- Dennis Klassen
Salvation Initiated by the Father
The most amazing thing that can ever happen to a person is their salvation. Not a salvation that is external; only being rescued from a near death experience, but a greater, internal salvation; the salvation of our souls. The external salvation is accomplished by one person saving another person from a life threatening experience. The internal salvation can only be accomplished by God rescuing a person from death and sin. This salvation leads to eternal life.
“Salvation is from our side a choice; from the divine side, it is a seizing upon, an apprehending, a conquest by THE MOST HIGH GOD. Our accepting and willing are reactions rather than actions” – A.W. Tozer
God Initiates Salvation
God takes hold of our heart, turning it from a heart of stone to a heart of flesh (Ezk. 11:19-20). If God did not initiate salvation, it would be man-centered, not God-centered. He gave us a way to escape eternal death. It wasn’t something we did, it was something God did for all mankind without the help of mankind.
John 3:16 is a perfect example of this, “God so loved the world that He gave His Son.” It wasn’t something we asked God to do; it was a gift, plain and simple. When someone gives you a gift, you don’t decide what you get or when you get it. The person giving the gift makes that decision for you. This gift is only ours after we receive it.
Our belief in Jesus Christ is a reaction to what God has done in our hearts. True saving faith is a supernatural, gracious gift of God which He produces in the heart (Eph. 2:8). “For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” (Romans 10:10). Salvation starts in the heart, and this beginning work can only be accomplished by God. We need to realize that we cannot believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection unless God makes it able for us to believe.
By God’s grace we are saved from our spiritual darkness. As children of darkness, we want nothing to do with the light, and it is our instinct to avoid the light because it reveals our sin. “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the World, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed” (John 3:19-20). Because of God, we are made able to come to the light.
We are dead in our trespasses and sins, and we are by nature children of wrath (Eph. 2:1-3). As a dead person and a child of wrath, our choice in salvation can only be a reaction to Gods initiation.
“Salvation belongs to the Lord” (Psalm 3:8). God must do all the work in salvation, seeing how we are dead living in darkness. Our actions are full of sin and evil, and it is only by God’s work through the Spirit that gives life, the flesh is no help at all (John 6:63). This means we can only be saved by God’s sovereign, irresistible grace.
God Completes Salvation
God not only initiates salvation, He also completes it. God is the founder and perfecter of our faith (Heb. 12:2). When God saves us, His Spirit dwells in us and we are no longer in the flesh but in the Spirit (Rom 8:9). The Holy Spirit continually exposes our sin leading us to repentance. He secures our salvation when we repent and believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is our guarantee of our future inheritance in glory (Eph. 1:13). He seals us and shows that we are God’s. We have been bought with a price and nothing can separate us from the love of God (Rom. 8:37-39). The main reason of being sealed with the Holy Spirit by God is to identify those who will one day be resurrected, possessing a glorified body for eternal life.
God began our salvation and one day will bring it to completion (Phil. 1:6). It’s comforting to know that we have an inheritance from God and one day will be glorified with Jesus. God works our salvation so that He alone gets the glory. If God is great enough to save us, He is great enough to keep us.