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Originally published in "The Lord's Coming Herald & Wesleyan Bible Prophecy Advocate," Winter Edition 2004

The Simple Bible Plan Of Full And Free Salvation

In true Wesleyanism salvation is a process, not a state in which to park. This process of salvation begins when we first hear the voice of God and respond to him in obedience and faith. It continues in a path that leads to heaven, nor are we "saved" or "safe" until we get there.

    Now in Acts chapter 2, on the day of the inauguration of Messiah's kingdom of redemption though the Pentecostal outpouring of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 16:28; Mark 9:1; Luke 9:27), we have the clear apostolic directive on how to get into this wonderful highway of full and free salvation that leads to heaven.

    "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38).

    Peter is telling us that we can get what the 120 in the upper room got by following these very simple steps:

   1. Repent. Without repentance and its subsequent assurance of forgiveness, we have not yet even begun our journey to heaven. Repentance is "turning to God from idols to serve the true and living God" (I Thessalonians 1:9). It means confessing and forsaking sin, and trying, as far as humanly possible, to make our past wrongs right. The result of repentance is the introduction of a flow of grace into the soul that will lead us straight on into the fullness of the messianic kingdom of heart purity and perfect love, if it is not willfully neglected or opposed.

    2. Be baptized. To be baptized with water in the name of the Lord is a testimony that we esteem Christ as the end of the law for righteousness, and have accepted his atonement on the cross as the only and all-sufficient basis for our redemption.

   3. Receive the promise of the sanctifying Spirit. When faith has been perfected and evidenced in the above manner we are ready to be born or baptized by the Holy Ghost (Matthew 3:ll; Mark 1:8; Luke3:16; John 1:33; 3:5; Acts 1:4-5; 15:8-9) into the kingdom of God (Romans 6:17-22; 8:1-4; 12:1-2; 14:17; 15:16; Colossians 1:13; I Thessalonians 5:23; I Peter 1:22-23).

  Salvation is not a static experience, it is a getting and staying "connected" to the supernatural "current" of the Divine nature--a dynamic relationship entered into, first, by being born of water (John 3:5)—that is, forgiveness of sins (Acts 26:18), or the washing of regeneration (Titus 3:5)—, and, second, by being born of the Spirit (John 3:5)--that is, receiving an inheritance among them that are sanctified (Acts 26:18), or the renewing of the Holy Ghost (Titus 3:5). He that is so born of God into the fullness of the kingdom "doeth not commit sin" (I John 3:9; 5:18).

   In the above scriptural plan of salvation the expression "born again" as used in John chapter 3 and elsewhere is of broader scope than referring only to what is often called a first work of grace, or the initial conversion to Christ experience. "Born again" or "born of God" is a comprehensive term covering the complete change wrought in the soul of the believer that has been purified from all sin, or what we in the Holiness movement call entire sanctification.

  This is not to say that being forgiven of sin, and being entirely sanctified are the same thing, or that we get  both experiences at once.

    Nor is it a lowering of the standard of either the initial conversion to Christ experience or of entire sanctification. It is to say that our modern doctrine of holiness--developed only recently to accommodate our deeper and larger commitment to dispensational premillennial ideology--is not an accurate reflection of either John Wesley's doctrine of holiness, or biblical teaching.

   It is impossible to have a thoroughly accurate biblical doctrine of salvation, friends, while at the same time holding to a  system of foreign ideology (i.e., dispensational premillennialism) that truncates the central message of the Bible, which central message is the inauguration of God's messianic kingdom of redemption on earth with the appearance of Jesus of Nazareth two-thousand years ago.

The New Testament order of salvation is without the philosophical  dualism, or the metaphysical  dichotomies  of modern popular Darbyism. The unity of salvation is found in the concept of the kingdom. To be "in" the kingdom is to be filled with the Holy Ghost, and as a consequence thereby to have received the messianic gift of a pure heart. This is not merely imputation either, it is, rather, a full impartation or effusion of divine grace effecting a radical inner moral change. It is a real cleansing of the heart by the supernatural power of God, and not the mere human intellectual "reckoning" of an imagined cleansing that, because of the evidence of inbred sin still remaining, and/or the lack of fruit unto holiness being manifest in the life following, is only illusionary fiction. 

The Holy Ghost brings the kingdom as well as purifies the heart. Preparation for reception of the kingdom includes repentance, faith, and baptism, all articles of obedience that align the human will and desire with the purpose and  mind of God.

To be forgiven of sin is not preeminently the crowning feature of the new covenant, for even under the old dispensation such was freely available, by faith looking forward to the Perfect Sacrifice.

    What is the crowning feature  of the New Covenant dispensation, rather, is the cleansing of the heart from inbred sin. This is accomplished by the direct personal agency of the Holy Ghost, who had not yet been given before Pentecost, because the Son of man had not yet been glorified. With the ascension of Jesus to the everlasting messianic throne of David at the right hand of the Majesty on High, however, provision for the realization of the kingdom has been made final and complete.

    Now redemption is provided for us all in the kingdom. It is not a partial, or a limited salvation either, but a full and complete salvation, meaning that the blood of Jesus Christ now cleanses from all sin. This cleansing is always the result of a prior obedience--God gives the Holy Ghost to those that obey Him. When we obey from the heart the form of doctrine (concerning the kingdom) being delivered unto us, we are thereby "made free from sin, and have our fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life" (Romans 6:17-22).

    God is not concerned with our modern religious terminology, or the way that human minds attempt to systematize  doctrine. If our human attempt to systematize theology helps us enter the kingdom, well and good. If, as a result of our commitment to human classifications of doctrine, however, we end up in unbelief or failure in our response to the in-broken messianic kingdom, our salvation is less than authentic.

    Entering the messianic kingdom of redemption is a process, friends, and there is no place to park along the highway of holiness. The stream of grace that enters the soul when we first turn to God in genuine repentance will carry us out with sweet consent till all our hallowed souls are his, if we will but allow it to do so!

    Such a paradigm of salvation as we have described above reflects more accurately, we believe, both the positive teaching of the New Testament itself, and John Wesley's understanding of the optimism of grace. That optimism was lost among us when the modern Wesleyan Holiness movement fell into the theological errors of dispensational premillennialism upwards of fifty and more years ago.

    The way back is to shed Darbyism, and return to the Bible. It's a choice of ignorance and prejudice against truth and reality. Now the Spirit is saying unto the churches: "wake up, and deal with it!"

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