Being saved is the most important issue to be addressed during one’s appointed (Heb. 9: 27) time here on Earth. Until one is saved he/she does not have the assurance of a home in Heaven, nor can he/she do anything (John 15: 5) of spiritual significance while here on Earth.
One is forever saved (Romans 8: 1) as of the moment he/she is born again (John 3: 5, 7). One might then ask for what reason am I still here, and/or for what purpose does my presence here on Earth serve.
The answer to these questions is found in passages of Scripture that teach on what theologians refer to as the post (after) salvation spiritual life.
The post salvation spiritual life is a period of time in the life of a born again believer. This period of time begins here on Earth at the moment one is born again (John 3: 5, 7). This period of time ends when the soul and spirit of the born again believer leaves the body behind at the moment of physical death.
There are no souls in any corpse, casket, urn or cemetery.
The word “post” in the phrase post salvation spiritual life makes it clear that it is speaking of a time period that comes AFTER the issue of salvation has already been forever resolved.
Accordingly, the post salvation spiritual life is NOT for the purpose of finishing (John 19: 30) or for retaining (Romans 8:1) the salvation that a born again believer has already received.
The purpose for the post salvation spiritual life is for the born again believer to bring the maximum glory to God. The born again believer does so by learning (2Pet. 3: 18) and applying (James 1: 22) the principles of the Word of God to all that he/she thinks, says, and does 24/7. The born again believer does so with the enabling power (John 15: 5) of God.
This is one of the major differences between a “religious” life, and the post salvation spiritual life.
The religious person does what he/she does in a futile attempt to make him/herself “right” with God. As a result of participating in religious activity, he/she believes he/she is entitled to receive the blessings of God while here on Earth and in Heaven. If born again, the religious Christian will spend his/her post salvation spiritual life striving to earn (Eph. 2: 8) what he/she has already received and cannot lose.
I say “if” born again because until one is born again, he/she is spiritually dead and does not have a post salvation spiritual life.
The spiritual person knows that he/she already has right standing with God. This right standing is not on the basis of anything that he/she did overtly (or that was overtly done by others), but on the basis of his/her personal trust and confidence in what God has done. The post salvation spiritual life is NOT about what the born again believer can do for God (John 15: 5), but what God desires to do through the born again believer for the benefit of others (1Cor. 12: 7).
The arrogance in fallen Man leads him to believe that he/she is the master of his/her own ship (life) and that he/she is enslaved to no one or nothing.
In truth, whatever places demands on us to do what we would not have chosen to do on our own have made us its servant (2Pet. 2: 19). The only thing that we are “free” to do is to choose to what or to whom we are going to serve.
One can become a slave to such things as wealth, health, job, marriage, relationship, family, friends, government, religion, hobbies, lusts, drugs, alcohol, and peer pressure, just to name a few!
To be “available” to execute the post salvation spiritual life, one must be free of the things that will compete for one’s devotion and resources (2Tim. 2: 4). No one can serve two masters (Matt. 6: 24).
Like two sides of the same coin, the post salvation spiritual life and discipleship (the study and the application of the Word of God) are inseparable.
One does NOT have to become a disciple to obtain or to retain salvation, but born again believers who do not do so will never become all what God created him/her to be.
While the salvation (eternal life/home in Heaven) of a born again believer is NEVER in jeopardy (Romans 8: 1), there are consequences (1Cor. 3: 15) for rejecting the call to learn of and to execute the post salvation spiritual life.
For this reason, some born again believers will experience eternity with NO reward (1Cor. 3: 15), whereas other born again believers will have both rewards (1Cor. 3: 14/Matt. 5: 12) and privileges (Rev. 2/Rev. 3) that they will enjoy in eternity!
For the spiritually mature believer, it is not the rewards or the privileges that are foremost on his/her mind, but the glory that his/her post salvation spiritual life can bring to God. Christ-centered disciples would do the same if there were no rewards or privileges in the picture.
The, “What’s in it for me?” attitude goes back to some of our Lord’s earliest disciples (Matt. 19: 27).
If one chooses to become a disciple, there are going to be many things required of him/her. There are things that disciples must do, and there things that a disciple cannot do.
There are more than 300 applicable commandments in New Testament Scripture to be learned and applied!
The throne of our lives is NOT a two-seater. If God is NOT the ONE on the throne of our daily lives, then we, other people, or things are!
Joshua challenged the people of His day to decide whom they would serve (Joshua 24: 15). The born again believers of the Church Age are called to be willing to give up much to serve the One who gave up much more to serve them (Phil. 2: 7, 8).
In past dispensations (periods of history), God’s people served Him by identifying the executing the plan that God had in mind for dispensation in which they lived.
Here is 2019 we are presently living in the dispensation of the Church Age. The dispensation of the Church Age began in 30-33 AD during the Feast of Pentecost in Jerusalem, Israel (Acts 2) weeks after the Lord’s Ascension (Acts 1: 9). The dispensation of the Church Age will come to its prophesied (Matt. 24: 14) end when the future event that theologians have named The Rapture (1Thess. 4: 16, 17) takes place.
The Rapture may or may not take place in the life times of those reading this presentation. On the other hand, today could be the day that the Rapture takes place. Today could also be the day that the Lord calls any one of us home.
The post salvation spiritual life is the plan of God that He has in mind for the Church. If we are to follow Him and to serve Him as He desires, we must identify and execute the post salvation spiritual life outlined in Scripture.
There are many alternatives being promoted from outside and from inside of the Christian Community at large. Most of these alternatives promote humanitarian good will, but fall short of engaging in the Great Commission (Matt. 28: 19 20) in the process.
There is a place (James 2: 15, 16) for humanitarian good will, but when the spiritual well-being of those served are not addressed in the process, there is an obvious deficiency that needs to be addressed.
Q.: “For what does it profit a man to gain (or be given) the whole world and forfeit his soul (Mark 8: 36 NASB italics mine).”
A.: Nothing of eternal value.
God’s plan for the dispensation of the Church Age in which we are living has two parts. One fulfills part one if and when he/she is born again by making a positive response to a presentation of the Gospel Message. One fulfills part two by identifying and executing the post salvation spiritual life of discipleship outlined in Scripture.
Again, there are many alternatives, most of which appeal to Fallen Man. They appeal to fallen Man because they appear to provide fallen Man with the means to make himself right with God, enabling fallen Man to reap the benefits. This is what the false religions of the world (Psalms 95: 5) are all about. The problem is that Fallen Man never has had, does not now, nor will he ever have the ability to make himself right with God by way of religious ritual.
No one is usually going to condemn you for providing food, clothing, or shelter to the needy. Even the devil has no problem with making his world (Luke 4: 6) a better place to live for as long as it lasts.
The conflict (Matt. 10: 34) begins when you share the Gospel Message to unbelievers and/or share edifying principles of Scripture with fellow believers.
THIS is the defining difference between the post salvation spiritual life of Scripture and many of the alternatives that are out there.
Before one can participate in the proclaiming of the Gospel Message to unbelievers, and/or the sharing of edifying principles of Scripture with fellow believers, one must first have a clear understanding of such things him/herself.
As was the case in the earliest years of the developing Church (Galatians 1: 6/2Cor. 11:4), there are many false, different, and adulterated, gospel messages, being promoted as the means to secure or to retain salvation.
Just as there were “traditions of men” being promoted in the ancient world as if they had come from God (Matt. 15: 9), there are “traditions of men” WITHIN the Christian Community at large being promoted now, as well.
“But in vain do they worship Me, (by) Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men (Matt. 15: 9 NASB italics mine.”
1Tim. 4: 1 speak of wide-spread apostasy (false teachings and practices) WITHIN the Church in the end times.
Just like there are two sides to single coin, discipleship (the study and application of the Word of God) and the post salvation spiritual life are inseparable.
The more accurately one knows of the Written Word (The Bible), the more accurately knows the Living Word (the Lord Jesus Christ-John 1: 1).
Discipleship is the ongoing study and application of the Word of God. Teaching the Word of God (making disciples) is the “inside” part of the mission that God gave to His Church (Matt. 28: 20).
The Word of God is to be applied when gathered together (Heb. 10: 25) for worship (John 4: 24), and when out in the devil’s (Luke 4: 6) world. One can not apply what one has not been taught.
God gives all of us 168 hours a week. The one hour or so that most “Sunday morning” type of Christians spend “in Church” only accounts for less than 1% of the his/her post salvation spiritual life. This leaves 99% of one’s post salvation spiritual life to be accounted for, as discipleship is a 24/7 lifestyle!
The post salvation spiritual life of discipleship call for the individual development of his/her edified soul structure (Matt. 13: 24, 15). The long term objective of this development is for the advancing disciple to participate in the promotion of the Great Commission (Matt. 28: 19: 20) on a daily basis.
This participation takes place as the advancing disciple, in the capacity of Christ’s ambassador (2Cor. 5: 20), evangelizes (proclaims the Gospel Message) the unbelievers, and edifies the fellow believers with whom he/she interacts with on a daily basis.
THIS is what give spiritual significance to everything we do 24/ 7.
There will be no need to go around “beating others over the head” with a pulpit-sized Bible.
If one advances in the post salvation spiritual life outlined in Scripture, the resulting differences in his/her attitudes, outlook, and priorities will not go unnoticed by others.
These differences will generate persecution from some (2Tim. 3: 12), but will motivate others to make serious inquiries about the faith that they see in an advancing disciple. These inquiries are what open the door to the evangelism and edification of others.
If one does not really “interested” in becoming different, and does not want to be subjected to the inevitable rejection, isolation, and others forms of accompanying persecution, he/she is not really interested in the post salvation spiritual life of discipleship (Luke 14: 26).
I will be the first to concur that it is a lot easier to be a Sunday morning Christian than it is to be 24/7 disciple. Jesus told His would be followers to count the cost (Luke 14: 25-33).
All Christians want to go to Heaven, but not all want to deny self and pick up the cross each and every day along the way (Luke 9: 23)! Discipleship is not a “hidden cost” to retain salvation. All born again believers are assured of a home in Heaven (Romans 8: 1), but not all will be received or honored for having been a disciple throughout the course of his/her post salvation spiritual life while here on Earth.
The self-centered, spiritually immature, born again believer is satisfied just to know that he/she is Heaven bound. For the Christ-centered, spiritually mature, advancing disciple that is NOT enough! The advancing disciple has come to experience that the execution of the post salvation spiritual life is the reason for which he/she lives. All else is secondary.
The post salvation spiritual life has characteristics that apply to all disciples, but there are some parts that have been tailor-made to fit the individual plans that God has in mind.
A significant part in the individual plan that God has in mind for each and every advancing disciple is his/her specific spiritual gift (1Cor. 12).
These gifts and their accompanying ministries (areas/type of service) will differ from one born again believer to another. It is God and not the individual that makes these choices (1Cor. 12: 8-11). These gifts and ministries are not primarily for the benefit of the one who receives them. They are intended to be means through which the advancing disciple has been called to serve others (1Cor. 12: 7).
The very reason that God places born again believers in all different walks of life and having different interests is so that they can serve Him as His ambassadors (2Cor. 5: 20) to bring about the salvation and/or edification of others. These others are the people with whom the advancing disciple interacts with while engaged in all the different activities each and every day. Again, this is what gives spiritual significance to all that we do each and every day.
Until the born again, Heaven bound, believer gets involved with saving the souls of unbelievers and edifying the souls of fellow believers, he/she is neither developing nor executing the type of post salvation spiritual life that God has in mind for the Church Age.
There is a time and a place for providing such things as food, shelter, and clothing to the needy (James 2: 15, 16), but unless the same souls are being given the opportunity to be saved and/or edified, the benefits received will all be left behind when he/she enters eternity (Mark 8: 36).
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Some of God’s servants (Exodus 3: 10/Matt, 28: 19/20/Acts 9: 6. 15) are told right up front what their individual ministry is going to involve, whereas others discover it over a period of time. God may change where, when, and how one’s ministry (service to others) may or may not change over time, but the irrevocable (Romans 11: 29) gift itself does not.
God will inform his servant of the details as he/she moves forward in the plan that He has in mind.
During the course of more than the last fifty years of my post salvation spiritual life, I have tried my hand in various areas of ministry. But in the process, God has always brought me to (or back to) an environment of solitude enabling me to study and teach the Word of God by producing material in the written form.
If you have somehow gotten idea that the post salvation spiritual life of discipleship is going to be one of milk and honey, you have been greatly misinformed (2Tim. 3: 12/1Pet. 2: 21).
One may find a great social environment and be entertained in many of the alternate types of local assemblies. One may go there and receive logistical (food, clothing, shelter) support.
In the type of local assembly that God designed, there is fellowship and it is a place where God is worshiped as He desires (John 4: 24). But it is also a place where one is trained, prepared, equipped, and encouraged to engage in the spiritual combat (Eph. 6) of the Church Age.
Until one is born again, there is nothing that can be accomplished “in Church” other than it being one of many places where one might be presented with the unadulterated Gospel Message.
I say “might” because there are many individuals who go or have gone to Church” on a regular basis, but do not have an understanding of the true Gospel Message. This is evidenced by their perceived need to participate in the “traditions of men” to either obtain or retain salvation.
Once born again, one’s choice of local assembly will neither increase nor will it decrease the integrity of one’s salvation, but
It will impact the quality of one’s post salvation spiritual life.
The Lord Jesus Christ clearly informed His disciples that He did not come (at that time) to bring interpersonal (Luke 12: 52, 53) or international (Matt. 24: 6) peace to this world.
This type of global peace will not take place until a future dispensation (Rev, 20: 4) is in view. In the meantime, the spiritual experience of His true followers here on Earth will be one dominated by conflict and persecution.
The type of peace on Earth that was announced by the Christmas angel (Luke 2: 14) was/is peace between God and the individual souls that are reconciled with Him by being born again (John 3: 5, 7).
This collective body of born again souls is what make up the “Church” that God designed (1Pet. 2: 9).
Being at peace with God, and especially if one chooses to take an active role in the promoting of the Great Commission (Matt. 28: 19, 20), will set the born again believer at enmity with the world (Matt. 10: 22). Being friends with worldly-minded individuals makes sets one at enmity with God (John 4: 4).
The Phil. 4: 7 type of peace that surpasses all human understanding is not found in a lifestyle that is void of adversity. This type of peace is experienced in the midst of the spiritual combat associated with the post salvation spiritual life.
That is what makes it surpass all human understanding.
Born again believers who follow the Lord by executing the post salvation spiritual life will frequently find themselves in the midst of spiritual combat (Eph. 6: 12) as they continue to fight the good fight (2Tim. 4: 7). The close one comes to reaching the next objective along the road to spiritual maturity, the more intense the battle will rage.
Paul once stated that if what one receives here on Earth was all that Christianity has to offer, that Christians are to the pitied more than any other group here on Earth (1Cor. 15: 19).
In closing, consider how God evaluates the quality of the post salvation spiritual life of a born again believer. It is by the fruit that it produces. The fruit of the post salvation spirit life is saved and edified souls.
Is that what your post salvation spiritual life is producing? This is the question that every born again believer must ask and answer when conducting a 2Cor. 13: 5 self-examination.