What happens the moment you accept the Son of God, Jesus Christ, as your Savior and Master? Many people believe that you have received eternal life in that instant. But the truth is that the path to eternal life is a lifelong journey, and eternal life is only part of the bundle of blessings that come with salvation for a faithful Christian. Here, let’s explore the various stages of salvation and its eternal blessings and privileges.
Stage 1: Justification
Pretend that today you have accepted Christ as your Savior and Lord by acknowledging your sins, confessing and seeking God’s forgiveness, and willingly submitting to God’s will and commandments to rule the rest of your life. The moment you repent by turning to Christ, you have been justified by your faith.
Justification by faith is receiving the declaration of righteousness. God declares you righteous, with all your past sins forgiven, when you put faith in His Son. Your plate of sins has been cleansed. As a result, you have become a new creation with a new beginning: “Old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV)
Stage 2: Reconciliation
Justification brings reconciliation. Before accepting Jesus Christ into his heart and life, he had been an enemy of God due to his sinful lifestyle (Colossians 1:21; Romans 5:10). But once you are justified by faith, you have been reconciled to God, where the wall of enmity between you and God has been broken down.
Because you have been justified and reconciled, you are now blessed with peace with God. “Peace with God” is an essential and fundamental element of communion with God. You cannot have a relationship with God without peace. Such peace is also the peace that helps you remain peaceful during the difficulties of life. This peace is given by God, not developed by yourself. Only when you are justified and reconciled will you possess such peace.
Stage 3: Adoption
As one who has been justified and reconciled, you have now been adopted as a child of God. It is from this moment that you can call God “Abba” (“Father”) (Romans 8:15). Thus, while God is the Creator of every person, He is the Father only of those who have accepted His Son. Sonship comes only through Jesus Christ.
As an adopted child of God, you have become an heir of God and a joint heir with Jesus Christ. God’s heir will be glorified together with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17). Glorification is the final stage of salvation, which I will refer to later.
Stage 4: Sanctify
After adoption into God’s family, your new life has begun according to God’s will. In this stage of salvation, God will gradually and steadily shape you into the person He wants you to be. He will develop in you the fruit of the Holy Spirit, which are Christlike qualities that include love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). This is progressive sanctification, the process of setting yourself apart for God’s holy purpose and use by conforming to the spiritual image of Jesus (Romans 8:29; 1 Thessalonians 4:7).
The first three stages—justification, reconciliation, and adoption—are all works done exclusively by God. But the sanctification process is a team effort: you have to work with God to accomplish God’s will in your life. You have to cooperate by obeying His voice and allowing Him to direct your life.
How will God guide you and guide you to follow him? He will guide you through His Holy Spirit, which He has given you by accepting His Son for your salvation. The Holy Spirit will regenerate you, mature you spiritually, and sanctify you for good works (Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:10).
As the Holy Spirit leads you, you have the choice to obey or disobey him. God does not take away your free will. Therefore, it is up to you whether you will live according to the will of God as a true child of God, or whether you will rebel against Him.
Listen to what Jesus said: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day: ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, cast out demons in your name, and perform many miracles in your name?’ Then I’ll tell them, “I never met you. Depart from me, you workers of iniquity.” (Matthew 7:21-23)
Yes, the sanctification stage of salvation is a crucial stage! If you do not do God’s will and deliberately continue to sin after you have accepted Jesus Christ, then a “certain dreadful expectation of judgment” awaits you:
“For if we sin voluntarily after having received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and of the ferocity of the fire that will devour the adversaries. the law dies mercilessly by the word of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment do you think he deserves who tramples on the Son of God, and considers the blood of the covenant with which he has been sanctified to be impious, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? Because we know the one who said: Vengeance is mine, says the Lord, I will pay. Again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:26-31)
“For as for those who were once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and tasted of the good word of God and of the powers of the age to come, and then fell away, it is impossible to renew them from new to repentance, crucifying again to themselves the Son of God, and exposing him to shame, because the land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, gives an adequate harvest for those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives blessing of God; but if it produces thorns and thistles, it is cast off and next to be cursed, whose end is to be burned.” (Hebrews 6:4-8)
In fact, you have been justified by your faith. But understand that faith without works is dead: My brothers, what is the use if someone says that he has faith, and he has no works? Can faith save him? And if a brother or sister is naked and without daily sustenance, and one of you says to them: ‘Go in peace, be warm and be satisfied’; and yet you did not give them the things that the body needs, what is the use? So also faith, if it does not have works, is dead in itself. Yes, someone will say: ‘You have faith, and I have works’. Show me your faith without works, and I by my works will show you my faith.” (James 2:14-18)
Even the demons believe in God (James 2:19), but will they receive salvation? Not unless they repent and prove their faith is genuine by works.
Read what God’s Word says about faith and works working together for justification:
Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith worked together with his works, and by works faith was perfected; And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham God believed, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness”; and he was called the friend of God. You see, then, that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone. Likewise, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works, inasmuch as she received the messengers, and sent them another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. .” (James 2:21-26)
The sanctification will last all his life. Like a child who cannot physically mature overnight, you will gradually reach spiritual maturity as you live and learn God’s principles in the Bible. Every time you sin, you will have to confess your sin to God, who will forgive you (1 John 1:9).
Living according to God’s will, you will experience immeasurable joy in having fellowship with your Creator and His Son: “God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him and walk in darkness, we are lying.” and we do not speak the truth, but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:5-7)
“Where [in God’s salvation] you rejoice greatly, although now, for a little while, if need be, you have been embarrassed by various tests, so that the test of your faith, which is more precious than gold that perishes even though tested by fire, may be found to praise, glory and honor in the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom you love without having known each other; believing in whom, though now you do not see him, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and glorious” (1 Peter 1:6-8).
Stage 5: Glorification
When Jesus returns to Earth at his second coming, he will be revealed in all his glory (Luke 9:26). Upon his arrival, all Christians who have died will be resurrected to meet him in heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
Jesus “will change the body of our humiliation to be like the body of his glory.” (Philippians 3:21) Thus, by resurrecting as a Christian, you will be revealed in blood just like our Lord Jesus Christ (1 John 3:2). You will be raised incorruptible, because “this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality…then what is written will come to pass: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory'” (1 Corinthians 15:53, 54 ). )
This, my friend, will be the final stage of your salvation. You have been first justified, sanctified and now glorified. As a new glorified individual, you will never again experience or know pain, sickness, suffering, or death (Revelation 21:4). Instead, you will live in love, peace, and security in the presence of your Creator, Yahweh God Almighty, and His Son, Jesus Christ, your Savior, for all eternity (Revelation 21:3; Revelation 22:3-5).
Therefore, “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18)
Therefore, we must not fail in our current sufferings and difficulties; although we are declining outwardly, nevertheless, we renew ourselves spiritually from day to day, because “our momentary slight tribulation produces in us an ever greater weight of eternal glory; while we look not at things that are seen, but at things that are not seen .For things that are seen are temporary, but things that are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).
Let us all pray that when we die we can echo the words of the apostle Paul: “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. From now on, the crown is kept for me.” of justice that the Lord, a righteous judge, will give me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who love his coming.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8) In the name of Jesus Christ, amen!