Three Stages of Salvation

Three Stages of Salvation
Hebrews 2:3 says “How shall we escape¹ª if we have neglected so great a salvation,¹ª which, having had its beginning in being spoken by the Lord, has been confirmed to us by those who heard”.
Salvation here refers back to what is mentioned in 1:14. It is God’s full salvation, from the forgiveness of sins to the sharing of the coming kingdom with glory. It refers not only to what Christ has done and will do for us but also to Himself, the One who is able to save us to the uttermost (7:25). As the Son of God —as God —and as the Son of Man —as man —He is our salvation. His wonderful person plus His splendid work constitute so great a salvation, a salvation that none of us should neglect. Our negligence will cause us to miss this great salvation’s (1) most precious part —the enjoying of Christ as our saving life and rest in this age; and (2) most glorious part —the inheriting of Christ’s kingdom with glory in the coming age.

Man is of three parts: spirit, soul and body. God’s salvation is of three stages to fully save this three-part man.

The first stage of salvation is the initial stage. This stage saves our spirit. God has done this firstly by His death on the cross to take care of our objective problem before God. Second, as the life-giving Spirit, He has regenerated us in our spirit. This stage includes redemption, forgiveness of sins, cleansing of sins, justification and reconciliation. The result is regeneration. This is the beginning of the Christian life.
The second stage is the progressing stage. This stage saves us in our soul. Although God is now in our human spirit through regeneration, our soul is still full of Satan’s nature. We think evil thoughts. We lie and hate others. We are jealous and full of our own opinions. We love what God hates and hate what God loves. We are evil, we are sin, and even in a certain sense, we are Satan. But, we are also Christians who have received the divine life into us. In this stage, God deals with our evil soul. Regeneration only puts Christ into our spirit. We need to allow Christ to spread into our soul day by day. This will take our entire lifetime. By opening to Him, by praying and by confessing our sins, we allow Him to spread in us. This spreading is our sanctification. In this way, He deposits His holy nature into our soul from our spirit. At the same time He transforms us from an old man to a new man, from being full of the satanic life to being full of God.
The third stage is the completing stage. In this stage our body is saved and God’s full salvation reaches its climax. It is the result of the second stage. Leaving the starting block in the race is the initial stage. Running the course is the progressing stage. Crossing the finish line is the completing stage. You cannot cross the finish line unless you have started and progressed in the course of the race. The faster you progress, the earlier you will complete the race.

This stage is glorious. It finally solves all our problems and consummates God’s eternal purpose. In this stage, our body is conformed to the body of the Lord’s glory. Our body is transfigured, glorified. We inherit God’s kingdom to reign with Christ as co-kings and obtain the topmost enjoyment of the Lord. By this stage, our spirit will be full of life due to regeneration. Our soul will be full of Christ due to sanctification and transformation. We will think the way God thinks. We will love what God loves and hate what He hates. Our will will always choose what God would choose, and our body will be full of the glory of the Lord. Then we will fully be sons of God, full of God’s life, expressing God and representing Him eternally. Through all of this process, we will be built together as the glorious church, the New Jerusalem. Hallelujah! God will be fully satisfied and we will be fully saved!
We can only arrive at this stage by being initially saved and then by being sanctified and transformed. Brothers and sisters, don’t you want to arrive at the third stage? If you do, then go on to enjoy Him as the Spirit and the Word. Then, cooperate with Him daily. Allow Him to spread in you by always following His leading within you and by confessing your sins and shortcomings to Him. In these ways, you will go on from the initial stage of your salvation through the progressive stage, and you will enter into the full enjoyment of your salvation in the completing stage.

Further References:
See Compendium of God’s Full Salvation (LSM),
Chapter 20 and 26;
Holy Bible- Recovery Version with foot notes

or
1.    Life-study of Matthew (Lee/LSM), p. 587.
2.    Life-study of Romans (Lee/LSM), pp. 13, 252-254, 273-275, 453-454, 494-495, 556, 565-566.
3.    Life-study of Colossians (Lee/LSM), pp. 245-246, 525-526.
4.    Life-study of Second Corinthians (Lee/LSM), pp. 33-34, 105-106, 524, 526-529.
5.    Life-study of Genesis (Lee/LSM), pp. 124-125.
6.    The Kingdom (Lee/LSM), p. 390.
7.    Life-study of Hebrews (Lee/LSM), pp. 104-105, 136-137, 230-231, 263-264, 422-423.
8.    Life-study of Ephesians (Lee/LSM), pp. 168, 314-315, 434, 480-481, 551-552.
9.    Life-study of John (Lee/LSM), pp. 67-68, 218, 383, 407-409, 458, 491, 565-567.
10.  The Divine Dispensing of the Divine Trinity (Lee/LSM), pp. 223, 234.
11.  The Spirit and Body (Lee/LSM), p. 25.
12.  Life-study of Philippians (Lee/LSM), pp. 86, 97-98, 328, 338, 340-342, 356-357, 364, 383.
13.  Life-study of Revelation (Lee/LSM), p. 428.
14.  Young People’s Training (Lee/LSM), pp. 179-180.
15.  Life-study of First Peter (Lee/LSM), pp. 92, 129, 134, 303-305.
16.  Life-study of Exodus (Lee/LSM), pp. 407, 550, 888-889.
17.  The Kernel of the Bible (Lee/LSM), p. 17.
18.  Life-study of First Corinthians (Lee/LSM), pp. 418, 523-524.
19.  Experiencing Christ as the Offerings for the Church Meetings (Lee/LSM), pp. 25-26, 52.
20.  Life Messages, vol. 1 (Lee/LSM), p. 256.
21.  Concerning the Triune God, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit (Lee/LSM), pp. 1-5.
22.  The Stream (Lee/LSM), vol. 4, no. 2, p. 13.
23.  Truth Messages (Lee/LSM), pp. 9-10, 16-18.
24.  Perfecting Training (Lee/LSM), pp. 341-343, 347-350.
25.  Experience of Christ (Lee/LSM), pp. 45-46.
26.  The Experience of Life (Lee/LSM), pp. 151-152, 244.
27.  The Economy of God (Lee/LSM), pp. 73, 90-93.
28.  The Parts of Man (Lee/LSM), pp. 21-22, 33.
29.  Life-study of Galatians (Lee/LSM), pp. 242, 251-252.
30.  Life-study of Second Peter (Lee/LSM), pp. 27-28, 45.

Photo credits:

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Concerning Grace

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Question: Does grace mean giving less because man does not deserve it?

Answer: Grace is NOT a matter of giving less because man does NOT deserve it. God has NOT overlooked the problem of man’s sin. In dealing sin, God is very strict, definite, and thorough. Through His Son, He has thoroughly deal with this problem. Therefore, how can any questions related to man’s worthiness or the degree of his worthiness remains? God’s grace is NOT concerned with man’s unworthiness. Since ALL men can obtain God’s grace.

God does NOT withhold His grace because of man’s unworthiness; instead, He bestows grace because of his unworthiness. God does NOT DIFFERENTIATE among the unworthy according to who is more unworthy and is less unworthy. God does NOT enable the less unworthy to receive more grace and the more unworthy to receive less grace.

God cannot bestow less grace to those who have greater sins and more grace to those who have less sins. Grace is never used by God to patch up sinner’s flaws. The condition of the sinner, his works, and his merits (both great and small) are completely put aside.

Since grace is grace, it is NOT related to the recipient’s condition at all. The recipient does NOT need to have any qualification to receive grace, since grace is given to those who do NOT deserve it and is NOT related to the recipient’s condition. Therefore, grace is NOT giving less to those who are less deserving. Otherwise, man’s condition once again becomes the prerequisite of receiving grace. The bestowing of grace in neither according to a person’s condition nor the result of comparing one person to another. God’s grace is vast, expansive, and intended for all kinds of sinners. Those who think they are all right need God’s grace as much as those who regard themselves as great sinners.

Some may think that a better person deserves more grace. But from God’s viewpoint, everyone is the same. Suppose several plates fall to the ground. Some may break in half, some into five pieces and others into fragments. Although they may break in different ways, they are all broken. Whether you are a “better” sinner or a “worse” sinner, you are still a sinner. The Bible says that all men are sinners. God sent the Lord Jesus to die for sinners, thereby affording every sinner an opportunity to be saved. If only one sinner in the world needed to be saved, God would have still sent His Son to die for him. In the parable of shepherd seeking the lost sheep, the shepherd left the ninety-nine sheep to seek the one lost sheep (Luke 15:3-4). Whether you are a great sinner or small sinner, as long as you are a lost sheep, you need the Lord Jesus to die for you.

Questions On The Gospel (Watchman Nee)

 

Fact, Faith and Experience

In the present age of grace, everything is “by grace” (Eph. 2:8). Everything being by grace means that everything is done by God. Man does not have to do anything to be saved because “to the one who works, his wages are not accounted according to grace, but according to what is due” (Rom. 4:4). Because God deals with man according to grace, there are certain facts.

ImageFacts are God’s promises, His redemption, His works, and His free gifts and that God has accomplished everything for man. Since everything has been accomplished, certain “facts” exist. And since they are existing “facts,” man does not have to accomplish what has already been accomplished. All of God’s works are complete.

However, God’s grace is a righteous grace. This is why, with the “facts,” there is still the need for human cooperation. What kind of cooperation is this? It is not to add anything to what He has finished, but to have man acknowledge that what God has done is real. This is faith.

ImageFaith denotes the way man believes in God, trusts in His work and redemption, and claims His promises. It is a kind of working and attitude through which God’s facts are transformed into man’s experience. It is to acknowledge that what God has said and done is true. Faith is to accept the facts, that is, to acknowledge them as facts.

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Experience is the proper living of the believers, which they secure through believing in God. It is the expression of the life of Christ practiced in the believers’ living. Experience is the realization of all Christ’s accomplishments and victories. It is the practical application, manifestation, and living out of God’s facts. The histories of all the saints recorded in the Bible belong to this category.

“Not only those who are teachers but all believers should know the interrelationship of these three: fact, faith, and experience. Otherwise, they will be confused in their living and in their teachings. Furthermore, they will find many contradictions and apparent disagreements in their reading of the Bible. ” – Bro.Watchman Nee

To experience God’s grace is to claim by faith the facts that God has accomplished for man. These facts are accomplished by God. What man needs is faith. The facts belong to God, and the experience belongs to man. Thus, faith is God’s facts becoming man’s experience. What the Bible shows us is simply “fact, faith, and experience.” 

Based from the book: Fact, Faith and Experience by Watchman Nee and The Meaning of Human Life and Proper Consecration by Witness Lee. Available at http://www.lsm.org

Abiding Through Praying and Thanksgiving

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UNCEASINGLY PRAYING AND IN EVERYTHING GIVING THANKS ENABLING US TO ABIDE IN THE LORD CONTINUOUSLY

The best way to keep the spiritual electricity from being turned off is to install a safety box and lock the switch in. How do you lock it in? The way is to “unceasingly pray and in everything give thanks.” This is not doctrinal but experiential. In doctrine, no one can connect “unceasingly pray and in everything give thanks” with “abiding in the Lord.” There is one book in the New Testament that specifically covers the matter of abiding in the Lord, and that is the first Epistle of John. Yet in such a book there is no mention at all of unceasingly praying and in everything giving thanks. Knowledge is one thing, while experience is another.

Often those with a Ph.D. are inferior to those who are experienced. Therefore, I am not telling you about knowledge or doctrine; I am speaking about experience. The secret, the key, to remaining in the enjoyment of the Lord is prayer and thanksgiving.

“We all can understand what it means to pray and to give thanks. When we pray, we are shining within, but if we also give thanks, we will become enlivened within.”
Prayer may be likened to connecting the wires, and thanksgiving, to shining the light. Sometimes our “wires” have been connected, yet it seems that we do not sense any reaction. The light does not shine if there is only prayer but no thanksgiving.
“Therefore, if we want to have a life that is always shining without flickering, we need to pray unceasingly and give thanks in everything.”
According to our experience, if we pray and also give thanks, even if before we were not abiding in the Lord, we will spontaneously enter into the Lord and abide in Him. If we want to get in and not come out but remain inside all the time, we need to pray unceasingly and give thanks in everything.
A vile sinner needs only to believe and repent, praying to the Lord, “Lord Jesus, I am truly a vile sinner. I pray that You save me.” Immediately the “connection” is made, and Christ enters into him. This sinner, however, still has to say, “Lord Jesus, I really thank You.” Then the light in him will shine, and he will abide in the Lord. Hence, whether we are believers or sinners, we all need to abide in the Lord through prayer and thanksgiving.By: Witness Lee

The Divine Spirit within our Human Spirit

John 3:6
That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

We have been begotten of God, thus we became the many sons of God. We have His Divine life and He became our Father.

John 4:24
God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truthfulness.

Thank the Lord that He is in our spirit! We can contact Him, enjoy Him, assimilate Him, experience Him and worship Him in our spirit. Our mingled spirit is the right place for us to be one with Him.

Romans 8:5
For those who are according to the flesh mind the things of the flesh; but those who are according to the spirit, the things of the Spirit.

Before, we were men according to the flesh, thus we are minding the things that are of the flesh. However, we have been born of God. We are now those who are according to the spirit, thus minding the things of the spirit. Romans 8:6 says “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace. To mind the things of the spirit is to set our mind on the spirit.