God's Full Salvation
A Brief Overview of Salvation
We shall be
“conformed to the image of His Son”
According to the Bible, God’s ultimate goal for us as the believers in Christ is for us to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29; cf. Eph. 1:5). Therefore, in its fullest definition salvation is, very simply, the process by which God conforms us to the image of Christ.
We sometime refer to this as “full salvation,” to distinguish it from what many Christians mean today when they use the term “salvation.” We’ve designed a simple chart that portrays the major steps of this salvation; it’s included in our gospel pamphlet, “What Is Life All About?”
To go to the page where you can download this pamphlet in PDF format, click on the small image of the chart below.
Today when people speak of “being saved” they are generally referring mainly to the initial aspect of salvation, which is when we believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior, so that God forgives our sins completely, once-for-all, and we are born anew. Praise Him for this marvelous beginning to our salvation!
But, there is still so much more God still needs to do in us to complete the process of salvation (cf. Rom. 5:10); only then will we be prepared to be with Him for eternity. That is why the New Testament speaks of us as those are are still “being saved” (1 Cor. 1:18, 15:2), and who are now “receiving the salvation or our souls” (1 Pet. 1:9), and why it also charges us to “work out our salvation” (Phil. 2:12).
In brief, the objective aspect of salvation has already been completed by Christ through His death on the cross and His resurrection. What remains to be completed is the subjective aspect of salvation, in which we ourselves receive His divine life so that we may enter into the death and resurrection of Christ in our own experience.
The objective aspect of salvation is applied to us in an instant, once-for-all, the moment we believe in Christ. In that wonderful moment our sins are forgiven and we are born anew. In contrast, the subjective aspect, which the New Testament calls “renewing” and “transformation” (Rom. 12:2, 2 Cor. 3:18, 4:16-18) is not once-for-all; rather, it will go on for the rest of our life.
So, as Christians, we have a race to run! We cannot just wait to “go to heaven,” for we must enter into this salvation today! In the New Testament, the greatest example of one who ran this race is the Apostle Paul, who said he was “stretching forward” to “lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has laid hold of me” and that he “pursued toward the goal of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:12-14). Not until the very end of his life, as he was preparing for his martyrdom, could he finally say, “I have finished my course” (2 Tim. 4:7).
In the Old Testament, this race is pictured in the history of the Children of Israel, who needed to leave Egypt and journey through the wilderness to enter into the Good Land, and who then had to fight to possess that land so God could have His dwelling place in Jerusalem. The Apostle Paul specifically says that this is an example of our race today (1 Cor. 9:24-10:6). We also see this race in the design of the Tabernacle and the Temple, where the priests needed to go, stage by stage, all the way from the Outer Court into the Holiest of All.
So, if you have believed in the Lord and been born anew, your own race has now begun! You’ve started on this wonderful, difficult, impossible, mysterious, perplexing, heavenly, painful, sorrowful, joyful, glorious, romantic, and endlessly meaningful and satisfying journey with the Lord, which will last until the day we finally see Him face to face.
A CHART OF
GOD’S FULL SALVATION
Here are some additional resources to help you
with further study of this crucial topic