Our Glorious Redemption (Rom. 8:28-30) part 3 of 5

  • Written by James Lee
  • Published: 04 May 2017

The relationship between historia salutis and ordo salutis is crucial to our salvation. God's plan for our redemption is not just redemptive in character and purpose (i.e., to be delivered from hell and spared from our punishment); it is also transformative (i.e., to be changed from a sinner to a saint). In fact, it is truly redemptive because it is transformative. What is ordo salutis in essence? It is the process by which a hell-deserving sinner is made into a God-loving, law-delighting saint, glorified and perfected in the image of God.

 

Think about how crucial this redemptive transformation is in salvation. What does it profit a sinner to make it to heaven if his wicked heart is not changed? As someone said, if that were to happen, there would be two hells--the hell reserved for Satan and unrepentant sinners and the heaven in which the sinner finds himself. How intolerable would heaven be for the sinner who hates God to have to obey and delight in Him! No, heaven will not be heaven unless we are made good, holy, and righteous in our whole being, loving the Lord of heaven with all of our heart! And this is what ordo salutis is about.

Our Glorious Redemption (Rom. 8:28-30) part 2 of 5

  • Written by James Lee
  • Published: 04 May 2017

This points to the fact that God has had one plan of redemption from the very beginning. The sacrificial system and the Law of Moses were not given as different means of forgiveness and salvation. They had obvious limitations: the sacrificial system could not bring about true, lasting forgiveness; the law could not enable God's people to live a holy life. Their role was to point away from themselves to the true Lamb of God, who alone can take away the sin of the world; to the second Adam, who alone can delight God with His life of perfect righteousness. So, testifying to Jesus, Peter boldly declared to the Sanhedrin Council, "And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts4:12). John also says in Rev. 13:8, "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship [the beast], whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (KJV). Isn't it fascinating? The Lamb of God is said to be slain from the foundation of the world because that's when His death for our salvation was decreed by God's infallible, immutable, unstoppable, unalterable, sovereign will!

Our Glorious Redemption (Rom. 8:28-30) Part 1 of 5

  • Written by James Lee
  • Published: 04 May 2017

I'd like to alert you to the fact that in Christianity we also have historia salutis (the history of salvation) in addition to ordo salutis (the order of salvation). John Murray summarized the relationship between the two in his book, Redemption Accomplished and Applied. Redemption accomplished is the history of salvation. Redemption applied is the order of salvation. I'd like to talk about why having both is important, and why we can't just have one or the other. By historia salutis we do not mean the entire period of human history (since the Fall) in which God saves His people. Rather, it refers to a specific period within it, in which God accomplishes His work of redemption, culminating in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In other words, it is the historical period covered in the Bible, ending with the Apostles' witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

But why should the history of redemption be divided into the Old Testament and the New Testament as we see in the Bible? They are not called such simply because one comes after another in their chronological order. That is true but only partially so. There is a qualitative difference between the two as well. We can say that the Old Testament is like the storyboard of a movie in sketches and the New Testament is like the full movie. Another analogy that is frequently used is that the Old Testament is like a signpost and the New Testament is like the thing that it points to, or the blueprint of a building and the building that is fully constructed according to the blueprint. In the Old Testament God uses types, shadows, promises, prophecies, etc. to teach His people how He will save His people through a Savior and thus prepare them for that Savior.

Do Not Disbelieve (John 20:19-31) Part 5 of 5

  • Written by James Lee
  • Published: 21 April 2017

The Bible speaks of God's plan of redemption, which goes beyond the benefits that religions and philosophies and self-help literature can offer us, beyond merely helping us fix our bad habits, or cope with the sufferings and tragedies of life. Because God made us body and soul, and because both our body and soul were corrupted by the Fall, not only our soul but also our body has to be redeemed from sin and death. For death is not just the natural end of man's life: it is also the wages of sin (Rom. 6:23). That is why the Son of God had to come in the flesh and die, bearing the guilt and punishment of our sin. And having buried our sin in His death, He rose again from the dead in glory unto eternal life.

 

Unlike other religions, Christianity does not just promise eternal life or heaven and make us wait until after we die to find out. Jesus' death and resurrection is a historical evidence that death has been indeed conquered and we shall be redeemed both body and soul on the appointed day! Death will be swallowed up by immortality. This body of weakness will be raised with a body imperishable. Our sufferings in this world, no matter how great, cannot be compared to the magnitude of glory that awaits us. And our labor, even our smallest act of kindness in Jesus' name, will not be in vain. So, having encountered the risen Christ, this doubting Thomas went all the way to India to proclaim the gospel of the risen Christ and in doing so died a martyr's death. And Christianity has continued to exist and the Indian Christians have kept their faith in that land of Hinduism for the past two thousand years!

 

 

Do Not Disbelieve (John 20:19-31) Part 4 of 5

  • Written by James Lee
  • Published: 20 April 2017

Eight days after Thomas' disavowal, Jesus appears again to the disciples when Thomas is around. He gently chides Thomas for his unbelief by inviting Him to touch His wounds on His hands and side. And He says, "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

Jesus is not calling for a blind faith here. Blind faith is believing in something that is contrary to what is true or believing something without really knowing what it is one believes. This is not to say that faith is no different from knowledge. They are closely related but they are not the same. A valid faith is based on knowledge, not just on feelings or hopes. But faith by nature is outside the domain of knowledge. It is one thing to know our parents; it is another to actually trust our parents. Satan knows God, quite possibly better than any of us. But he doesn’t trust God. It is one thing to gain knowledge through scientific endeavors. But it is another to think that science is the only method of obtaining knowledge. That is called scientism, a belief system. And it is one thing to say that it's difficult to believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ; it is another to say that we know Jesus didn't rise again from the dead.  

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