Recently while studying the writings of the apostle Peter it became evident that from Peter's perspective (which came through revelation from the Lord), salvation is more than just a one time event that we experience at a certain point in our lives. Instead, salvation is a definite event, a dynamic process and a determined hope, all at the same time.
Salvation is directly related to the essence of God and the essence of human beings. Just as God is Triune, humans are triune as well. God reveals Himself to humans in terms of relationship: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He also created humans as tripartite beings: spirit, soul (mind), and body. When the first two people who had been created rebelled in disobedience against God, the aftermath of their "missing the mark" (sin) affected their entire beings. Their spirits were separated from direct fellowship and intimate communication with God; their souls were separated from the knowledge and wisdom of God; and their bodies were separated from the perpetual, sustaining, life-giving power of God (the tree of life).
The Bible identifies this separation from God as death. Death is not an annihilation or ceasing to exist; rather, death is a continued existence apart from the physical body (in the case of natural death) and apart from the presence and power of God (in the case of spiritual death). A person who dies physically is separated from their body. Their spirit and soul (which remain undivided) leave the body at death and go to a place God determines. Similarly, a person who is spiritually dead remains separated from God and cannot enter his presence or enjoy his glory. The ultimate end of such people is permanent separation from God unless they accept the provision God has made to restore their relationship and fellowship with Him.
Sin is a spiritual force which separates people from God by changing their nature from agreement with God's character into rebellion and self-will against God. Sin begins in the supra-natural spirit realm and impacts the physical realm in the human soul (mind) in the form of thoughts. When sinful thoughts are entertained and accepted, they result in sinful actions. Therefore, sin must be fought at the level of thought to achieve real victory.
Salvation is the entire work of God in delivering
the spirits, minds and bodies of people from the power and penalty of sin.
Just as sin affects the entire person (spirit, soul and body), salvation
equally affects the entire person. Salvation is an event, a process
and a hope. The Scriptures in 1 Peter mentioned earlier points this
out quite well, and is supported by numerous other passages of Scripture.
The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts
for nothing. The words I have spoken
to you are spirit and they are life. John 6:63.
The most common understanding among people
of the meaning of the word "salvation" is in direct reference to
the new birth experience. Terms like "getting saved" are used to
describe this spiritual event in the life of a believer in Jesus Christ.
However, further study of the Scriptures reveals that in the understanding
of the apostles, the meaning of the word "salvation" is not limited to
the new birth.
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we
eagerly await a Savior from
there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring
everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they
will be like his glorious body. Phillipians 3:20-21.
We know that the whole creation has been
groaning as in the pains of
childbirth right up to the present time.
Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the
redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved.
But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?
But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
But that is not all.....
So from the mouth of the Lord's apostle comes a definition of salvation that includes an event, a process and a hope. All of these are salvation: the new birth, the salvation of the soul, and the redemption of the body. One way I like to refer these aspects of salvation is with three R's: Regeneration, Renewal and Resurrection.
1. The new birth is the regeneration
of the human spirit.
2. The salvation of the soul is the renewing of the mind.
3. The resurrection is the salvation of the body.
Our salvation will be complete and fulfilled only when all three of these elements of salvation have taken place. Salvation isn't the partial work of God, it is the entire work of God. Salvation is delivering the spirit, soul and body from the power and penalty of sin. As a born-again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ I can accurately say: