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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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

A Brother Used by the Lord: Count Zinzendorf

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His Noble Birth

In 1 Corinthians 1:26 Paul wrote, “For you see your calling, brothers, that there are not many wise according to the flesh, not many powerful, not many wellborn.” Although Count Nicolaus Ludwig Zinzendorf, unlike Luther, was of noble birth, he was, nonetheless, a faithful witness to the Lord.

 WELCOME TO THE EMIGRANTS

A. The Spread of the Bohemian Brethren

While Zinzendorf lived in Dresden, he was informed that some of these exiles had arrived from Moravia. Among them was Christian David, an extraordinary man of whom Spangenberg writes:

When a child of only eight years of age, he sought rest for his soul, and did all he could according to the advice of those to whom he had complained of his distress, but in vain. As he grew up, he went upon his travels, and arrived at Göerlitz as a journeyman mechanic, where he heard the things spoken of, after which his soul longed. He now began to search the Scriptures diligently…. He became acquainted with Count Zinzendorf…and stated to him the oppressive situation of the brethren in Moravia. On seeing [Zinzendorf’s] zeal for the Lord, and how willing he was to receive those who were oppressed for conscience’s sake, he returned to Moravia, and spoke with his friends, telling them that this nobleman would probably receive them, for he was not ignorant of their intention to leave their native land, and seek a place where they could live according to their consciences, in obedience to the truth, with which, by God’s grace, they had been made acquainted. [1]

A band of Moravians acted on Christian David’s word and made the journey to Zinzendorf’s estate. On June 17, 1722, these exiles felled the first tree as they began the work of building a new settlement. The Count was informed of their arrival and received a petition from the exiles which read:

We are under great concern, lest we should be burdensome to you with this building. We most humbly entreat you to take us into your gracious protection, to assist us, poor, afflicted, and simple people, and to treat us with kindness and affection. We willentreat Almighty God to bless you in body and soul for so doing…. [2]

Zinzendorf was sympathetic toward them and willingly offered the temporary use of his estate until a permanent place for settlement could be found. The exiles, however, were of a different mind and set about to establish a permanent community on the estate. Christian David moved so rapidly that the die was cast within the next month without Zinzendorf’s knowledge. Zinzendorf subsequently consented, and this followed:

Towards the end of December, 1722, [Zinzendorf] travelled for the first time with his consort…. On leaving Strahwalde, a village near Bertholdsdorf, he saw in the wood, near the road, a house which he was told was the one built on his estate for the Moravians. He joyfully entered it, welcomed them cordially, fell upon his knees with them, returned thanks to God, and blessed the place with a warm heart. He entreated the Lord to extend His hand over the house, encouraged its inhabitants, and assured them of the favour and faithfulness of God….

The Count’s most anxious concern was now that all his vassals might become acquainted with their Lord and Saviour. [3]

B. The Founding of Herrnhut

Zinzendorf bore in mind that “friendship of the world is enmity with God”

The site of the immigrants’ first building was named Herrnhut, with the expectation that the new community would not only be unter des Herrn Hut, i.e., under the Lord’s watch, but also auf des Herrn Hut, i.e., on watch for the Lord.

1. Resignation of Position

Zinzendorf was employed in Dresden as a judicial counselor. Although those around him endeavored to make court life agreeable to him, Zinzendorf bore in mind that “friendship of the world is enmity with God” (James 4:4). Spangenberg describes his plight:

He was likewise embarrassed by the good intentions of his friends, who would gladly have advanced him to more honourable stations. He declared in writing, “that he begged them not to do so; especially as it was reported he was to be made chamberlain; that he was utterly unfit for such an office, which required a man of the world, and of worldly wisdom;–for he was neither. But he was heartily desirous of becoming a child of God and a true Christian; and such characters had an abhorrence of the pleasures of a court, and the glories of the world.” [4]

Zinzendorf felt obliged to retain his post as long as his grandmother was living, for it was her wish that he remain in governmental service. Her death came when the Count was twenty-seven. After conferring with his mother and stepfather, he officially resigned from office. In a letter of 1728, he shared his feelings concerning his retirement from office:

I found it difficult to continue in office, because circumstances were daily occurring, in which I was apprehensive of acting contrary to the word of the Lord: “They that are great, exercise authority; but it shall not be so among you.”… [It] has proved a hinderance to me with respect to that religion of the heart, which was my sole object. I have sometimes appeared to conquer by my Roman citizenship…, when I ought to have overcome by suffering and succumbing. In future, the same and still more disgraceful sufferings may befall me, which have befallen my brethren. [5]

2. Opposition

As time went on, there was an increasing number who were critical of him.

During this time a pamphlet was published in Dresden which indirectly attacked Zinzendorf. As time went on, there was an increasing number who were critical of him in addition to the earlier opposition to his paper, The Dresden Socrates. Some even went as far as to question the Count’s salvation. It was commonly held that the conversion experience must be accompanied by certain degrees of anxiety and painful distress on account of sins committed. Since Zinzendorf openly confessed that his initial experience of salvation had not taken place in this manner, some decided that he lacked a true conversion. Zinzendorf took time to examine this matter thoroughly. He would gladly have experienced such penitential conflict, but when he sought the Savior with reference to it, he was always encouraged to cast himself at his Lord’s feet and to cleave to Him as a poor sinner. The essence of salvation, he concluded, consisted in loving Him whom we see not and believing in Him as if we see Him.

3. Move to Herrnhut

In the summer of 1727, Count Zinzendorf and his wife moved to Herrnhut, which now had a population of about three hundred. Zinzendorf called their new house Bethel. Over the doorway, on the left and right, he had inscribed these lines:

As guests we only here remain;
And hence this house is slight and plain.
We have a better house above,
And there we fix our warmest love.

Zechariah 9:12 and 2 Corinthians 5:1-2 were also cited but not written out. John Wesley later visited the Count’s house and described it:

The Count’s house – a small, plain building like the rest; having a large garden behind it, well laid out, not for show, but for the use of the community. [6]

4. Children

The Zinzendorfs had twelve children. Eight, however, died in infancy. Their first child, Christian Ernest, was born in 1724 and lived only three months. The Count and his wife had agreed to offer up their firstborn to the hand of the Lord in a voluntary manner. As the Count knelt and prayed, presenting the child to the Lord, the infant expired.

His Last Years

In his last years Zinzendorf experienced many troubles, including financial problems and opposition from religious leaders. Nevertheless, during Zinzendorf’s lifetime the Lord was able to recover much concerning the enjoyment of Christ, hymn-writing, and the practice of the church life.

Taken from the book entitled Count Zinzendorf: A Brief History of the Lord’s Recovery, which was authored by James Reetzke and published by Chicago Bibles and Books. For information about Chicago Bibles and Books please visit their website atwww.ChicagoBiblesAndBooks.com.

A Horrible Self

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When I was at home last weekend, I experienced self-introspection. Self-introspection for me is my natural way to evaluate  my self before the Lord. After much evaluation though this way called self-introspection, the result were always be regrets, self-pity, self resolution and other things pertaining to the improvement of the fallen soul. Until such time came, a sister in the Lord told me that self-introspection is no longer needed if I want to evaluate (actually, expose is a better term) my fallen self. What I have to do whenever I need to Lord’s light to shine through me is to come to the Word. Hebrews 4:12 says that the Word of God is living and always able to discern the thoughts and intentions of my heart. Ephesians also tells that there is the washing in the water in the Word. So, I got it! The way is to come to the Word. No more wasting my time to introspect my fallen self and have pity on it.

And then, this portion from life-study really enlightened me:

Self comes in under the false cloak of introspection. Actually, self is constituted with introspection. Introspection is to examine yourself by looking into yourself. The Bible teaches us to always look away unto Jesus (Heb. 12:2). We should not look at ourselves. Our self is not worthy to look at. Nevertheless, every spiritual person who reaches a situation of satisfaction in Christ eventually falls into introspection, not only examining the self but also analyzing it. …Looking into ourselves in this way is the greatest weakness in the spiritual life and the greatest enemy.

When we are introspective, we may confess the same matter again and again, thinking that the more we confess, the more forgiveness we will receive. This kind of confession comes from the satanic self; it is the result of analyzing ourselves in spiritual things. Only the cross of Christ can deliver us from such a situation caused by introspection. Therefore, we need to be called to be delivered from the self through our oneness with the cross. When we become one with the cross, hiding ourselves in the clefts of the rock and in the covert of the precipice, we will be delivered from the self. Life-study of Song of Songs, msg. 3

Yes, He is the Eternal One!

These days, there are so many things that we can talk about. But there is one thing that if you were to ask me about, I’d always love to talk forever. This is not a thing, rather, a person – CHRIST.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “He has put eternity in their heart.” If you really think about it for a second, your jaw might drop. Eternity in our hearts? How can you fill something that is made up of eternity? Is it really possible? Or is it just illogical to consider?

You might have realized  in your own life, that one day something or someone can be the biggest joy and love of your heart. But the next day your love is a little less and then you look for something else to make you feel that joy. Believe me, we have the same experience. These are things and people I care for and I love, who are giving me happiness and comfort, who I want to spend all my life with. And all these experiences are the ones that makes my heart confused most of the times. But! There is One I know who is able to fill that eternity within my heart. God created us with eternity because He is the only one who could ever fill it, for He is the eternal God.

It is so wonderful to know that God did not make our hearts with the purpose to fill it with temporary things in this world but made it so we could have the eternal One – Himself in us. Yes, He is the real satisfaction of my heart!

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.

A Sister in the Lord – Miss Margaret E. Barber

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The Lord’s servant, Miss Margaret E. Barber, became a seed of the divine life in China. She learned the lessons of life, strictly disciplining herself to follow the Lamb in detailed obedience while also becoming a pattern to train the younger believers. Through this process she became a faithful steward, committing her learning to faithful men who later became competent teachers also (2 Tim. 2:2). Perhaps the most notable of those under her training hand was Watchman Nee.

In taking up the burden to move from Great Britain to China for the Lord’s interest, Miss Barber deeply experienced the cross and learned to live by faith. Her poems, some of which are included in this volume, exhibit her deep experiences of Christ. She was very much in the Lord’s presence, and she eagerly anticipated His coming back.

She paid more attention to life than to work.

In China she lived in a suburb of Foochow, traveling little and receiving no publicity. She simply prayed for the Lord’s move and helped those who sought her counsel in seeking after the Lord. Through Miss Barber, Watchman Nee obtained a foundation for his spiritual life. When the young Brother Nee would admire the eloquence, knowledge, ability, zeal, or natural power of persuasion shown by a Christian speaker, Miss Barber would point out that these things were neither of life nor of the Spirit. They could stir people up but could never minister life to people. She paid more attention to life than to work. She also warned the young brothers against doing a popular work, which would bring shipwreck to their spiritual life. By deliberately putting himself before Miss Barber’s instruction and strict rebukes, Brother Nee received much help.

In Witness Lee’s biography of Watchman Nee (Watchman Nee: A Seer of the Divine Revelation in the Present Age, Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1991, 18), he mentions the help Watchman Nee got from Dora Yu and Margaret Barber: “He frequently told others that it was through a sister [Dora Yu] that he was saved and that is was also through a sister [Margaret Barber] that he was edified.” It was Sister Barber who introduced Watchman Nee to the writings of D. M. Panton, Robert Govett, G. H. Pember, Jessie Penn-Lewis, and T. Austin-Sparks.