Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Salvation and the Fullness of Salvation: the Difference?

In most Christian circles the term Salvation is the most widely used term you will hear. It has to do with the very roots of the Bible. It is a term that would have never been coined in reference to eternal life had it not been for the fall of Adam and Eve into sin. When humanity was first created they were created beautifully perfect and complete in terms of a relationship to God and the creation around them. They were crowned with beauty and honor—the glory of all of God’s creation. Dominion was given to them over all things, Gen. 1:26-30. Because of disobedience to a simple command of God they fell into a pit—a pit they needed pulled out of. This God did by symbolically taking the skin of an innocent animal and clothing them with it. These new threads are symbolic of what God does for every man, woman, and child that comes to Him to be “saved” and forgiven of sin—He clothes us with His righteous robe, Is. 61:10; Gen. 3:21; 2 Cor. 5:17, 21; Is. 45:24; 1 Cor. 1:30. It is a beautiful picture of God’s love for us all.

But is that all there is to Christianity? Many believe so. If you are one that does then you probably have never heard of the “Fullness of Salvation,” “Fullness of God,” or the “Fullness of Christ.”  (see John 1:16; Eph. 3:19, 4:13) These descriptive terms do not get tossed around too much but they really should be. In the Garden story above the problem of sin in the life of mankind began with disobedience. If therefore disobedience to God resulted in a separation then the opposite is also true. Obedience with faith can result in the life God originally created mankind to have being alive and working in you. It begins with Salvation-being obedient to the call of God on your heart to be saved and receiving Jesus as Savior and Lord, John 1:12-13; Rom. 10:9-10. From that point onward we are Christ’s and nothing can pluck us from His hand, John 10:28-30. But the conception of eternal life does not end there; our life will proceed towards the “… the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;” as we live within the boundaries of the “Fullness of God!”

The Bible teaches us a many things about the “Christ Life” that is a possession of all who have placed their faith in Him. One of the things it teaches is that in the world we will have tribulation, John 16:33. But never confuse the tribulation that besets the unbeliever because of godless living with the true trials and tribulations God allows us to endure. There is a difference between trial brought on by godless living and trial that is part and parcel to all humanity and a necessary part of the Christian life. God uses these tough times to mold and shape us into the life He has prepared for us before we were born, Eph. 2:10. It is through enduring the trying times that our faith is perfected. James, the Lord’s brother, exhorts, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing, James 1:2-4 (NKJV). God wants us to go on to perfection and completeness. So this “Fullness of Christ” then not only speaks of God dwelling fully in us via the Holy Spirit’s indwelling but also to a relationship that carries unspeakable value and riches under the favor of Christ. What God will do for us and in and thru us can only be known through the life that unmistakably dedicates itself to the Lord. In every way we must bow to God and in humility allow Him to have full reign of our lives. Anything less is robbery; that is we rob ourselves of God’s blessing and His favor. Honestly speaking I see a lot of people who call themselves Christians suffering in many of the same self-inflicted situations as the lost. This has to make the unbelieving community wonder why we say God is so great yet live as if He isn’t. Salvation may get our names written down in the Lamb’s book of life but experiencing the fullness of Christ through complete surrender will give us so much more. It is simply a heart issue; again, one in which only full surrender to God can fix.

God Bless