God’s Salvation is One

Isaiah 12:2-3


My theology professors used to insist, “We must not confuse the teachings of the Bible.” I have often heard and read warnings urging the need to view election, redemption, justification, sanctification, and regeneration as distinct and separate things. But the Word of God never makes such distinctions. The Revelation of God is one; and God’s salvation is one.


Election was finished in eternity; and God’s elect are spoken of as being saved (in the fullest possible sense of that word) from eternity (Romans 8:30; Ephesians 1:3; 2 Timothy 1:9)). But the sovereign, eternal purpose of God the Father is not enough to save anyone. Blood must be shed. Christ had to die, for “without shedding of blood is no remission.” We were redeemed, justified, and sanctified when Christ died in our place at Calvary. When he cried, “It is finished,” redemption’s work was done. Sin was put away. Righteousness was brought in. Atonement was made. The redemption of our souls was accomplished.


Still, something else is required. The precious blood of Christ is not enough to make us “meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.” If we are saved, if we are to enter into heaven’s eternal glory, something else is necessary, just as necessary as the work of the Father and the work of the Son. — We must be saved by the blessed work of God the Holy Spirit in the experience of grace (Titus 3:5-7).


It is the experience of grace that gives the sinner hope before God. God’s purpose made the salvation of his elect sure, but gives hope to no one. Christ’s death upon the cross is the singular basis of the sinner’s hope, but gives hope to none. It is not Christ dying in your place that gives hope, but “Christ in you,” formed in you by God the Holy Spirit in the experience of grace, that God says “is the hope of glory.


In the new birth we are made new creatures in Christ, made “partakers of the divine nature.” God the Holy Spirit creates in us a new life. He gives chosen, redeemed sinners an entirely new nature, forms Christ in us, puts righteousness in us, makes us righteous, pure, and holy, puts in us a spirit in which there is no guile, and makes us “meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light”. This new man is “Christ in you, the hope of glory”. — This is that “holiness” we must have, “without it no man shall see the Lord.” It is written, “There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.


It takes all the gracious operations of the triune God to save us. God’s salvation is one thing. None of its parts are more or less important. Take away redemption and election is meaningless. Take away regeneration and redemption is meaningless.



Don Fortner



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