"COMPLETE IN HIM" Co1.2:10
The Greek word "soteria" in the Bible denotes deliverance, preservation, salvation [Vines Expository dictionary]. Strong's Concordance also describes it as...protection; made whole; health. The INITIAL biblical GIFT of holy Ghost SALVATION by grace is something that man may receive & begin to walk in right NOW. It can be a present personal experience, a continuous present power to eventually deliver man WHOLLY and COMPLETELY from the bandage of sin and evil. It is not as some religious organizations teach, merely something reserved in heaven or made available for some who lived in a former dispensation or for some who will live in a future kingdom age. Nor is "initial" salvation just for an exclusive or elect group such as the 144,000's found mentioned in the book of Revelation.
There is an uninterrupted dimension of salvation that has always existed in the true New Testament church and there is a glorious new dimension of salvation that is ready to be revealed in the earth at the climax of this present age as well as at the end of all ages yet to come. Oh that all God's people would begin to come to full realization of who they really are, what they really have, and what is their future in Christ the Lord.
Jesus' name correctly, is "Yah-shua", & "shua" in Hebrew means "shall save." A primary purpose in His death, burial, & resurrection was, & still is--to "save His people from their sins. "Matt.1:21. Salvation is created of God to be a progressive healing work of His Spirit in all of its divinely designated applications. The covenant promise of spiritual salvation was in perfect accord with God's sovereign purpose, to initially come into effect unto all those determined by God at any one time "such as should be saved", who were to become the "church" (Ac.2:47), beginning in the days of the first apostles. This God-ordained personal salvation was also to remain available unto their children, as well as being determinate unto "ALL THAT ARE AFAR OFF, even AS MANY AS THE LORD OUR GOD SHALL CALL." Ac.2:39.
The Free GIFT
"As many" as were given of the Father (Jn.17) and were called and drawn to Christ, to confess with their mouth unto salvation & believe with their heart unto Christ's righteousness (Rom.10:10)--were those such as did enter initially into their salvation. So it is today, "the same Lord over all is rich unto ALL THAT CALL UPON HIM. FOR WHOSOEVER SHALL CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE SAVED." Ro.10:13. He truly was, NOW IS, and ever shall be "the author of ETERNAL SALVATION UNTO ALL THEM THAT OBEY HIM.'' Heb.5:9. This "eternal salvation" and the obedience it brings, comes only through genuinely believing and actively confessing Christ is your lifestyle. But you cannot even truly begin to obey Him in the way He desires unless you ARE SAVED by His Spirit & willing to be led by His Spirit - Psa.143:
Through the obedience of Christ & the grace of God, "the free GIFT came upon ALL MEN unto justification of life. '' Ro.5:18. "For the GRACE of God that bringeth SALVATION HATH APPEARED TO ALL MEN." Tit.2:11. Salvation is not only a free GIFT, but is also "A PERFECT GIFT...from above." Jas.1:17. Through God's grace & benevolent sovereignty in the greatness of His power, eventually it shall come to pass that "ALL FLESH SHALL SEE [from a word meaning more than voluntary observation with the natural eye]..the salvation of God." Lk.3:6.
At this present time, WE WHO HAVE RECEIVED A MEASURE OF SALVATION THROUGH GRACE "should not trust in ourselves but in God which raiseth the dead: WHO DELIVERED US [in our spirit] from so great a former spiritual] death, and DOTH DELIVER [our present sinful soul]: in whom we trust that He will YET DELIVER US from our imperfect corruptible bodies].'' 2Cor.1:10.
There is an effective saving deliverance available for spirit, soul, and body. "He that spared not His own Son, but DELIVERED HIM UP FOR US ALL, how shall He not with Him also FREELY GIVE US ALL THINGS." Ro.8:32. He initially begins His saving work through divinely imparting to our human spirit the true "knowledge of salvation." Lk.1:77. When because of Him, & through nothing of our corrupt selves (Eph.2:8,9) we begin to believe this truth through acting upon it, it begins its divine work to set us free in all areas of our soul - Jn.8:32.
We HAVE Redemption
All those "who WERE once ENLIGHTENED, and HAVE TASTED of the heavenly GIFT, and WERE MADE PARTAKERS of the holy Ghost and HAVE TASTED the good word of God, and the powers of the world [age] to come" (Heb.6:4, 5) are all those who obviously HAVE ALREADY RECEIVED these blessings of their very present salvation. Its not something that's only available in the future if you work faithfully toward it. Some large religious organizations actually believe that it is not for now! Regardless, all ye who now have been made partakers of this "common salvation" (Jude 3), let us through obedience to His word & Spirit, continually allow God to do of His good pleasure as we faithfully "work out this salvation" that we have with fear (holy reverence) & trembling - Phil.2:12, 13.
Let us give continuous praise & thanks unto the "Father of lights" (Jas.1:17) for His 'unspeakable GIFT' (2Cor.9:15)...'WHO HATH DELIVERED US from the power of darkness [that once held our whole spirit captive to the earthy realm], and HATH TRANSLATED US into the KINGDOM of His dear Son: In whom WE HAVE [progressive] REDEMPTION through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins." Col.1:13, 14. Jesus, "the true light" (Jn.1:9) said, "He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life." Jn.8:12. In completeness of truth, "the spirit of man is the candle of the Lord" (Prv.20 :21) which only He can light - Jn.8:12; Lk.11:36.
In your spirit, positionally through God's eyes after the principle of Ro.4:17, "YE ARE COMPLETE IN HIM...in whom ALSO YE ARE CIRCUMCISED.by the [spiritual] circumcision of Christ: [YE ARE] BURIED WITH HIM in [SPIRIT] baptism, wherein also YE ARE RISEN WITH HIM through the [imparted righteous] faith of the [spiritual] operation OF GOD.."Co1.2:10-12. Initially, you ARE SAVED through the complete operation of the imparted "faith OF Jesus Christ." Ro.3:22. In the days of Noah, "eight souls WERE [physically] saved by [natural] water. The like figure whereunto even [Spiritual] baptism [into the body of Christ-1Cor.12:13] doth also NOW [initially]SAVE US...by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." 1Ptr.3:21.
All the operations of this faithful salvation are IN EFFECT NOW for the present believer. Christ IS THE SAVIOUR OF ALL MEN and this salvation is especially true and made evident in those who at this time have been given to believe - 1Tim.4:10. These portions of the kingdom of heaven are here & operational right NOW. The preaching of this very real and present salvation is the basic foundation of the gospel of both the present and the coming kingdom. Belief in personal salvation comes wholly as a result of the "power of God" (Ro.1:6) & not through the will power of man (Jn.1:13; Eph.1:5, 11; Jas.1:18; Zec.4:6) lest any man should boast.
Yes, as believing Christians, "we trust in the living God who is [now, was in the beginning, & will be in the end, the Almighty - Rev.1:8] the saviour of ALL MEN, SPECIALLY OF THOSE [of us] THAT [are now given to] BELIEVE." 1Tim.4:10. Whether one believes it or not, their salvation is not at all of themselves - Matt.16:17; Eph.2:9. These things we are to assert & to teach -1Tim.4:11. Only "OF HIM ARE YE IN CHRIST JESUS" (1Cor.1:30), & not of yourselves "who by Him do believe." 1Ptr.l:21. You should know that YE WERE NOT REDEEMED with corruptible things such as your own fallen mind or self will ..but [YE WERE REDEEMED] with the precious blood of Christ, as a Lamb without blemish." 1Ptr.1:18,19. Nothing other than "the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus..HATH MADE me [us] free." Ro.8:2; Jn.3:27.
Any man who has accepted the revelation of personal salvation, is now "in Christ" & HAS a portion of redemption. "If ANY MAN BE IN CHRIST HE IS a new creature." 2Cor.5:17; Ga1.6:15. The old previous moral & spiritual condition HAS PASSED AWAY and NOW he has "newness of life." Ro.6:4. He has begun the process of renewal and is on the road to a manifest completion. "But if any man HAVE NOT the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His." Ro.8:10. He has not realized nor experienced the truth and understanding of the life giving Spirit of Christ until he has received the revelational GIFT. This divine gift empowers one to know of His personal salvation & provides the necessary grace to begin to walk in it.
When one is in Christ & has received the first "measure of faith" (Ro.12:3), it is only then "the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that WE ARE the children of God." Ro.8:16. Jesus once told the unbelieving religious crowd, "Ye are of your father the devil." Jn.8:44. Even these devoutly religious ones, rejected the teachings & miracles of Him who was to be their salvation & remained "by nature the children of wrath, even as others." Eph.2:3; Jn. 4:36. And so it remains of a truth today.
The Life That Now Is
Paul wrote "to the saints which are at Ephesus, & to [all] the faithful in Christ Jesus", [even us who are afar off], revealing this wonderful truth... that even before the foundation of the earth "He HATH CHOSEN US IN HIM... He HATH MADE US ACCEPTED in the beloved. In whom WE [now]HAVE REDEMPTION THROUGH His blood,..in whom WE HAVE OBTAINED an inheritance.." Eph.1:1-11. We have purposely emphasized the past and present tense verbs of all these divine operations of our present salvation as there are millions of religious ones who are deceived by their organization that this salvation which we preach is not attainable now, but only in a 'kingdom of God" which is yet to come.
However, 2Tim.1:9,10 presents us all with the real truth this way regarding He "who HATH SAVED US...WHO HATH ABOLISHED death & HATH BROUGHT LIFE.." to the spirit of man. The truth is, men can bein to be saved NOW! When you believe it, you will have received it! Only through the knowledge of the saving revelation of Jesus Christ Himself is the way opened into the beginnings of your salvation. He is also the manifest truth of your present salvation & He is the resurrection life that shall be in the completion of man's salvation. No man can come to the Father except it be through His living salvation - Jn.14:6. "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Ac.4:12.
Any man who is now in Christ already has the beginnings of His quality of resurrection life. Eventually, just "as in Adam all die, EVEN SO in Christ shall all be made alive.'' 1Cor. 15:22. This is a future and much greater aspect of salvation which we shall touch on in chapter two. In the meantime, through the divine operating process of His present grace, "you that WERE alienated & enemies,...NOW HATH HE RECONCILED." Col.1: 21. "And ALL things [pertaining to your salvation] are OF God WHO HATH RECONCILED US to Himself by Jesus Christ." 2Cor.5:18. Can you hear that?
It's all of God! Only you who NOW ARE RECONCILED are "NOW THE PEOPLE OF GOD: which HAD NOT OBTAINED mercy, but NOW HAVE OBTAINED mercy." 1Ptr.2:10. Is this because God gives you a CHANCE and you decide of your OWN FREE WILL to accept HIm? Is it because you willed it? No. It is simply because God willed it for you personally at that time! That is true grace. You were saved purely by grace. It has nothing at all to do with CHANCE or SELF WILL. Self will is nothing more than iniquity!
Salvation is a progressive process both in its universal application and its personal application. Therein, "BEING RECONCILED WE SHALL BE [progressively] SAVED BY His life." Ro.5:10. Only "in times past..YE WERE by nature the children of wrath." (Eph.2:3; Jn.4:36) but through His choosing you become children of His blessing (Eph.1:3-5) "to the praise of the glory of His grace,wherein HE HATH MADE US ACCEPTED in the beloved." Eph.1:6.
Paul said to the church, "You HATH HE QUICKENED who WERE DEAD in..sins." Eph.2:1. Jesus said, "He that heareth my word and believeth on Him that sent me, HATH EVERLASTING LIFE, and SHALL NOT COME into condemnation; but IS PASSED from death unto life. Verily I say unto you, the hour is coming & NOW IS...They that hear shall live" (Jn.5:24,25), "having promise of THE LIFE THAT NOW IS." 1Tim.4:8. Our spirit HAS BEEN resurrected from the dead. "You being dead in your sins...HATH He QUICKENED" (Col.2:13) in a resurrection of your spirit in the heavenlies. However, a greater more complete resurrection is yet to come.
"God, who is rich in mercy...even when we WERE dead in sins, HATH QUICKENED US together WITH CHRIST, (by grace YE ARE SAVED)" Eph.2:4, 5. "And Hath RAISED US UP together & MADE US sit together [with Christ] in heavenly places IN Christ Jesus (vs.6): ...For by grace ARE YE SAVED through faith; & that not of yourselves: It [your initial grace: salvation & faith] is THE GIFT OF GOD: not of works, lest any man should boast. For WE ARE His workmanship.."(Eph.2:8-10), and "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy HE SAVED US, by the washing of regeneration & the renewing of the holy Ghost." Tit.3:5. The love of Jn.3:16 was mercifully & sovereignly "shed abroad in our hearts by the holy Ghost." Ro.5:5. It is all a result of what God does & not at all what you do!
The Bible declares, "the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but unto US WHICH ARE SAVED, it is the power of God."1Cor.1:18. Yes, "It is the power of God UNTO [PRESENT] SALVATION to EVERY ONE THAT BELIEVETH.'' Ro.1:16. For "it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching TO SAVE THEM THAT BELIEVE." 1Cor.1:21. "He that believeth on the son HATH everlasting life: and He that believeth NOT the Son shall not see life: but the wrath of God abideth on Him." Jn.3:36. So then, "BEING NOW JUSTIFIED by His blood, WE SHALL BE SAVED from wrath [the condemning wrath we once abode in - Jn.3:18, 36; Eph.2:3] through Him." Ro.5:9. As true elect believers, "God hath not appointed us to wrath [of the old nature any longer], but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus." 1Ths.5:9. You believe because He enable you to see your salvation in Him. You do not first believe in order to obtain your salvation! You can believe only after the Spirit reveals the Saviour unto you - Matt.16:18.
Ye Have Eternal Life
"God loves the world, so that He gives His only begotten Son, that everyone WHO IS BELIEVING IN HIM SHOULD NOT BE PERISHING, but may be having life eonian." Jn.3:16 [Conc. Literal]. "And this is the record, that GOD HATH GIVEN US eternal life and this life is IN His Son. He that HATH the Son HATH LIFE, & He that HATH NOT...HATH NOT LIFE. These things have I written unto you that believe; that YE MAY KNOW THAT YE [NOW] HAVE ETERNAL LIFE." 1Jn.5:11-13. Yes, if you have been given to believe now, you will have a portion of His Spirit & life throught all remaining ages and beyond.
It begins now! Jesus said, "I AM the resurrection & the life." Jn.11:25. 'WHOSOEVER WILL, let him take of the water of life freely." Rev.22: 17. "If ANY MAN thirst let him come unto me & drink." Jn.7:37. Once again, in fulness of truth, it is only the Spirit of the Lord that can CAUSE (Nu.16:5; Isa.61:11; 66:9; Jer.30:21; Ezk.36:27; 37:5) one's willingness and thirst (Jn.6:44,65), whereby "WHOSOEVER shall call an the name of the Lord SHALL BE SAVED." Ac.2·:21; Ro.10:13. Therefore, "AS MANY AS RECEIVED HIM, to them GAVE He power to BECOME THE SONS OF GOD, even to them that believe on His name: which WERE BORN...[sovereignly] of God." Jn.1:12, 13.
''Beloved, NOW WE ARE the sons of God" (1Jn.3:2), "for AS MANY AS are led by the Spirit, they ARE the sons of God.'' Ro.8:14. "Because YE ARE sons, God HAS SENT FORTH the Spirit of His Son INTO your hearts, crying Abba, Father'' (Ga1.4:6) wherein, "AS MANY AS were ordained to eternal life believed." Ac.13:48. "YE HAVE RECEIVED the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, abbe, Father.'' Ro.8:15. "Now He that HATH WROUGHT US for the selfsame thing is God, who also HATH GIVEN unto us the earnest of the Spirit." 2Cor.5:5. NOW, '"YE ARE WASHED,...YE ARE SANCTIFIED,...YE ARE JUSTIFIED in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." 1Cor.6:11. Ye are now of "them that ARE SANCTIFIED." Heb.10:14; Ac. 20:32; 26:18.
NOW Is The Time Of Salvation
Just before death, Jesus told one of the malefactors with Him at Calvary, 'TODAY SHALT THOU BE WITH ME in paradise." Lk.23:43. You who seek truth, "NOW IS THE ACCEPTED TIME: NOW IS THE [Grk."A"] DAY OF SALVATION." 2Cor.6:2. Even today,"the Spirit and the bride say, come.'' Rev. 22:17. The Giver of the GIFT has not, and will not, stop giving. In this age, and even this day, "the grace of God, & the GIFT by grace, HATH ABOUNDED UNTO MANY.'' Ro.5:15. Through activated grace, "the election HATH OBTAINED." Ro.11:7. "NOW BEING MADE FREE from sins & become servants of God, YE HAVE your fruit unto holiness, and THE END everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death: but the GIFT of God is eternal Life." Ro.6:22, 23. "He that believeth ..HATH..LIFE." Jn.6:67.
As believing servants of God, "WE KNOW that WE HAVE PASSED from death UNTO LIFE, because we love the brethren" (1Jn.3:14) and "EVERYONE that loveth IS BORN OF GOD, and knoweth God" (1Jn.4:7) "and EVERYONE that loveth Him THAT BEGAT, loveth him also that IS BEGOTTEN of Him." 1Jn.5:1. "Except YE BE CONVERTED, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.'' Matt.18:3. To be converted is to be "born of God", "begotten of Him", "born again" from above.
In order to see & enter into the realms of the kingdom, "YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN...BORN OF THE SPIRIT." Jn.3:3-8. "BORN not of blood, nor the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but OF GOD." Jn.l:13. Jesus said, "Flesh.hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." Matt.16:17. The true church and the understanding of the salvation of man is built upon this revelation - Matt. 16:18.
You who have now, do you realize what you have? You who have not, do you not now realize what you can now have? This new birthing can begin NOW! 'Whosoever IS BORN OF GOD overcometh the world...Who is he that overcometh [is a potential overcomer].but he that BELIEVETH that Jesus is the Son of God." 1Jn.5:4. The word of God says, "BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou SHALT BE SAVED (Ac.16:31) for 'WHOSOVER BELIEVETH that Jesus is the Christ IS BORN OF GOD." 1Jn.5:1.
Salvation is "BEING BORN AGAIN not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever." 1Ptr.1:23. 'WHOSOEVER IS BORN OF GOD does not [habitually] commit [practice] sin; for His seed [Christ's incorruptible word, spirit, seed of life] remaineth IN him: and he cannot sin [practice sinning], because he IS BORN [BEGOTTEN] OF GOD." 1Jn.3:9; 5:18. "OF HIS OWN WILL BEGAT HE US" (Jas.1:18) and "he THAT IS BEGOTTEN OF God keepeth himself." 1Jn.5:18. "And hereby we know THAT HE ABIDETH IN US, by the Spirit which He hath given us." 1Jn.3:24. How much greater is He that is within us than he that is in the world - 1Jn.4:4.
If there be any that read this who may have not yet truly believed, we would ask them these questions. Would you personally desire to be "quickened", "born again", "begotten of the Spirit", "saved"? Would you like to receive "the GIFT OF COD which can be your's right now in understanding and experience if you can believe? Are you a sheep? Are you hearing the voice of His word? Then you are now at this appointed time hearing His perfect and present will for you - 2Ptr.3:9.
The next step is to "repent, & be baptized EVERY ONE OF YOU in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sin and YE SHALL RECEIVE THE GIFT of the holy Ghost...for the promise is UNTO ALL.." Ac.2:39. Jesus said, "Repent ye, and believe the gospel"(Mrk.1:15) "and BE CONVERTED." Ac.3:19 . This gospel of the kingdom is truly "the power of God TO EVERY ONE THAT BELIEVETH." Ro.1:16. And whether you believe it or not, God..NOW is in the process of commanding ALL MEN EVERYWHERE TO REPENT - Ac.17:30; Psa.90:3) and so they shall, "every man in His own order." 1Cor.15:23-28. "With God all things are possible." Matt.19:26. "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." Isa.55:11.
Waiting For The Adoption
The first chapter of this writing has expounded mainly on some basic, yet pertinent scriptural truth which reveals the very BEGINNINGS of the divine spiritual operation of personal salvation. This INITIAL WORK, exclusively implemented of the holy Spirit, is very often expressed in its biblical term as "the GIFT OF GOD." Jn.4:10; Ac.8:20; Ro.6:23; Eph.2:8; 1Cor.7:7; 2Tim.1:6. It is also spoken of as "the GIFT of Christ" (Eph.4:7), "the GIFT of the holy Ghost" (Ac.2:38; 10:45), "the GIFT of the grace of God" (Eph.3:7), "the GIFT of righteousness" (Ro.5:17), "a free GIFT" (Ro.5:15,16, 18), "a heavenly GIFT" (Heb.6:4), and a "good" and "perfect GIFT." Jas.1:17. But there is something beyond this of which we now wish to speak.
Although personal salvation has its BEGINNINGS as a free GIFT it conversely has a FULFILLED ENDING, which is to be no less than an earned "PRIZE." Though we may NOW be COMPLETE in Christ in essence, He desires to be FULLY FORMED & COMPLETE in us! There are many more basic terms used in the Bible which deal with a further work of salvation beyond this experience as a GIFT.
The scriptures which we will proceed to touch upon describe and deal with the increasingly progressive stages of salvation and not necessarily its beginnings. The wholly divine process of the Spirit which begins in the inner man with the GIFT of God as a new birth, shall eventually find its designated END in the glorious objective of a MATURE and COMPLETE SALVATION; an ultimate salvation that includes final incorruptibility and immortality which (1Cor.15: 53, 54) is reserved for an appointed time to come.
The Lord's saving works function in three dimensions of the heavenlies; three major realms, aspects and experiences of personal salvation. His healing Spirit of life works progressively in man in often unseen and diverse operations in the spirit, soul, and body. Many truths of these operations are revealed in beautiful types & shadows of such things as: the three main divisions of Noah's ark; the tabernacle in the wilderness; Solomon's temple, Egypt-the wilderness-the promised land; the three major feasts of Israel, the three main garments of the high priest, three main sacrificial offerings, three main mountains etc. These are all natural things that speak to us of spiritual realities.
We see these principles of the salvation experience as stages of growth unto spiritual MATURITY in the parables of Matt.13 and Lk. 4. We see this in the word Seed that "did yield fruit that sprang up and INCREASED; and brought forth fruit [expressed in comparative degrees or percentages], so me thirty, same sixty, and some an hundred fold." Mk.4:8, 20; Matt.13:8,23. Some actually brought "NO fruit to PERFECTION." Lk.18:4.
By this, we can see that the biblical term "perfection" involves degrees of maturity, growth and change. In a parallel to spiritual truth, we find that "the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade [1-30 fold], then the [unripe] ear [31-60 fold], after that the FULL corn in the ear [61-100 fold - even to full stature and ripeness]. But when the fruit is brought forth [fully ripe & mature] immediately He putteth in the sickle, because the harvest [time] is come." Mk.4:28, 29. Not until the FULL corn is ready does the time of harvest come.
"Alas...for the day of the Lord is at hand, and as a [fiery] destruction [to the tares] from the Almighty shall it [even the Lord's sickle] come. Is not the meat [the strong revelation of the word] cut off from before our eyes, yea, joy & gladness from the house [New Test. church] of our God? The [majority of the] seed [even the word which should be bearing fruit unto perfection) is rotten under their clods [trampling], the garners [places of sterile religious gathering] are laid desolate, the barns [large religious organizations] are broken down [through tradition and carnal teachings]; for the [growth of the] corn is withered...yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate." Jl.1:15-18. This part of God's separating judgment is already burning in the house of the Lord - Mat.3:11; Heb.12:29; Mk.9:49; 1Ptr.4:17. He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith today unto the church!
Though there be desolation all around us, some of it even very obvious to the natural eye, & though there appears little hope of much improvement, there is yet the promise of a FULL ear of humanity soon to be revealed in the earth, even as a firstfruit "harvest of the earth.'' Rev.15:5. Paul calls the revealing of this harvest "the manifestation of the sons of God." Ro.8:19.
These shall be mature ones who have grown & ripened in the harshest of conditions, rising from the seed stage and developing slowly but surely through the realms of "fruit", "more fruit", and "much fruit.'' Jn.15:2,8,16. They have come through water baptism, spirit baptism and have endured a cleansing fire baptism. They have come forth through "justification", "sanctification" & unto full and complete "glorification." That this third and finer step has not yet been completed in the earth, though it is a sure fact even now in the heavenlies...is obvious in the evidence that the intense longing of the creation is still in the final stage of groaning and travailing, earnestly longing for this glorious revealing of the sons of God. "Even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, namely THE REDEMPTION OF OUR BODIES." Ro.8:23; 2Cor.5:4.
This is to be the first early harvest of "the first of the firstfruits" (Ex.23:19) of the church, which are themselves as a whole, a kind of firstfruits of all God's creatures - Jas.1:18. This first harvest, is the first of several of spiritual Israel's harvests or resurrections which are to appear in due season and in the divine order of the Almighty Sower and Harvester of humanities seed. This first harvest is also known as "the first resurrection" (Rev.20:5,6) and the ripeness of the fruit of the Spirit is as a result of its drinking in much of the "latter rain" as well as the "former rain" of the Spirit from on high - Jl.2:23; Hos.6:3; 10:12; Jer.5:24. "These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and the Lamb." Rev.14:4.
Those to he found in the first resurrection will be them "that overcometh" (Rev. chptrs.2 & 3), "the saviours...on Mt. Zion'' (Obed. 21; Rev.14:1) who shall in their overcoming, "be counted worthy" (2Ths.5:5) of the kingdom for which they suffer. All are fruitful and faithful in their calling in whatever level of glory that calling may be. They are of the "wise"and not of the "foolish virgins" (Matt.25:2), "which were not defiled with women" [soulish relations with any of the "great whore's" earthly corruptions or affections - Rev.19:2 ; Jas.4:4; Prv. chptr.7]. "These are they which follow the Lamb withersoever He goeth" (Rev.14:4; Ezk.1:20), and those "who follow on to know the Lord."(Hos.6:3) loving not their own lives even unto the death of their own carnal minds - Rev.12:11. They have 'WHOLLY followed the Lord" (Nu. 32:11, 12), being sanctified "WHOLLY.. spirit, soul and body..PRESERVED BLAMELESS unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1Ths.5:23.
It is these ones also who shall be first "caught up [not physically but in power and authority] unto God and His throne" (Rev.12:5), and in this realm of complete dominion & glory shall be wholly "WITHOUT FAULT before the throne of God'." Rev.14:5; 3:21. They shall be judged "FAULTLESS before the presence of His glory" (Jude 24), '"not having spot or wrinkle...holy and WITHOUT BLEMISH" (Eph.5:27), fully redeemed from "all iniquity." Tit.2:4.
"THEY THAT WERE READY went in with Him to the marriage.'' Matt.25:10. "The marriage of the Lamb is come and His wife hath MADE HERSELF READY... blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb." Rev.17:7-9. Truly these are "a people PREPARED for the Lord.'' Lk.1:17. "And they sang as it were, a new song before His throne" (Rev.14:3; 15:3)...a song of experienced victory and of FULLY COMPLETED REDEMPTION, of which Exodus chapter five is a good type & shadow.
With God is "plenteous redemption" (Psa.130:7), enough for the COMPLETE REDEMPTION of the individual, enough for the fulness of the Gentiles (Ro.11:25), enough for all of Israel (Ro.11:26), even enough for the whole of this groaning creation - Ro.8:21; Eph.1:1O. Redemption begins as a GIFT of salvation "in the inner man'' (Eph.3:16) [beginning in the womb of the spirit and progressing throughout the soul] and if we endure (Matt. 24 :13; Heb. 3:6,14) in bringing forth much fruit unto PERFECTION, it ends in having the WHOLE man COMPLETED "in ALL the FULNESS of God." Eph.3:19. "If the Spirit that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also QUICKEN YOUR MORTAL BODIES by His Spirit that dwelleth in you." Ro.8:11; Phil.3:21.
The initial GIFT of salvation beginning in the inner man is "the earnest of our inheritance." Eph.1:14. "The redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory" (Eph.1:14) is the FULL and COMPLETED salvation of our spiritual and physical bodies which were bought and redeemed with a price - lCor.6:19,20. This COMPLETE and TOTAL redemption which is for "the called, chosen, AND FAITHFUL'' (Rev.17:14; Jb.13:15), includes a gloriously redeemed body fashioned "like unto His glorious body.'' Phil.3:21.
"When CHRIST who is OUR LIFE shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory." Co1.3:4. Yes, "when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." 1Jn.3:2. Until that time, it is "Christ IN YOU", not Christ coming from heaven out of the sky, which is your true "hope of glory.'' Co1.1:27. The Spirit of Christ being born & "formed" in us (Ga1.4:19) in order that we "may be MADE PERFECT IN ONE" (Jn.17:23) is the divine truth of man's present and "blessed hope." Tit.2:13.
"The First Resurrection" of "A Glorious Church"
In the "first resurrection", He is bringing not all but "many sons unto glory'' (Heb.2:lO) even "to the OBTAINING OF THE GLORY of our Lord Jesus Christ." 2Ths.2:14. "When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven [the inner spiritual realm], He shall come to be GLORIFIED IN His saints.'' 2Ths.l:7,10. And those firstfruits then who have borne the image of the earthy..."shall also bear the image of the heavenly." 1Cor.15:49. This body "is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body." 1Cor.15:44. "So also is the resurrection of the dead." 1Cor.15:42.
Before this FINAL glory of the body can be obtained, there must first be a continual sanctification and cleansing of the garments of the spirit and soul. There needs to be a working out of our salvation (Phil.2:12) in order for the spirit man to be changed from a lesser glory to a greater glory (2Cor.3:18; Prv.4:18) that will ultimately outwardly manifest a glorious church in the earth,"not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing." Eph.5:27. It was none other than this perfect and complete temple that the Lord spoke of when He said, "I will FILL this house with glory." Hag.2:7. And soon He shall!
The Lord has always had "a remnant" (Isa.20:21; Jer.37:31, 32) of Israel, a church within a church, even "a few names" whose works "have not defiled their garments" (Rev.3:2-4), "hating even the garment spotted by flesh.'' Jude 23. It is these ones who shall first walk with Him and rule with Him in the coming earthly kingdom, "clothed in white raiment." Rev.3:4,5; 19:14,15.
To His body of "just men MADE PERFECT (Heb.12:22), "the general assembly and church of the firstborn" (Heb.12:23; Jas.1:18) who shall be joint heirs with Christ at His coming (1Cor.15:23) as the "first begotten of the dead" (Rev.1:5), "was it granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white." Rev.19:8; Zec.3:4. Even Solomon in all his earthly glory was not arrayed as one of these shall be!
A Perfect Man
When Jesus "was made flesh and dwelt among us, we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father FULL of grace and truth." Jn.1:14. During His earthly ministry, the Father had given "not the Spirit by measure unto Him." Jn.3:34. "It pleased the Father that in Him should ALL FULNESS dwell." Col.1:19. All the FULNESS OF DEITY now dwells in a heavenly body of glorified flesh.'' Co1.2:9; Lk.24: 39, 40.
Just as the natural earthly body of Jesus was prepared to carry out all the Father's will (Heb.10:5-7), so is another corporate body being prepared (Lk.1:17) and "made ready" (Rev. 19:7) to receive the fulness of deity in order to carry out the perfect will of the Father in the earth. Now it is in the Father's progressively expanding will, that the faithful earthly portion of His spiritual body who "have GROWN UP into Him in all things" (Eph.4:15), soon come "unto A PERFECT MAN [even a completed corporate body], unto the measure of the stature of the FULNESS of Christ." Eph.4:13; Psa.138:8.
"Love is the FULFILLING of the law" (Ro.13:10) even "the law of the Spirit.in Christ Jesus." Ro.8:2. "Whoso keepeth His word verily in Him is the love of God PERFECTED." 1Jn.2:5. This is why the scripture exhorts us.. "Put on charity which is the bond [controlling and uniting principle] of PERFECTION." Co1.3:14. "Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness and let us put on the armour of light...Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ and make not provision for the flesh, to FULFILL the lusts thereof." Ro.14:12-14. Rather, let us completely "FULFILL the royal law [of love] according to the scripture" (Jas.2:8) by abiding in "the perfect law of liberty." Jas.1:25.
"Let us go on UNTO PERFECTION (Heb.6:1), cleansing ourselves "from all filthiness of the flesh & spirit, PERFECTING HOLINESS in the fear of God." 2Cor.7:1. May "The God of peace...make you PERFECT in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ." Heb.13:20, 21; Col.4:12; 2Tim.3:17; Jas.2:22; 3:2; 1Ptr.5:10; 1Jn.4:17, 18 etc.
To do this, "He must INCREASE & we must decrease - Jn.3:30. It is to this END "that He may establish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God..at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints." 1Ths.3:13; 1Cor.1:8. He is first coming in them and WITH them for the fullness of His glory shall be mainifest within them.
"Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints" (Jude 11), with His "good & faithful servants (Matt.25:23), to make them "ruler over all His goods." Matt.24:47. "He that overcometh & keepeth my works UNTO THE END, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron.." Rev.3:26,27. These shall receive "the END of their faith", the salvation of their souls -1Ptr.1:9.
This is "an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled"(1Ptr.1:4), reserved as an experientially COMPLETED "salvation ready to be revealed in the Last time." 1Ptr.1:5. This is the fulness of "grace that is to be brought at the revelation of..Christ" (1Ptr.1:13) and the salvation of which Paul was speaking when he said, "Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed." Ro.13:11. This is when Christ shall appear "the second time without sin UNTO SALVATION.'' Heb.9:28.
Peter connected this salvation with that part of the kingdom which was yet to come saying, "Give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do..ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly, into the everlasting kingdom..''2Ptr.1:10; Rev.3:20,21. This was not a free gift of entrance into initial salvation, neither was Jesus speaking of the initial GIFT of life when He said, "strait is the gate and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto [abundant] life and few there be that find it." Matt.7:14.
Rather, this is a salvation "to the UTTERMOST"(Heb.7:25), the benefits of which must be faithfully & responsibly entered into and wholly possessed (Nu.13:30)...and "the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom." Da.7:22. Jesus put it this way, "In your patience, possess ye your souls." Lk.21:19. There is a purifying (1Ptr.1: 22) which must take place in the "saving of the soul." Heb.10:39; Jas.1:21.
The Prize Of The High Calling
Paul spoke of endurance required "to obtain the [fulness] of salvation which is in Christ." 2Tim.2:10. He spoke of "a good fight of faith" & "laying up in store..a good foundation against the time to come, that they may LAY HOLD of eternal life." 1Tim.6:19,12. He also spoke of an ultimate "rest" (Heb.4:9) and taught what kind of spiritual labour was required to enter therein -Heb.4:10,11. Jesus taught that only he that endured and overcame unto the end of his calling would receive this salvation - Matt.24:l3; 10:22; Mk.13:13.
In other places in the scriptures Paul described this final salvation as "THE PRIZE" that one receives upon running a race 1Cor.9:24. "I press toward the mark of the PRIZE of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Phi1.3:14. "That I may WIN Christ" (Phil.3:8).."that I may know Him and the power of HIS RESURRECTION & the fellowship of His sufferings...If by any means I might ATTAIN unto the [first] resurrection (out) from the dead." Phil.3:10.
Paul had a revelation that he "might OBTAIN A BETTER RESURRECTION" (Heb.11:35), even that first resurrection which is not for God's servants- which knew their Lord's will but "prepared not..neither did according to His will" Lk.12: 47. For in the Father's great "spiritual house" (1Ptr.2:5) "there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood & of earth; and some to honour & some to dishonour." 2Tim.2:20. Which will you be?
This first and best PRIZE of coming kingdom reign is not for dishonorable "wicked servants" (Matt.18:32), "evil servants" (Matt.24:48) or "servants of corruption" nor is it for any "slothful" (Matt.25:26) nor 'unprofitable servants" (Matt.25:30) who are "lukewarm, & neither cold nor hot." Rev.3:16. Rather, it is for purged vessels, "vessels unto honour, sanctified & meet for the Master's use, and prepared unto every good work." 2Tim.2:21. Only these shall receive the benefits of the "FULL REWARD" (2Jn.8), even that "exceeding GREAT REWARD" (Gen.l5:1) of such an exceedingly "great salvation." Heb.2:3.
The Greatness Of The Kingdom
Many are hearing the calling to receive the GIFT of salvation but there are comparatively few who shall be in a place to hear a loud voice saying in the spirit, "Now is come [complete] salvation and strength and the kingdom of our God; and the power of His Christ" (Rev.12:10; 11:15-17)... "that thou mightest be my salvation unto the end of the earth." Isa.49:6. "Behold the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, THY SALVATION COMETH; behold His REWARD is with Him, and His work before Him, & they shall call them the holy people, the redeemed of the Lord: & thou shalt be called, sought out, a city not forsaken." Isa.62:11, 12. "And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the (holy) people of the (overcomer) saints of the most High whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve & obey Him." Dan.7:27.
"Of the increase of His government and peace there shall no end." Isa.9:7. The kingdom of God is present in earth even now. It is within our earthen vessels - Lk.17:21. God is about to release its full power & manifest its results to the earth, beginning in and through a people who have willingly allowed Christ to have all rule in their lives regardless of personal cost.- Rev.12:11
All In All
At present, the Lord Is in the midst of creating "new heavens" [new creation spirits - 2Cor.5:17], beginning with his gracious GIFT from heaven which shall ultimately culminate in a COMPLETE salvation in a "new earth" even a new body of celestial or terrestrial glory - Isa.65:17. This glorious salvation is nearing completion in a firstfruits remnant of the church (Ro.8:18,19) that will "stand PERFECT & COMPLETE in all the will of God." Co1.4:12. Yet, if you can receive it, this in itself is merely a beginning of an even greater purpose.
The range and scope of salvation's ultimate fulfillment reaches out in the unlimited power of divine love, in omnipotent "expectation that the creation itself, also, shall be freed from the slavery of corruption into the glorious freedom of the children of God." Ro.8:21 [Conc.Lit]. Not only the foreknown reconciliation and salvation of all men but also the restoration of the whole creation, was willed, predestined and foreordained to a divine order before the foundation of the earth - Heb.4:3; Ac.15:18; Isa.46:9,10. This is already completed truth. In the church it has only begun. In Him it is finished.
The work of God's Spirit in providing a salvation for all whom Christ died for (2Cor.5:14,15), and for all whom He willed to be ultimately saved (1Tim.2:4), was a PERFECT work, completed by Christ at Calvary. "His work is PERFECT." Deut.32:4. In this sovereign work their is no possibility of imperfection nor failure or He would not be our Lord God Almighty.
The work of the cross was not just a stationary event of the past. It was not merely a hoped for provision for all but was also the unfailing guarantee of a perfect result and outcome for all; a fulfillment that will in its perfection, have experientially provided salvation to all--to be made evident (1Tim.2:6) at the glorious consummation of its ongoing application.
Jesus, through the cross, not only made personal salvation a possibility or a hope for all, but He who is salvation was made "a surety" and a guarantee of a better and perfect testament - Heb.8:18-22. To Yahweh be all the glory, for Christ the perfect One has guaranteed a work of perfection for the whole of His creation. That which He planned and determined in the beginning of His natural universal creation, He shall complete to the full glory of God the Father. And that which he has begun in you His church He shall also surely complete - Phil. 1:6. After all, He is the great Potter and humanity but His clay and what vessel could ultimately resist His will? - Rom. chapter.9.
Our sovereign Creator's all powerful, all conclusive plan of the ages could never fail in His loving desire and pleasure to eventually be "all in all" (1Cor. 15:28; Eph.1:11) and COMPLETE IN HIM. Only then, shall the ultimate climax of Christ's glorious saving work planned from the foundation of the ages (Eph. chptr. 1; Rev.13:8) be fulfilled in all its transcendent glory... "Whom he did predestinate, them He also called: and who He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them he also glorified." Ro.8:30; 1Cor.15:22-28.
"Now the God of peace, that brought
again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that
great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood
of the everlasting covenant, make you PERFECT in
every good work to do His will, working in you that which
is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to who be glory
for ever and ever. Amen."
K. Ross McKay
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