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Salvation Reflected in Communion

Sunday, 15 Apr 2012 Leave a comment

Part 5 of a series on the completeness of salvation.

Before discussing the other aspects of sozo, it is well worth pausing to further tie spiritual salvation to physical healing.

23For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. (I Corinthians 11:23-26)

In communion we remember the sacrifice of Christ. Communion consists of two distinct components for a reason. What was accomplished in Christ in His crucifixion and resurrection was not just our spiritual salvation. If it were, communion would consist only of the wine which represents the shed blood of Christ for our sins. But, communion also includes bread which represents the body of Christ that was broken for us. If it was broken for you, there must be some benefit derived from it to you. Therefore, our salvation must extend beyond simply a spiritual component to a physical component. But, what exactly is the benefit? By His stripes we were healed (I Peter 2:24). This was how His body was broken for you.

And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. (Matthew 14:14)

Because God loves you, He wants to provide for you today not just in eternity.  And, He has already provided for you.  The price for your healing has been paid.  The provision for your healing has been made through the placement of the Holy Spirit – the same Spirit that healed through Jesus as He walked the earth – in your heart.  It is available to you right now.  The power that healed all the sick in the ministry of Jesus, the power that raised Him from the dead, lives on the inside of you.  Christ in you, the hope of glory!

– Be loved and blessed to be love and a blessing

Salvation for Your Body, Part 2

Saturday, 14 Apr 2012 Leave a comment

Part 4 of a series on the completeness of salvation.

Problems with our body can be quite varied and include among other things: communicable diseases (sicknesses) like colds, the flu, and plagues; diseases such as cancer; and, deformities due to genetic defects. So, it is natural to examine the areas in which God’s heart for healing was demonstrated by Jesus. This will point us to the extent of the provision for healing in salvation.

And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole. (Mark 6:56)

This verse is not terribly specific about the nature of the “sick” that were healed, but the Greek words used in verses 55 and 56 mean “diseased or sick.” Presumably, this includes communicable type diseases. But, other examples in the Gospels (such as the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever) support the assumption that Jesus healed many people of sicknesses that were due to communicable disease. This is clearly a provision in the atonement.

And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way. (Mark 10:52)

Blind Bartimaeus was presumably not blind because he was sick at the time Jesus ministered to him. Perhaps he became blind in the past because of sickness, but surely his blindness was due to some type of physical damage or deformity whether due to sickness, genetics, or accident. No matter the cause, physical organs can be restored through the power of God’s healing provision for us in the atonement.

8And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother’s womb, who never had walked: 9The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, 10Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked. (Acts 14:8-10)

The impotent man at Lystra provides a very likely example of healing of a problem that is not due to sickness. Since he was an impotent cripple from his mother’s womb, it is likely this was a genetic type problem, a physical deformity rather than a sickness. No matter! He was healed without being touched even.

So, we have several examples indicating that healing is not limited to merely sickness and disease; it extends to all aspects of physical dysfunction. But, if there is any doubt, resurrection should cover just about all the bases…

But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole. (Luke 8:50)

Jesus had just been informed that the daughter of Jairus had died. He would soon visit her and raise her from the dead. Here He uses the word sozo to describe her resurrection and complete healing. Hallelujah! There are many complexities when dealing with the resurrection of a dead person and healing in general, but we see here that the basic provision or foundation exists.

– Be loved and blessed to be love and a blessing

Salvation for Your Body, Part 1

Friday, 13 Apr 2012 Leave a comment

Part 3 of a series on the completeness of salvation.

As we saw in the part 1 of this series, God wants to deliver us from this present evil world (Galatians 1:4). With the verses below, we will begin to see what this means.

28For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole29And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague… 34And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague. (Mark 5:28-29, 34)

After the woman with the issue of blood touched the hem of Jesus’ garment, she knew she was healed. The Greek word for “healed” in verse 29 is iaomai which is only used to describe physical healing. Therefore, when the woman was “made whole” at least a part of this was physical healing. The Greek word used for “be whole” and “made whole” in these verses is sozo! In the time of Jesus and the early church, “being saved” meant more than just right standing with God (salvation for your spirit). It meant salvation for your body.

Behold the provision! This flows from God’s love for us. God not only wants to spend eternity with you, He wants to provide for you in this life. This was dramatically illustrated time and time again in the life of Jesus. He was the perfect representation of God the Father (Hebrews 1:3), and in response to a person’s faith He routinely intervened in the lives of those who needed physical healing. He had compassion on all of the sick (Matthew 14:14), and He only did what He saw the Father doing (John 5:19). Jesus loved the sick because God loves the sick. Jesus healed the sick because God healed the sick. This is God’s heart, love, and provision for you even today – to be whole in your body.

9If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; … 12Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:9, 12)

It is clear enough from other passages of scripture that Peter is referring to spiritual salvation in verse 12 when he says that we can be saved (sozo!) only by the name of Jesus. But, this is only 3 verses after the word sozo was clearly used to describe the physical healing of the impotent man at the Beautiful gate to the Temple. So, we have a close juxtaposition of usages of sozo to illustrate physical healing and spiritual salvation. In the minds of the apostles, to “be saved” meant to be made whole in your spirit and in your body.

Now, Peter was not the first to illustrate the connection between God’s provision for sin and sickness as we saw in Acts 4. Jesus demonstrated this when He ministered to the man let down on a bed through the roof of the house Jesus was ministering in. The man was healed because his sins had been forgiven. Physical healing flows from the provision for our spiritual healing – salvation. We may have forgotten it, but this was even clearly taught by David in Psalm 103:3 where he says that God forgives all our sins and heals all our diseases.

Again, before leaving this topic we should verify that the truth of physical healing being part of the atonement with scriptures independent of sozo. Aside from Psalm 103:3 cited above, we can point to Isaiah 53:4-5 again. In those scriptures, Isaiah says that Christ bore our sicknesses, carried our pains, and by His stripes we are healed. Check a Strong’s Concordance if you doubt that “griefs” means “sicknesses” and “sorrows” means “pains.” Or, why trust Mr. Strong? Matthew 8:16-17 clearly demonstrates that Isaiah is referring to physical healing.

16When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: 17That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses. (Matthew 8:16-17)

And, to finalize the point, consider the words of the Apostle Peter.

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. (I Peter 2:24)

The Greek word used for “healed” is the word iaomai again. By His stripes we were physically healed.

– Be loved and blessed to be love and a blessing

Salvation for Your Spirit

Thursday, 12 Apr 2012 Leave a comment

Part 2 of a series on the completeness of salvation.

Your salvation begins with God’s love.

16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)

This scripture, the most well known in the world, is clearly talking about your spiritual salvation. The concept of condemnation is mentioned – this relates to judgment and right-standing with God. The word “saved” in verse 17 is the word sozo. Verse 16 clearly states that salvation has been provided for you because God loves you. This is speaking about a restored relationship with God, about eternal life, about things related to the spirit part of your being. God is a spirit, and so your spirit is the part of your being God relates to (John 4:24). When you are saved by grace through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9, where sozo is translated “saved” in verse 8), it is your spirit that is being spoken of. So, the word sozo, “to save,” includes a spiritual component. And, this salvation is rooted in God’s love for you.

We can see this further using other scriptures containing the word sozo.

4But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (Titus 3:4-5)

God loves you and has shown you kindness and mercy, not because of what you have done (“works of righteousness”), but because He is love (I John 4:16). Again, the word “saved” comes from the Greek word sozo. The concepts of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit are clearly speaking of our spiritual salvation as Christians.

9That 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… 13For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:9, 13)

Again, we see sozo being associated with our spiritual salvation. Along with Titus 3:4-5 above, we begin to see how salvation occurs in our spirit. We cannot earn our salvation; our salvation comes through belief and trust in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. God made it simple: through Jesus He paid the price for all of your sins (I John 2:2) and all you have to do is accept His payment. This is love for His children.

8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (Romans 5:8-10)

In Romans 5:8-9, we clearly see God’s love toward us in providing for our spiritual salvation as indicated by the word “justified” which again relates to right-standing with God. But, in verse 10, we see that after reconciliation (the spiritual component of salvation) there is “much more” to salvation. What could this mean? By examining the other usages of sozo and its related words, we will discover the other aspects of our salvation. This verse provides the impetus for us to search for greater and deeper meaning for the word sozo.

In 52 of the 74 situations in which the word sozo is used, the context is clearly spiritual salvation. This is the dominant and first meaning of the word. But, since languages do not have words with identical meanings, it is possible for a Greek word to have greater depth and broader meaning than a single word has in English. This is the case with sozo. As we study the other contexts in which sozo is used, we will see its broader meaning in the Greek language than simply “to save” spiritually. We will see what Jesus and the authors of the New Testament meant when salvation came to a person. It means perhaps much more than what you may currently believe.

Before continuing, we should identify other scriptures that establish the truth of sozo including salvation for our spirit. While this may be an obvious truth, we should establish a pattern of using other scriptures to independently verify the various aspects of our salvation illustrated by the word sozo.

4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:4-5)

These verses are well accepted as speaking of Christ. He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities – these are our sins against God and therefore these verses describe the spiritual component of our salvation.

And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. (Galatians 4:6)

When salvation occurs, the Holy Spirit comes to live in your heart. Again, we are not focused on the teaching of spirit, soul, and body, but this scripture and several others describe our spiritual salvation. They independently confirm the spiritual component of sozo.

– Be loved and blessed to be love and a blessing

God’s Complete Love in Salvation

Wednesday, 11 Apr 2012 Leave a comment

Today we begin a series on the completeness of salvation.

Through the Apostle Paul the Holy Spirit gave us the best description of the nature of a human being.

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Thessalonians 5:23)

The teaching of spirit, soul, and body is not our focus here, but other scriptures such as Hebrews 4:12 also illuminate this truth. What I want to begin to communicate to you today is the extent of God’s love for you in salvation. I want you to see God’s complete love for your entire being in salvation through the study of a single Greek word family. This truth should not surprise us since Galatians 1:4 says it is God’s will to deliver us from this present evil world. Salvation is not only for eternity; it begins the day you are saved. And if it is going to affect you in any meaningful way in the present, it certainly must affect your soul and your body and not just your spirit!

Sozo

The Greek word sozo means “to save.” It belongs to a family of words from which three words focus on salvation: the verb sozo meaning “to save”, the noun soteria meaning “salvation”, and the verb diasozo meaning “to save thoroughly.” The verb sozo itself occurs about 113 times in the New Testament in about 74 situations or contexts. It will be the word we primarily focus on in this study. The noun soteria occurs about 45 times and is most often used in the context of the spiritual aspect of our salvation. The strengthened verb diasozo occurs about 8 times and is used only to describe healing and physical safety.

– Be loved and blessed to be love and a blessing

Seeing Christ in Your Heart

Tuesday, 10 Apr 2012 Leave a comment

The final part of a series on the resurrection appearances of Christ.

Summary

A study of the resurrection appearances of Christ provides great insight to the nature of our future resurrection bodies. But, more importantly, it provides another layer of teaching or understanding about how we are to recognize Christ. Merely seeking for Christ through physical (carnal, intellectual) means will not impact your life.

Consistently, those to whom Jesus appeared had to see Him with their heart (in the spirit, by faith) before they recognized Him, and even after knowing it was Him, they still could not recognize Him in the physical realm. The only way to continue recognizing Him was spiritually, by faith. The initial spiritual recognition usually occurred through experiencing or re-experiencing a personal, intimate experience with Jesus. You must operate beyond the physical realm into the spiritual realm by faith in order to recognize the resurrected Christ because His resurrection body was spiritual (I Corinthians 15:44) and flesh cannot readily comprehend things that are of a spiritual nature (I Corinthians 2:14, John 3:6).

The experiences of those who saw he resurrected Christ provide a lesson for us today. We must not seek to find God through merely natural means. While examining the physical circumstances of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ and the lives of the apostles after the Ascension is helpful and may answer some questions, it will not of itself lead to salvation. Even if we perceive some truth, it will be clouded with doubt. Christ must be recognized and accepted by faith. No physical truth or event will produce that faith. Faith comes by hearing the Word because the Word is spirit and life. Only an experience with God in our heart, where our spirit and soul intersect, will bring us to a true recognition of the resurrected Christ.

– Be loved and blessed to be love and a blessing

The Last 5 Resurrection Appearances

Monday, 9 Apr 2012 Leave a comment

Part 3 of a series on the resurrection appearances of Christ.

Appearance #4 – Luke 24:36-49 (Mark 16:14; John 20:19-23): To the disciples (without Thomas)

At v. 37 we find the disciples did not recognize Jesus. Even when He showed them His scars, they rejoiced but their amazement revealed that they still did not believe fully in their hearts (v. 41). Only when Jesus taught them the scriptures did the eyes of their heart fully open (v. 45). We again see the effect of the Word (spirit) on the physical. When our physical senses fall short, only influence by the spirit in our heart will cause our soul to grasp what we are seeing or what is happening.

Appearance #5 – John 20:24-31: To the disciples (with Thomas)

Not much information is given as the focus is on Jesus speaking to Thomas. It is possible recognition of Jesus flowed from His previous appearance, presumably even for Thomas once his five senses were satisfied.

Appearance #6 – John 21:1-14: To the seven disciples by the sea

The disciples did not recognize Him (v.4) despite the previous two visitations. But, initially this could very well have been because of the distance to shore (roughly 100 yards, v. 8). Once Jesus gave them specific fishing instructions (again!) and another miraculous catch ensued, John immediately knew it was Jesus in his heart (v. 7). But, amazingly at v. 12 the disciples knew in their heart that it was Jesus but they just simply could not perceive Him with their five natural senses. This is just a further illustration that a spiritual resurrection body cannot be perceived with only physical means. Any attempt to do so sill be clouded with and shrouded in doubt.

As with Mary Magdalene and the disciples on the road to Emmaus, an incident similar to one already in their heart was needed to open the eyes of the disciples’ hearts (v. 6-7). But, this is a very positive incident especially for John. In the past, the hearts of the disciples were so hardened that they could not perceive spiritual truth and power even after having just witnessed it (Matthew 15:33, Mark 6:52, Mark 8:17).

Appearance #7 – I Corinthians 15:6: To 500 disciples at once

Not enough information is given for us to understand how quickly Jesus was recognized. This incident could also be a duplicate of another incident such as the gathering at the ascension.

Appearance #8 – Matthew 28:16-20 (Mark 16:15-18; Acts 1:4-9): The Ascension

Most (or all) present had seen Jesus already, and they had been called by Him to meet here, so all should have recognized Him (to a degree). Yet, some still doubted (v. 17). On the surface this is astounding. Having spent more than three years with Jesus and seen Him multiple times since the resurrection, some of the original eleven disciples still doubted that this was Jesus and that He had been resurrected. It took the astounding miracle of the Ascension to finally cure this (Luke 24:52).

 – Be loved and blessed to be love and a blessing