REVIEWING GOD’S CHOICE FOR SALVATION
2 THESSALONIANS 2:13-15
As we get started today, we begin with the Biblical truth of God’s choice (election and predestination) which is not so much a statement of theology or philosophy—it is more a message that speaks to the spiritual experience of the believer. I would ask that you review part 160 of our previous study.
In this message, we are going to be examining how salvation takes place. Both God’s part and man’s part.
NOTE: God has chosen believers “through sanctification of the Spirit (2 Thessalonians 2:13). The word “sanctification” means to set apart or be separated unto God.
We must always remember this fact (too many forget it and thereby become inconsistent in their theology and teaching of the Word) (The Preachers Outline and Sermon Bible – I and II Thessalonians, page 101).
NOTE: A man is a dead spirit; therefore, he can do nothing spiritually just as a dead body can do nothing physically.
FACT: The natural (unsaved) man prefers self and sin; therefore, if a man with a dead spirit is to come to Christ, he has to be acted upon and drawn by God. Both God’s Spirit and man have a part in salvation.
The part of God’s Spirit is to move upon the heart of a man and stir him to set apart his life unto God. How does the Spirit of God do this?
a. The Holy Spirit quickens the gospel to a man’s mind so that he SEES IT AS NEVER BEFORE. He sees, understands, grasps as never before that “the Father…hath sent” Christ to feed and nourish man (to save and to give him life).
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again (born from above), he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
“For as the Father raiseth up the dead [spiritually dead], and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will” (John 5:21).
“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).
“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Romans 8:11; Ephesians 1:11-13).
“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved)” (Ephesians 2:4-5).
“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the SPIRIT OF YOUR MIND” (Ephesians 4:22-23).
“…put on the new man, which is renewed in KNOWLEDGE after the image of him that created him” (Colossians 3:10).
“So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army” (Ezekiel 37:10).
b. The Holy Spirit convicts a man of sin, of righteousness and of judgment, that is, of his need to be fed and nourished (saved and given life).
“And when he [the Holy Spirit} is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8).
c. The Holy Spirit attracts men to the cross of Christ through its glorious provisions.
Note 4 things in John 6:44:
(1)“No man can come to me, (2) except the Father which hath sent me (3) draw him: and I (4) will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44).
“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth (cross), will draw all men unto me, This he said, Signifying what death he should die” (John 12:32-33).
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the POWER OF GOD” (I Corinthians 1:18; John 3:16; Romans 10:9-13).
“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6:14).
“…that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby” (Ephesians 2:16).
“Having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven” (Colossians 1:20).
d. The Holy Spirit stirs a man to respond by coming to Christ.
“Come to me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink” (John 7:37).
“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).
“And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when he turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left” (Isaiah 30:21).
“Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money, for that which is not bread? And your labor for that which satisfiedth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you…” (Isaiah 55:1-3).
God has chosen believers through “belief of the truth,” that is, through believing the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
NOTE: several things:
(1) The Lord Jesus Christ has died for believers…
(2) has taken their sins upon Himself;
(3) has suffered the penalty, judgment, condemnation, and punishment of their sins; and
(4) He has sacrificed and substituted His life for them. Jesus Christ has risen from the dead for believers, conquered death and ascended into heaven for them.
The true believers of the world believe the gospel with ALL their hearts (John 3:16). They will never have to die because Jesus Christ died for them. They shall ascend into heaven to live eternally with the Father and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as well as the Holy Spirit. They believe and have entrusted their lives to this glorious truth.
THE POINT IS THIS: When a person (John 3:16) truly believes the truth of the gospel, God saves him. This is man’s part in salvation. No person has ever been saved who did not believe the truth of the gospel. And no person who has rejected the Gospel is lost because God had not chosen him. The person is lost because he rejected Christ.
God will choose any person who will accept Christ. This is His Word; it is the promise of His Word. God will not force us to believe nor will He keep us from believing. The choice is every person’s choice. No person is forced to receive or to reject Christ. Every person is responsible for his own decision.
“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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:16-18).
NOTE: FIVE THINGS FROM John 5:24
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, (1) He that heareth my word, and (2) believeth on him that sent me, (3) hath everlasting life, and (4) shall not come into condemnation; (5) but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).
“Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent” (John 6:28-29).
“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25).
“I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness” (John 12:46).
“But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:31).
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).
“And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment” (I John 3:23).
Now notice 2 Thessalonians 2:14, key words – Salvation, Glory. Note: The purpose of salvation is to bring glory and pleasure to God (Isaiah 43:7; Revelation 4:11, KJV). Remember, the Thessalonian believers were suffering severe persecution. Ponder what these verses meant to them. They were bound for Glory. Think about it—they were, and all Christians then and now, created to share in the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The word “glory” (doxes) means to possess perfect light and to be full of perfect light; to dwell in the perfect light, brilliance, splendor, brightness, luster and magnificence of God.
Let’s dive a little deeper and consider that Jesus prayed for future believers (John 17:20-26). He prayed for all those who would believe on Him from that moment to the end of the world. What He prayed is very precious to believers, but it is also an indictment against believers of every generation (John 17:23).
Request 1: Jesus prayed that the unsaved might be saved and believers may be one (John 17:21-22)
a. The standard: as God and Christ are one (v. 21)
b. The purpose: that the world may believe (v. 21)
c. The source: God’s glory (v. 22)
Request 2: That believers be perfected in unity (John 17:23)
a. Source: Jesus within (v. 23)
b. Reason: to convince the world (23)
1. That God sent Christ (v. 23)
2. That God loves believers (v. 23)
Request 3: That believers may be with Him in glory
a. The reason: to behold His glory (v. 24)
b. The assurance: God’s love (v. 24)
Conclusion: A Testimony (John 17:24-26)
a. Of the world: has not known God (v. 24)
b. Of Jesus: knew God (v, 24)
c. Of believer’s: have known that God sent Jesus (v. 25)
d. Jesus’ faithfulness:
1. He declared God
2. His purpose: that men might know God’s love (v. 26)
NOTE: From time to time read the prayer again and stack your life against the desire of Christ in His prayer. (Now back to 2 Thessalonians 2:14.)
- The believer shall be glorified with Christ as an heir of God. Also, remember that all Christians are to bring pleasure to God through their faith and obedience to God (Isaiah 43:7 and Revelation 4:11, KJV).
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, THAT WE ARE THE CHILDREN OF GOD: and if children, then HEIRS; heirs of God, and JOINT-HEIRS WITH CHRIST; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:16-17).
- The believer shall be glorified by being given a body just like the body of Christ.
“Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Philippians 3:21).
- The believer shall be glorified with Christ by appearing in the glory of heaven.
“When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:4).
- The believer shall be GLORIFIED with Christ by receiving a nature of glory, a glorious nature just like the nature of Christ.
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).
- The believer shall be glorified with Christ by receiving an eternal weight of glory.
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
- The believer shall be glorified with Christ by receiving a salvation that involves eternal glory.
“‘Therefore, I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:10).
- The believer shall be glorified with Christ by becoming a partaker of all the glory that shall be revealed.
“The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the suffering of Christ, and also a partake of the glory that shall be revealed” (I Peter 5:1).
- The believer shall be glorified with Christ by receiving the light of the glory of God, and they shall reign with Him forever and ever.
“And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 22:5).
Now as we finish today, notice 2 Thessalonians 2:15 and the key word “salvation.” The duty of salvation is to stand fast and cling to the Word of God. In our next study we will dig also into the word “traditions” (paradoseis) and its meanings. However, please read John 3:16 and Romans 10:9-13 and think about your salvation. Do you truly know Christ as Lord and Savior?
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