Tag Archives: justification

The Source of Salvation: Life or Death?


For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
(Romans 5:10)

And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  (1 John 5:11)


*Disclaimer: God is ok with asking questions in the pursuit of Truth – in fact, it’s sometimes necessary.  If you aren’t bold enough to change your beliefs as new Truth is revealed, you may as well quit reading now. 

Here’s a question worth considering:  “What is the source of salvation?”  If 100 Christians were asked this, I would guess about 98 of them would answer something like: “the death of Christ,” “the cross of Christ,” or “the blood of Christ.”  It’s scary, but these are wrong answers.  To be ignorant of God’s plan for the church, which He laid through His son, is to walk blindly, in darkness.  According to Jesus himself, to walk blindly in darkness (or to follow those who do) is to end up in a pit,1 making it impossible to truly follow him and to please God. 

Generally speaking, Christianity has mistaken justification for salvation.  In scripture, justification means basically to be forgiven and declared righteous, through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.  Therefore, the source of justification is the death of Christ.2  Justification is very important, but it’s just the beginning.  If the life of a follower of Jesus were a race, many christians would see salvation as the finish line.  Others might see it as the road they run on.  But in the mind of God, what christianity has mislabeled salvation is nothing more than enrolling in the race and lacing up your shoes.  The focus of believers desperately needs to move past the starting line of Christ’s death, to the actual event: the resurrection LIFE of Christ.3  If you’ve considered the benefits of Jesus’ death but never his life, you haven’t even consciously started the process of being saved.

Let me clearly say, I don’t know everything about true salvation – it’s a deep subject with many facets.  I do know a few things, though.  First of all, salvation is a process, not something you “get.”  Someone “getting saved” in a moment or day is impossible,3 and honestly I’m sick of hearing that phrase.  Scripture clearly states the source of salvation is the life of Christ.4 How can Jesus’ life produce salvation?  What does that even mean?  Again, I don’t claim to know it all, but I feel comfortable saying this: salvation has to do with the process of the actual life and vitality of Jesus – the same mind, energy and vitality that was in him – growing within us and becoming our mind, energy and vitality.  Not one believer in all of history became full of the life of Christ (was truly saved) at the moment he or she “prayed the sinners prayer,” “gave their heart to Christ,” “got saved,” “repented of their sins,” or any of the rest of the lingo.  In genuine cases, what happened is the life of Christ, the seed of salvation, was planted within.  True salvation has to do with that life growing and becoming our life, as our old, natural life diminishes. Please read the scriptures and commentary in the footnotes.  Would you rather celebrate Jesus’ death, or experience his life?  Simply repent (change your mind) and ask the Father to give you and those you love grace to see and experience the fullness of Christ in you.  It will require your death, but in exchange you get his life!  I will do the same.


  1. Matthew 15:14, Luke 6:39.
  2. This is because Christ is, in effect, a second, spiritual and final “Adam.”  In terms of God’s dealings with man, in Christ all of the old fallen race descended from Adam ended, and a new race of spiritual people began, with Jesus being the firstborn of many to come.  See: 2 Corinthians 5:14, 1 Corinthians 15:22, 45-47.
  3. Philippians 2:12, Matt. 24:13, Mark 13:13, Acts 2:47, 2 Corinth. 2:15.
  4. Romans 5:10,17,21, 6:4, Luke 9:24, 2 Corinthians 4:11, 2 Tim. 1:10.
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Posted by on May 17, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Jesus’ Advice to Laodicea

(Revelation 3:18-19)  “I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich, and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see.  (19)  ‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; be zealous therefore, and repent.

(1 John 2:27):  “And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.

 It’s critical to keep in mind that Laodicea, who Jesus speaks to, is a “church,” a congregation of believers in Jesus Christ.  As I discussed last time, Laodicea means “righteous people,” referring to their self-perceived righteousness.  These “christians” believe in their heart they are “rich” by believing in Christ, have “abundance” by their good works, and have “need of nothing” because they are saved and on their way to heaven.  However, Jesus exposes their true condition as deplorable, pitiful, and bankrupt.  Keep in the forefront of your mind that Jesus is speaking of their spiritual condition.  It’s a grave and common mistake, especially with Jesus’ words, to read scripture in a “natural” sense all the time.  He said he spoke in parables and his words were “spirit” and “life.” He also reminds Laodicea that his harsh rebuke and discipline is a sign of love, and he encourages them to zealously repent, which literally means to zealously reconsider their belief systems and to begin to perceive on a deeper level. 

Jesus first counsel is to get “gold refined by fire.”  This refers to gold that has undergone intense fire, which melts the gold and allows the impurities within it to be seen and removed.  Once Laodicea has this refined gold, Jesus says they will truly be “rich.”  The gold Jesus speaks of is simply that which is precious and leads to increasing wealth in the kingdom of God.  In scripture, gold is compared with wisdom, but wisdom is said to be far superior and God alone knows where it is hidden.  Wisdom and understanding are the “gold” of God’s kingdom

When you are taught by Jesus Himself, through the Holy Spirit (see 1 John 2:27 above), you can access this gold (wisdom) and become rich in the sight of God.  God doesn’t regard much of what men do, including religious men.  The gold Jesus counsels Laodicea to buy is imperishable and has been purified not with physical fire, but with the fire of God’s judgment which consumes and separates every spiritual impurity.  If this comes to our life, it can be painful and a cause for “fear and trembling,” but it’s also a cause for great rejoicing, because it means God receives us as His children. (Hebrews 12): “For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.”  …But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.”  And as Jesus reminded Laodicea: “those whom I love, I reprove and discipline…” 

When we undergo this fire, that which is not from God is consumed or separated from the truly precious “gold” of all which was from Him.  I believe this primarily takes place within our heart, which is the core of our thoughts and beliefs.  In 1 Timothy 1:5, Paul says the goal of his teaching is “love from a pure heart…”  What “pure heart” means is one’s core of thought and belief (mind) which is untainted by the traditions, teachings, religious ideas of men and is therefore “purely” of God.  It isn’t having no desire for sinful things – that would be better called a “clean” heart.  I believe many well-established religious ways of thinking and their resulting “good” works will be burned up in this fire, because they were not based on God’s mind, but the minds of men.  We can only access God’s mind by Spirit-to-spirit revelation of truth and wisdom.

The second thing Jesus says to buy is “white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed…”  The purpose of a garment is to be a covering.  What needs covered?  The natural realm mirrors the spiritual realm.  In the natural, the shamefulness of our naked flesh is covered by our clothing.  In the spiritual, the shame of our “flesh” is also covered by spiritual “garments.”  Flesh in this case speaks of the focus on and obedience of SELF.  When self is the focus and is served, self is god and king.  Self/flesh is permanently opposed to God and must be crucified.  (Romans 8): 6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,  7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so…  13 … for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die…”  (Galatians 5)17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh…”  24 Now those who are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” 

I believe the “white garments” here represent the righteousness and purity of Jesus Christ Himself.  Jesus became radiantly white when he was transfigured.  Angels who appeared to men were brilliantly white.  The “overcomers” (of self) in Revelation 3:4-5 are said to be clothed in white.  Once the pride of self in its good or its knowledge (see: the Pharisees) is humbled and the flesh is crucified, then one can receive the white garment of Jesus Christ himself.  God recognizes nothing else, as everything good that is of man is, according to scripture “wood, hay and stubble,” “filthy rags,” and worthless. 

Finally, Jesus counsels Laodicea to buy “eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see.”  Our natural eyes give us sight and perception of the physical realm.  We also have “eyes,” or faculties of perception, into the invisible realms of soul and spirit.  Paul spoke of the “eyes of your heart” in Ephesians 1:18, which he prayed would be “enlightened” by the Spirit of God.  In  Matthew 6:22-23, Jesus spoke of the singular “eye” (referring to one’s perception of the spiritual realm) which gives light within, which can be “clear” or “bad.”  Jesus says this “eye” should be “single” (KJV).  The word “single” is the Greek word haplous.  It literally means “without folds or braids,” in the sense of whole, single, uncomplicated, simple.  I think Jesus is saying that one’s spiritual eyesight/perception needs to be without any mixture of darkness caused by the traditions and teachings of selfish, fearful men, which causes confusion.  Jesus then warns that if the “light” (truth and understanding) we claim to have is actually darkness (error and confusion), then this is the most extreme darkness there is.  This is why saying one has “need of nothing” is so dangerous.

The “eye salve” Jesus counsels them to buy and to “anoint” their eyes with is the Greek word kollourion.  It actually comes from a base word meaning “glue,” and refers to a thick glue-like paste that would be applied to eyes to soothe them.  “Anoint” is the word egchrio, has some interesting possible meanings, but likely just means to “rub in” with the idea of “receiving.”  Priests were “anointed” with oil as a symbol of their intended function before God.  I think a literal translation of Jesus admonition here is to buy “eye-glue to rub in your eyes, that you may see.”  The idea is our natural, carnal eyes (human perception, often based on fear, tradition or confusion) being covered or glued shut, with the presence of the Holy Spirit covering them.  Again, 1 John 2:27, which I quoted at the beginning, says: “you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie…”  To perceive spiritually based on the “sight” of this anointing, which John spoke of, requires first that “eye-salve” be applied to glue shut or negate one’s natural, carnal perceptions.  If this is not done, then the carnal, religious perception will remain the “light” within, which Jesus calls the most extreme darkness.  God forbid.

So, Jesus says to Laodicea, the self-righteous and spiritually satisfied and complacent, that if they want to have anything of spiritual value, they need three things:  1). Wisdom which is set on fire and requires a process of burning and separating impurities, 2). the righteousness of Christ himself which requires true humility and self-abasement, and 3). spiritual perception which requires the “gluing shut” of one’s carnal eyes.  My counsel for us all is to take Christ’s counsel earnestly, and to desperately cry out for wisdom, true righteousness, and clear sight.  Let us be still before God to learn of and be equipped by Him.  God bless you.

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Posted by on March 13, 2013 in Uncategorized


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What is Faith?

Scripture declares that there is no  righteousness (right relationship) or justification (“legal” innocence) before God apart from faith, as shown in the scriptures below.  If this is the case, then we better understand what faith is.  In my last post, I wrote that faith is a “divine persuasion” or “spiritual sight.”  I think the concept deserves a fuller examination.  (Note: As I’ve written this post, I’ve realized it was arrogant of me to assume I could completely explain this divine concept in ~900 words.  Maybe there will be a part 2 sometime).

  • (Galatians 2:16): “…nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of Law but through the faith of Christ Jesus…”

The Greek word for “faith” is pistis, which basically means “a persuasion.”  This thing we call faith is, in scripture, a spiritual substance, a gift that only comes from God Himself:

  • (1 Corinthians 12: 7,9):  But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the spirit…to another faith by the same spirit…” 
  • (Galatians 5:22) “And the fruit of the Spirit is: Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith…”
  • (Ephesians 2:8) “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God…”
  • (Romans 12:3) “…think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”

When scripture says we are to have faith “in” Jesus Christ, as it does in several places, the literal translation is often “the faith of” Jesus Christ or God the Father.  This shows faith is not something that one owns and can use as they wish.  Faith “of” something indicates this faith originates with the object of faith and is a part of that person or thing – in this case, God.  Scripture confirms this.

In my opinion, two of the most enlightening Biblical scriptures that deal with what faith actually is are Hebrews 11:1 and Romans 10:17.

  • (Hebrews 11:1) “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”  Here’s this verse in the “Amplified” version: (Hebrews 11:1) “Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].
  • (Romans 10:17) “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”

Faith comes, Romans 10:17 says, when a person HEARS (not reads) the “Word of Christ,” or in other translations, the “Word of God.”  This “word” isn’t the Bible, it’s God’s spiritual voice, His divine expression.  When this expression is truly heard, faith is born.

In Hebrews 11:1, the word for “substance” of things hoped for is hupostasis.  “Hupo” means “under,” and “stasis” means “to stand.”  It refers to a foundation, that which “stands under” and supports something.  In Hebrews 11:1, faith is the foundation that supports and guarantees that which we hope for, as well as the conviction of the reality of things we can’t sense by our human faculties.  A more thorough look at this concept can be found at

Combining these two verses with what we know, one could say: “Faith is a seeing and conviction of things which can’t be perceived with human senses.  Faith is the underlying foundation and assurance of things hoped for.  It is given by God and comes from hearing God’s voice.  This means faith is essentially a spiritual dynamic, because the spirit of man is the part beneath the human senses and mind, and faith is a spiritual gift from God, who is Himself a spirit and can only be known in spirit (John 4:24) “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”  (John 17:17): “Sanctify them through the truth; your (Father) word is truth.”

This is partly why I’ve said faith is “spiritual sight.”  It’s a God-given gift, placed deep in one’s spirit, an assurance of things we hope for (which are real) and conviction of the reality of things that we don’t perceive with our human senses.  It is deep within us, beneath the soulish realm of our feelings and human senses and logic.  It resides within our spirit.  This is why we can believe and be assured of something that we can’t really understand or explain logically.  By faith, we “see” them spiritually.

This is how, as Paul said, we can “…walk by faith, not by sight.” To do this is to base one’s life and behavior by the spiritual perception and assurance God has given by His word to us, not by the “sight” of our natural human faculties such as our mind.  So we must hear God’s voice – that’s the key to just about everything in the life of a disciple, just as it was in Jesus’ life (John 5:9, 12:49-50).  Please remember, faith comes not by reading, but by HEARING.

  • (John 18:37) Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” 
  • (John 10:27) My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me…”
  • (John 6:63 NKJV)  “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”

One last scripture I want to look at is Romans 14:23, which declares “…whatever is not from faith is sin.”  If faith is a God-given gift of assurance, conviction, divine persuasion or spiritual sight of spiritual reality which we can’t perceive naturally, then to do something contrary to or apart from this God-given divine persuasion and perception of spiritual reality, is sin.  To sin is to “miss the mark.”  The “mark” we are aiming for is establishing God’s kingdom on earth – knowing and doing His will.  So even things that seem “good,” if not done from faith (spiritual perception and sight), are sin, because God is no part of them.

May God bless you.  I hope this will help you to walk by faith and follow in Jesus’ footsteps in knowing the Father and establishing His Kingdom.

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Posted by on February 26, 2013 in Uncategorized


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