saving Work of God
This divine undertaking includes every aspect of the work of God that is accomplished at the instant when the sinner believes on Christ. It is no less than many transforming miracles which are wrought instantaneously and simultaneously in the saving power of God. (Every spiritual resource in Christ; as partakers of His divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4).
4. The Keeping Work of God
The dear biblical testimony is to the effect that the believer is kept always and only through the grace and power of God. Because of the work of Christ on the Cross, God is presented as not only being free to save meritless sinners, but He is presented as being free to keep those whom He has saved. Under legal relationships people endured in order that they might be saved (Matt. 24:13). Under grace relationships people endure because they are saved (John 10:28). God alone is “able” to keep (Jude 24-25).
5. The Delivering Work of God
The Christian who is perfectly saved from the guilt and penalty of sin needs also to be saved from the reigning power of sin. God alone can save in any case, and therefore deliverance from sin, weakness, and failure is provided, not by human effort, but by the power of the indwelling Spirit; and is secured, not on the principle of works, but on the principle of faith. “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). Deliverance, too, is always and only a work of God (Gal. 1:4).
6. The Work of God in Christian Growth
Too often Christian growth is confused with spirituality, or deliverance from the power of sin. A very immature believer, as to growth, may be delivered and be in full blessing of the Spirit. He has yet much to learn from experience and from the Word of God, but this need not limit his immediate blessing of heart and life. In fact only spiritual Christians grow. Carnality in the life means perpetual babyhood in spirituality. “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18).
7. The Final Presenting Work of God
It is the final and consummating work of God to present the believer faultless before the presence of His glory to His own exceeding joy. It is promised that when we see Him we shall be “like him.” We shall then be conformed to the image of the Son of God (Eph. 1:5).
No one will persuade himself that he will assist in this final transformation and translation. No more can any believer assist in any of these aspects of the work of God. Salvation is the work of God alone. It is from Him, by Him, and to Him. In every stage of the development it is the work of God alone which can avail, and particular emphasis is needed at this point. Salvation is the Gift of God; man’s responsibility is only that of being a recipient of it. Man is called upon to make only such personal adjustment to God as will place him in the normal position to receive the divine blessing (Rom 10:4).
The undertaking is of such a character that man can contribute in no way to its accomplishment. It aims to reproduce the very perfection of Christ Himself, which perfection would be ruined could man touch it. And it is all to the demonstration of the grace of God in the ages to come and hence, as certainly, precludes the thought of any complication with human merit, else the greatest motive of God which has been working from before the foundation of the world would be defeated—a contingency impossible in the light of revelation (Rom. 8:38-39).
According to the Scriptures, the human element is never included beyond the essential adjustment of man to the work of God. Some of these Bible terms are: “believe,” “receive,” “faith,” “by me if any man enter in,” “come unto me.” “Whosoever will may come,” “whosoever calleth,” “turned to God,” being “reconciled to God” (Eph. 2:8).
Thus it is seen that one is saved from the guilt and penalty of sin, not by expiating his own sins, but by believing in the One who has suffered in his stead. After one is thus saved, he is delivered from the power of sin in his daily life, not by anxious striving, but by yielding, and relying on the all-sufficient, indwelling Spirit. He will be saved from the presence of sin into the coming glory and likeness of Christ, not by any effort or human device, but by the power which wrought in Christ to raise Him from the dead, and by which he will be translated instantly from the earth to heaven, at the Rapture of the Church; (1Thes. 4:13-18).
In every instance the divine responsibility is in the sphere of the reception of that work. The whole transaction is free from every consideration of remuneration, barter, or trade. It is the love of God expressing itself in His gracious work for those who, within themselves, will ever be hopelessly undeserving and therefore eternally debtors to infinite grace.
12 Things Salvation is and is Not
- Salvation is the work of God for man; it is not the work of man for God.
- Salvation is the bestowal and actual impartation of eternal life; it is not the beauties and artificial imitations of ethical living.
- Salvation is the imputed righteousness of God; it is not the imperfect righteousness of man.
- Salvation is according to the faithful calling of God; it is not according to the fitful carefulness of man.
- Salvation is a divine reconciliation; it is not a human regulation.
- Salvation is the cancelling of all sin; it is not the cessation from some sin.
- Salvation is being delivered from, and dead to the law, it is not delighting in, or doing, the law.
- Salvation is divine regeneration; it is not human reformation.
- Salvation is being acceptable to God; it is not becoming exceptionally good.
- Salvation is completeness in Christ; it is not competency in character.
- Salvation is possessing every spiritual blessing; it is not professing any special betterment.
- Salvation is always and only of God. It is never of man. It is the unsearchable riches of Christ. It is to good works in which God has before ordained that we should walk in them. (Eph. 2:10)
Taken in part from the Book; “GRACE” Pgs. 49-52, an exposition of God’s Marvelous Gift, by Lewis Sperry Chafer, Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI 49501
Other editing by KMS 01/10/11, http://www.livingtruthministry.com/