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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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Salvation from God’s point of view

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When we think or talk about salvation we usually mean the process of having our sins forgiven by repenting of them and putting our faith in Jesus Christ. From the human point of view this is what salvation is but from God’s viewpoint this is only one of several steps. The complete process is described in Romans 8:29,30:


Those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

We see that salvation consists of five steps: foreknowledge, predestination, calling, justification, and glorification.

The first step, foreknowledge, is the logical result of God’s omniscience. He knew even before he created us who would believe the gospel and who would reject it.


He decided that those who believed the gospel were to be conformed to the image of Christ and so become part of God’s family. This decision is called predestination. He predestined those who believe to become like Christ but he didn’t predestine those who reject the gospel to any particular fate. The final destiny of the lost is simply the natural result of their own unbelief.


The next step is calling those whom he has predestined. He does this thru the preaching of the gospel. He causes someone to tell them the gospel so they can believe it and be saved. From our point of view this seems to be the beginning of the salvation experience because it is the first one we are aware of.


When we believe the gospel we are justified in God’s sight because all of our sins are forgiven. This includes all those we will commit in the future as well as those in the past because God already knows what those sins will be.


The final step in salvation is glorification, when the process of making us like Christ is completed. This will occur when Christ returns and takes the believers out in the rapture. Our bodies will be transformed to be like Christ’s body and the bodies of all believers who have died will be resurrected. Even though this is still in the future it is so certain that God speaks of it in the past tense as though it had already taken place.


Some people believe that it is possible for a person to become a Christian and then lose his salvation and revert to an unsaved state. If you look as salvation as only being the person’s acceptance of Jesus as savior this could seem like a plausible belief. It is possible for someone to embrace a belief and later reject it so if our salvation was dependent only on our faith we could lose it. But if you look at the entire process you will see losing salvation is impossible. When we put our faith in Christ God already knows all that is ahead in our lives. He would never save us in the first place if he knew that we would turn away from him and be lost.


About sixty years ago a detective story writer named Mickey Spillane was very popular. I recall reading an interview in which he described how he wrote his stories. He said that when he began a book he would write the last chapter first and then write the rest of the book to bring about the conclusion he had already written. This is the same way God works when he saves us. He decides that our final destiny will be to be glorified so that we will be like Christ and the rest of the process consists of bringing about this result. We can have complete confidence in our salvation because our last chapter has already been written by God.


I am aware of one objection that might be raised at this point. All of us know about people who have made a profession of faith in Christ and then turned away from following him. Some of you who are reading this might be among them. Doesn’t this show that a person can become a Christian and then lose his salvation?


This problem has come about because there are teachers and churches who teach a false way of salvation. This false teaching can take many forms. Some teach that something else, such as baptism or good works, is needed in addition to faith. Some teach salvation by faith but have an unbiblical idea of what faith is. The kind of faith which brings salvation involves a recognition that we have sinned and deserve to be punished but that Christ took the punishment we deserve. Some preachers fail to emphasize the fact that we are sinners and so many are led to profess faith without really repenting of their sins. The result of this false teaching is that there are many who sincerely believe that they are Christians when they aren’t. If they fall away from professing to be Christians it appears that they are losing their salvation when in fact they were never saved in the first place.


I know from personal experience that what it is like to make a false profession of being a Christian. I have gone to church all my life but when I was young the church I attended wasn’t very Biblical in it teachings. I never was taught that salvation is by faith alone but thought that is was necessary to be baptized and them work to earn salvation. When I was 14 years old I was baptized and I thought that I was now a Christian. About two years later I had a Sunday school teacher who was really a Christian. She listened to a radio program called Back To The Bible and because of her recommendation I began listening too. As a result of the teaching I heard on the radio I finally came to understand that salvation is a free gift of God and I put my faith in Christ and for the first time really became a Christian. If I had not done this and at some future time had come to reject the truths I had learned about the Bible it would have seemed to others that I had been saved and had lost my salvation when in fact I would never have been saved in the first place. I am thankful that God didn’t allow this to happen but sent someone into my life who would guide me into the truth.


Back to the Bible, the program through which I learned the way of salvation, is available on the internet as well as by radio.




I recommend it for anyone who wants to learn more about the Bible.



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I can find nothing to disagree with here, Theo. God's plan was determined before the world began, and now it is being played out. "All the world's a stage, and men merely players," to quote Shakespeare. He means the script is written and the players perform according to it. The big difference in the analogy is that only God knows ahead of time what happens in the script, whereas we find out as we go along. God has a perfect understanding of everything in His plan, man doesn't. When it comes to salvation, if we could choose, we could lose. God chooses and does not make mistakes. In His foreknowledge, He knows what kind of sinners we are, yet saves us anyway (those who are His elect).

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