The Evolution Of Salvation

 

 

 

Evolution Is a Fact Of Life

 

Your life, is an evolutionary process.  To evolve, simply means..  “to develop gradually”.   We didn’t go from birth, to the person we are today, overnight.  But rather, we have evolved.

God tells us in  Romans 12, verse 2,  to be  “transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”   That transformation is an “evolving” into the person God wants us to be.

In one respect, we have to evolve back into children, don’t we?   Jesus said in  Mat 18, verse 3;  “Unless you be converted, and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.”   That “conversion” is an evolving.

 

Jesus went on to say in  V-4;  “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”    Sometimes our evolution has made us proud and arrogant, and so we need to evolve, back to the way we started.

Part of our evolutionary process is to go all the way back to the beginning, and to be born again, isn’t it?   “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”   John 3, verse 3

So a lot of changes take place as we evolve from our beginning stage to our final stage.  First God forms what will be our physical bodies, and then probably simultaneously, He gives us a spirit, and we become a living being, a living soul.  Then we go through all sorts of changes during our physical life, until our finally, our physical life is over, and then we become only spiritual.  Then at the end of time, we’re given a spiritual body and we enter our final stage in eternity.   That’s quite an evolutionary journey, but it’s all according to God’s purpose, and according to His plan.

 

Salvation Has Evolved

 

Did you know that God’s plan of salvation has also been an evolutionary process?  Salvation began, as a plan in the mind of God, and then it unfolded, or “evolved” through the age of the patriarchs;  And it kept evolving through the centuries as Israel became a nation of God’s people;  And it evolved through the time of Christ, with His teachings, and with His death, and burial and resurrection.  And salvation evolves every day, as more and more people are added to the kingdom.  And God’s salvation will continue to evolve until the very end of time, when full salvation is realized in heaven.  And then it will remain in that final stage, for all eternity.   Just like we’ll remain in OUR final stage for eternity.

 

Jesus Teaches in Parables

 

Take a look at these bible verses from  Mark chapter 4, verses 26-29.  Jesus taught a parable here, about a natural evolutionary process.  Jesus said..

“The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil, and goes to bed at night, and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts up and grows;  How, he himself does not know.  The soil produces crops by itself;  First the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head.  But when the crop permits, he immediately sends forth the sickle, because the harvest has come.” 

In this short parable, Jesus describes the evolution of a seed, into a mature plant, followed by the harvest.   And He says that this process is somehow like the kingdom of God.  So let’s think about this seed, that’s been cast upon the soil.

Let’s imagine that it’s a seed of corn.  If we go back to the very beginning stage, the sower of the seed, must have purposed in his mind to produce that corn.  And so with this purpose in mind, he plants the seed.  And then as the parable says;  The man, “..goes to bed at night and gets up by the day, and the seed sprouts up and grows.”   After planting the seed, a man doesn’t just sit there and watch for the growth, does he?  No, he goes about his daily routine, and allows the seed to take it’s course.

He doesn’t know all the “workings” of how the seed and the soil combine to make the plant come up, but as Jesus said;  “.. the seed sprouts and grows”  

So the man waits patiently, and then one day he sees the first blades sprout up.  And these blades serve as “a promise” of the actual crop, that he had originally “purposed” in his mind.   So the parable shows that there was a purpose, followed by a promise.  But now what happens?  Well, after seeing this promise appear, the man might very well start to examine the blades, and see how good they look, and he might start to make predictions about how the crop is going to turn out.

He’s probably planted many rows of seeds, and as he looks down the rows, and as they grow taller, the promise of the crop grows.  And he might even start telling his friends and neighbors about how great it’s looking, and what a great harvest he’s going to have some day.  So then we now have another stage in the evolution of the corn crop.  We had the “purpose” stage, then the “promise” stage, and now the “prediction” stage.

The next stage that the crop is going to go through is the “preparation” stage.  As the corn grows, it evolves from the seed, into the blade, then into the head, and finally it evolves into the finished ear of corn.  And all of this growth, is really a process of “preparation”.   God is the one giving the growth, isn’t He?  So then throughout this growth process, God is preparing the corn for it’s purpose.  There was one purpose, that the seed was planted for in the first place, and that purpose was to have good healthy “fruit”, at the time of the harvest.   The goal of the man who planted the seed, was to have a harvest of corn.  And so the final stage is going to be, the “harvest” stage, when that original goal is realized.

So there were actually five stages, in the evolution of that crop of corn.  The purpose, the promise, the prediction, the preparation, and the harvest.

 

Salvation Began With The Purpose

 

Now, since Jesus said that  “The kingdom of God, is like a man who casts seed upon the soil..”,  we’re going to look at the evolution of God’s plan of salvation, which is the gospel.  And we’re going to see how it’s like that seed that was cast upon the soil.  We’re going to look at God’s salvation, from the perspective of those five stages;  The Purpose, the Promise, the Prediction, the Preparation, and the Harvest.  Remember that the original goal of God’s plan of salvation, is for man to spend eternity in heaven, in the kingdom of God. 

The gospel is the plan of salvation.  And the FIRST stage in this gospel plan, was the “purpose”.  The purpose of God is stated very simply, in  1 Tim 2, verse 4,  where it speaks of God, and says;  “..who desires ALL men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”  

So God’s purpose was to provide salvation to as many as will accept the offer.  His desire is that ALL people would accept His offer.  And the purpose has always been eternal.  In other words it’s been in the mind of God from eternity.   Eph 3, verse 11  tells us that;  “This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord.”   And  V-12 says;  “In whom we have boldness, and confident access through faith in Him.” 

So then the first stage, in the evolution of salvation, is God’s eternal purpose.

 

The Promise Stage

 

Next came the “promise” of salvation.  Do you remember when the “promise” was first given?   In  Genesis chapter 12, verses 2 & 3,  the promise was first given to Abram.  God spoke directly to Abram, and He said;  “And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great.  And so you shall be a blessing.  And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you, I will curse.  And in YOU, all the families of the earth shall be blessed!”  

God promised Abram, that all families of the earth would be blessed in him.  That means that if YOU are one of Abraham’s offspring, then YOU will be blessed along with Abraham.   Just a minute ago, I read the verse from  Eph 3, verse 12.  It said;  “In whom we have boldness, and confident access through faith in Him.” 

Listen to  Gal 3, verse 9;  “So then those who are of faith, are blessed with Abraham the believer.”   Those who are of FAITH.   Verse 14, of Gal 3,  says this;  “..in order that IN Christ Jesus, the blessing of Abraham, might come to the gentiles, so that we might receive the PROMISE of the Spirit, through faith.”

I’m sure you remember  Acts 2, verse 38,  where Peter said;  “Repent and let each one of you be baptized, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins, and you shall receive the GIFT of the Holy Spirit.”  

Paul called it the PROMISE of the Spirit, in the Galatian letter, and Luke calls it the GIFT of the Spirit, here in Acts.  But then Luke says in the very next verse,  V-39;   “For the PROMISE is for you, and for your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord God shall call to Himself.”  

So we can easily see, that the “gift”, and the “promise” are the very same thing.  And that gift, and that promise were first given to Abraham, while he was still called Abram, and then it was reinforced and strengthened, when it was given to Isaac, and then to Jacob.   So then God first PURPOSED salvation, and then He PROMISED salvation, and now we’re going to see how He began to PREDICT, OR “prophecy” about this salvation.

 

The Prediction Stage

 

After the promise was first given to Abraham, the old testament contains at least 117 predictions, or “prophesies”, concerning Christ, and His kingdom, and salvation through Him.

Job said in  Job 19:25;  “I know that my Redeemer lives!”   That’s Christ, and He’s always been alive. 

In  Genesis 49:10,  it’s predicted that the King would come from the house of Judah.

Isaiah prophesied about the coming of Jesus.   He said in  Isaiah 40, verses 3 thru 5;   “A voice is calling;  Clear the way, for the Lord is in the wilderness.  Make smooth in the desert, a highway for God.  Let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low.  And let the rough ground become a plain, and the rugged terrain, a broad valley.  Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together.  For the mouth of the Lord has spoken!”

King David speaks of  “My King”,  and  “the Anointed One”,  in the  2nd Psalm.   And in  verse 12,  he says;  “Do homage to the Son!”  

Psalm 22  predicts His crucifixion.  Verses 16 thru 19  say:  “For dogs have surrounded Me.  A band of evildoers has compassed Me.  they have pierced My hands and feet.  I can count all my bones.  They look, they stare at Me.  they divide my garments among them.  And for My clothing they cast lots.”    And it was all fulfilled that day at the cross.

Psalm 16, verse 10  declares Christ’s resurrection, when it says;  “For Thou will not abandon My soul to Sheol.  Neither will Thou allow Thy Holy One to undergo decay.” 

And  Psalm 68, verse 18,  predicts His ascension, with these words;  “Thou hast ascended on high.  Thou hast led captive, Thy captives.  Thou hast received gifts among men, even the rebellious also, that the Lord may dwell there.” 

The old testament, is full of God’s prophesies, about the Christ, and His kingdom, and His salvation.

 

The Preparation Stage

 

Now we come to the stage of “preparation”.  God prepares His kingdom, for the upcoming harvest.  Just like the corn crop grows, and evolves from the blade, to the head, and finally to the “fruit” inside the head, God’s kingdom is being prepared by God.   The kingdom had a small start in Jerusalem, but it expanded quickly, as people  “went everywhere preaching the word”,  just like we read in  Acts 8, verse 4.  

And the kingdom will continue expand, right up until that point where  “..we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.  And as a result, we are no longer tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming.  But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in ALL aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ.”   Eph 4, verses 13 thru 16.  

 

Send forth the Sickle

 

That’s an example of GOD, preparing US, for the harvest.   Jesus said, in  John 4, verse 35;   “Behold I say to you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.”  

Remember, that God..  “desires ALL people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 

And He’s preparing us for that very purpose, so that we can be saved and live eternally with Him in heaven.   That’s His goal, that’s why He gave us His word, that’s why He gave us His Son, that’s why His Holy Spirit gives us the providential care that He gives us.

That’s how we KNOW, and that’s WHY  “..we KNOW, that all things work together for good, to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”    Rom 8, verse 28.  

All things work together for good, because God is preparing us for the harvest.  Whether the harvest comes during our lifetime or not, it doesn’t matter.  All that natters is that when it DOES come, we’re prepared.

It’s like we learned last Sunday from the parable of the vineyard, in  Isaiah chapter 5, verse 2;   “My well-beloved had a vineyard on a fertile hill.  And He dug it all around, and removed it’s stones.  And He planted it with the choicest vine.  And He built a tower in the middle of it, and hewed out wine vat in it.”   Then He said in  verse 4;   “What more was there to do for My vineyard, that I have not done in it?”  

God has prepared everything, according to His purpose.   Just like the seed that was cast upon the soil;  God has Purposed in His mind, and He’s made His Promise, and He’s given His Prophecies, and He has Prepared everything.  And the fields are white for Harvest.

And the scripture says;  “And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.”     Mat 24, verse 31.

 

Are You Ready ?

 

You want to be ready for the gathering don’t you?  Ready for the harvest?

If you’re going to be ready, you need to hear the words of Jesus, when He says;  “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved.”   Mark 16:16.  

You need to hear Him when He says;  “Unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish.”    Luke 13:3

And when He says, in  Mat 10:32;  “If you confess Me before men, I will confess you before My Father who is in heaven”,   then we need to confess our faith in Him.

And when we’re urged in  Acts 22:16,  to  “Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins..”  That’s what we need to do!  We need to arise and BE baptized.

And then we ALL need to continue faithful unto death, so that we can be included in the harvest.

 

Your comments and questions are needed, and always appreciated.  Please leave me your thoughts.

 

 

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