"Is he still saved, I heard he left his wife for another woman?"
You've probably heard these questions asked and maybe asked similar questions yourself at some time. It's true that people often act in ways that make you question their salvation.
And what about you?
Have you ever committed some really serious sin that has caused you to wonder if you're going to make it into heaven? Have you backslidden from the Lord and can't seem to find your way back?
Or are you searching for the truth and don't know if Jesus Christ and Christianity is the way to go.
Well, I've got some good news for you, and it has nothing to do with your car insurance. (Maybe a little to do with your fire insurance)
Once you are born again your eternal destination is sealed! You're bound for Heaven and you're sure to get there!
Salvation comes in threes.
There are three levels to salvation, each affecting a different part of your being at a different time and in a different way.
The three levels of salvation are:
(1) The regeneration of the spirit
(2) The restoration of the soul
(3) The transfiguration of the body.
In strictly biblical terms we call them:
1st Corinthians 6:11 says, "And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."
Romans 8:30 says, "Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."
The Three-Phased Process of Salvation goes like this:
When you believe the Gospel, repent, confess and receive Jesus as your savior your spirit is regenerated and you become justified or just as if you had never sinned!
Here, your personal salvation experience begins!
As you submit to the Lordship of Christ and obey His commands in your thoughts, words and actions, your mind becomes renewed and restored to the principles of God's kingdom and you become more and more separated from the influences of Sin.
This is called sanctification, and your salvation experience continues!
As you learn to allow the nature of Christ within you to have dominion over your flesh, the holiness of His presence within you begins to manifest externally through a Godly radiance that is perceived rather than actually seen.
In other words, His Spirit within you glows with the glory of God and this spiritual light attracts others and exposes them to the character of Christ in you! "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven," Mt 5:16.
Here, the process of glorification begins!
It will escalate during The Rapture when God eliminates your tainted physical body and instantly recreates a brand new, totally sinless body, so that the inner glory of God, which was limited in it's outward expression by your tainted body can now be fully manifested through your new, perfect body that's sinless and literally made in heaven! This prepares you to enter Heaven with your new glorified body.
After entering heaven, you will experience the Judgment Seat of Christ and assigned your permanent status in the kingdom of God! (2 Co 5:10) You will have a specific level of Divine radiance emanating from your spirit through your transfigured body, which is consistent with your level of submission and obedience to God while on earth! (Dan. 12:3)
Here the process of glorification is complete.
And so is the experience of salvation as it pertains to this age!
At the close of the Great Tribulation period and just before the New Millennium begins, you will return to earth with Christ, justified, sanctified and glorified! (Jude 1:14; Re 19:14) At that time, a completely new phase of your salvation experience will begin!
Here is a summary of The 3 Levels of Salvation:
(1) The Salvation of the Spirit - This is known as Justification (separation from the penalty of sin, which is eternity in the Lake of Fire).
This is instantaneous and qualifies you for heaven by changing your nature from human to divine, from Adamic to Christlike. It is a permanent, miraculous work that God accomplishes through the regeneration of the human spirit or becoming Born Again!
"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you" Eze 36:26
(2) The Salvation of the Soul - This is known as Sanctification (separation from the seduction of sin).
This is progressive and qualifies you to govern the earth with Jesus during His thousand-year reign by changing your character to resemble His. Since the soul and the mind are synonymous you accomplish this by renewing your mind in the word of God daily and by being consistently obedient to the Holy Spirit.
This is what is meant by, "work out your salvation with fear and trembling." It's all about building Christian character day-by-day.
"Receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls." Jam 1:21
(3) The Salvation of the Body - This is known as Glorification (physical dominion over the effects of sin).
This is progressive and qualifies you to reign with Christ in paradise on the New Earth for all eternity. The process of Glorification begins the moment you're born again and continues every day you live in submission and obedience to God.
This gradual physical transformation is manifested in the ability to live above sickness and poverty in this present world. It will escalate during the translation of the body in the Rapture and will culminate after the Judgment Seat of Christ, ending in total victory over sin, sickness and death!
"Waiting for the time when we will take our place as sons, that is, the salvation of our bodies." Rom 8:23 (Bible in Basic English)
Here's a point to note: When a Christian falls into sin, no matter how grievous it is, it does not mean that he has lost his salvation.
You cannot lose your salvation!
All it means is that he still needs work done on his character (his soul). The salvation of his soul or mind is progressive; he's in the process of becoming sanctified, just as his body is in the process of becoming glorified.
His new nature (born again spirit) means that he is saved (permanently bound for Heaven), but his character (soul/mind) needs more work done concerning the separation from the seduction of sin.
Another point to note: Knowing that our salvation is permanent and cannot be lost does not give us liberty to sin. It gives us a greater reason to live holy and please God our Father as a response to His amazing love.
Not only this, but we also understand that even though born again Christians are not in danger of hell, every one of us will still be judged by a Just and Holy God at the Judgment Seat of Christ!
We will all answer for how we lived our lives on earth and give an account of how we managed the resources God gave us. If we've done well, great, but if not there's going to be a judgment that will NOT be a pleasant experience, at all.
Remember, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!" (Heb 10:31)
The Bible says, "Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matt 22:13)
"But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matt 8:12)
This, my friends has nothing to do with the unsaved, notice carefully it's the "children of the kingdom" that are cast into outer darkness, this is part of the judgment for disobedient Christians. So, if you think the doctrine of "Once saved, always saved" is a license to sin, think again!
Every person that has ever lived on planet earth will stand before Almighty God and be judged, in one way or another; you can take that to the bank!
By: Everest John Alexander
Everest John Alexander is a Minister/Author/Entrepreneur in public ministry for over 17 years, Pastoring for 4 years. He's married to his best friend, Loraine and together they have two children, Andrew and Jade. His first book is called, "Understanding The 3 Levels of Salvation: Spirit, Soul & Body". You can listen to his Voice Blog, read his Articles and download his free Ebooks at: www.Kingdomlearning.com