Rev. Benjamin Arazu

Understanding salvation is fundamental to spiritual growth

Published Sep 22, 2018 at 4:00pm

The question as touching when a man is saved is very crucial and must not be taken lightly. In reality, some believers do not know or cannot exactly tell when they got saved. 

Sad enough, some cannot even explain in simple terms what it means to be saved.

This obviously is a product of being exposed to the wrong kind of teaching. Paul’s prayer for Philemon is very instructive:

Philemon 1:6 That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.

The word “communication” implies fellowship; sharing, partnership.

The word “knowledge” used consistently by Paul in his epistles implies to have precise and accurate knowledge.

In this context, of every good thing in you, in Christ.

The Amplified Translation, helps to understand the text better

Philemon 6: [And I pray] that the participation in and sharing of your faith may produce and promote full recognition and appreciation and understanding and precise knowledge of every good [thing] that is ours in [our identification] with Christ Jesus [and unto his glory]. (Amplified Bible):

In other words, the degree to which the believer in his mind understands every good thing in him in Christ (his salvation), is the degree to which he will have an effective Faith / Christian life.

Hence, the believer’s understanding of the subject of salvation is fundamental to his spiritual growth.

It therefore suffices to say that the greatest need of the believer is knowledge. 

Hence the Pauline prayers focused on knowledge – the believer coming into a precise and accurate understanding of his salvation (Every good thing which is in Him in Christ). 

Ephesians 1:17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: Vs 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, Vs 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

Philippians 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; vs 10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Vs 11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

Colossians 1:9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; Vs 10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Vs 11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and long suffering with joyfulness;

Philemon 6 That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.

The importance of knowledge for the believer cannot be overemphasized. Therefore, the believer must know the what, the how, the why and the when of salvation. When this knowledge is absent, as Paul explained in his-letter to Philemon, the believer will be ineffective in his Christian walk.

Philemon 1:6 That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.

Some can get to the extent of even doubting their salvation. It is a lack of this understanding that makes some use the term “I gave my life to Christ”, in talking about salvation. This is because they have come to see salvation as what they did or have to do. Using such terminologies in explaining salvation, is proof of ignorance of the written word. 

In reality, our understanding of salvation / the new birth usually affects how we see every other issue that pertains to the faith.

That is why “the gospel” one hears is very critical to how he will eventually see and relate with God.

First and foremost, there is no text in the four gospels, book of Acts and the Epistles that correlates with the phrase “I gave my life to Christ”.

Faith in Christ is receiving from, not giving to Christ!

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Believing is not giving but receiving!

In salvation, a man receives life by faith in the gospel alone.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

He (the Father) gave life and we ONLY received! We are His workmanship!

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Vs 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. Vs 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

It is very vital to point out that the unsaved man had nothing to give. We were dead in our trespasses; thus, we could not have had life to give.

Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened,

who were dead in trespasses and sins;

It was God who quickened (made alive) ...

We only received (life)!

This is the true meaning of salvation – God is the giver and we are the receivers.

Romans 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

Our only action was to take from what God gave. There is only one response, and it is faith. 

We did not give our lives to be saved. Rather, we receive His (life) and we are saved. 

Thus, salvation is not an exchange of life, but a NEW BIRTH... from death to life.

John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Thus, it is impossible for the believer to lack what God already gave, the issue really is for him to come into the reality of every good thing in him, in Christ! Just as Paul explained in his letter to Philemon, the precise and accurate knowledge of the written word (every good thing in you, in Christ) is very vital.

It is the key to growth! It dispels any iota of doubt or confusion from the mind of the believer, and makes him efficient in the work of the ministry.