Salvation is by Grace Alone, Through Faith Alone in Christ Alone

Most false doctrines are based on one verse or passage of scripture. The foundational scripture of the Adoption Theology is Ac. 17:28. Jesus, as well as the Father and Holy Spirit, are omnipresent and are therefore in all of the creation, yet separate from the creation also. This would be Pantheism if God were in his creation and not separate from it. Christ can be said to be in mankind in the same way God is omnipresent in his creation, but he is not indwelling or abiding in all mankind. He does not have a personal, ongoing relationship with all mankind like he has with Christian believers (Eph. 2:19-22). Jesus is said to fill everything in every way (Eph. 1:23), but he is not resident in everything, including mankind. God the Father indwells Christians (Jn. 14:23); the Son indwells Christians (Jn. 14:20); and the Holy Spirit indwells Christians (Ro. 8:9).

Ac. 17:24-27 says that every nation of mankind was made from one man so that man would seek God and perhaps reach out for him. This is what God wants but will not force men to do. The passage goes on to say that God is not far from each individual because in him we (mankind) live, move, and have our being. In other words, we have our natural life because of him and our ability of motion and movement is because of him. He is the source of our capacity to utilize and control the movements of our body and even our mind. We exist as who we are as human beings because of him. He is the source of our life and all that we are and all that we can do as human beings.

The connection between Jesus Christ and humanity is not that he is indwelling all mankind without them even knowing it. The connection is that he is the Creator who is the source of ALL human life and being and continual existence. We would not be here, nor would we continue to exist without him. We are necessarily connected to him as our source and
sustainer.

Adam, which means mankind, was a corporate one in which all mankind to come was in him. Ge. 2:7 says that God breathed the breath of life (lit. lives) into man and he became a living being. Mankind sinned in Adam before Adam had any offspring. So when he sinned it was a part of all of mankind and passed through his offspring. Through the incarnation Jesus (God with us) became one of us. He was the perfect mediator between God and mankind being both God and man in one person. He was both parties to the reconciliation. He, therefore, became our Corporate One. Both God and Mankind’s representative. A corporation is an individual entity, which represents its stockholders. Christ was the “last Adam” (I Cor. 15:45), mankind’s Corporate Head.

Jesus, the Corporate One, in his incarnation was made to have a sinful nature just like ours. He had a sinful nature but sin was not in it because he had not sinned. He then saw, as it were, through Adam’s eyes. Though he did not have sin, he did have the law or principle of sin and death in his sinful nature. He fought it all of his life, never giving in. He successfully undid what Adam had begun. When he was crucified, it was this sinful nature of mankind that received the death penalty and was executed. When Jesus rose from the grave, he only had his divine nature. He was absolutely holy and righteous.

Jesus is the only human who has been through this whole process that we are to go through to receive salvation ultimately. He only, has lived a perfect, righteous life. He ascended to heaven as a glorified man. He has accomplished for mankind what mankind can not accomplish. Because of who he is, he can share the salvation that he has accomplished for all of mankind through faith. The provision for ALL MANKIND IS IN HIM.

God’s plan is to bring humans into the Trinitarian fellowship that he has always experienced with the Father and the Holy Spirit and to ultimately adopt (Ro. 8:23-25) them as his sons, giving them immortality so they would ever be in a Perichoretic relationship with him and the Father and the Holy Spirit. We have not experienced this ultimate salvation yet. God, out of his grace, planned for this and Jesus is the one responsible for its accomplishment. This salvation is now provided for in God’s Son. It is credited to us through the medium of faith. The objective aspect of the gospel is by grace and is unconditional (Ro. 3:21,28; 1 Cor. 1:30,31; Phil. 3:9), but the subjective aspect of the gospel is conditional (Lk. 9:23; Gal. 2:20; Phil. 2:12,13) and faith is the sole medium for receiving salvation from Jesus. Faith as a medium establishes our relationship with Christ and in turn God considers us as being saved. He gives us the Holy Spirit as a down payment of our ultimate salvation to come in the future.

Salvation is in Christ. He has salvation to give and through faith God considers us justified (Gal. 2:16), which means he gives us forgiveness of sins and because of the righteous life of Christ he imputes that righteousness (Phil. 3:9) to us and declares us righteous. God considers us sanctified (Ac. 26:28) and imparts Christ’s righteousness to us as we allow him to work in our lives (the process of sanctification). He also considers us as his adopted sons (Gal. 3:26) though we are waiting for the actual adoption as sons (Ro. 8:23-25). We can say that we “are saved” in the sense that we are in a perichoretic relationship with Christ (Jn. 14:20) and have been justified, and are being sanctified, and have the Holy Spirit as a pledge of our ultimate salvation and inheritance to come (Eph. 1:13-14). Our actual righteousness from Christ will come at the glorification when Christ returns for his bride and “… many will be made righteous” at that time (Ro. 5:19). And we will actually become adopted then also (Ro.
8:23-25).

The truth of the matter is that God in Christ has accomplished all that is necessary for salvation. The Adoption Theology claims that through what Christ accomplished in his life, death, resurrection, and ascension he saved every individual of mankind. It is a done deal without any response on their part. But according to scripture God has given the Holy Spirit
through faith to those who believe to make changes in their lives as they abide in Him and He abides in them. We, as Christians, are identifying with what he did for us through faith. God considers us to be saved. He sees us like his own Son. All who believe will inherit the eternal kingdom. Those who have not believed will be judged by Christ, the Creator, Judge, and Savior of the world. Hopefully, they too will believe and enter the joys of our Lord and Savior.

John Huffman

Comments

  1. Much of the current thread seems to be related to what theologians call the "Ordo Solutis" - Latin for "order of salvation."

    What happens in saving humans? When does it happen? In what order? People want to know. But as many theologians note, trying to arrive at a concrete Ordo Salutis may lead to imposing on this topic a temporal structure that Scripture does not create.

    In our modern, particularizing mindsets we tend to look for discrete categories - for simple 1,2,3 sequences. Nothing wrong with that per se. But in seeking such in the economy of salvation, we may, inadvertenly pass over what really counts and what is ultimately true.

    Sadly the result has been to turn salvation into a personal 'process' that overlooks (even excludes) the objective, once-for-all work of Christ.

    The resultant 'gospel' often emphasizes personal morality and human decision. It is often accompanied by appeals that say "you must get Christ into you."

    But this is not the Scriptural, historic gospel that proclaims what God *has accomplished* in Christ, and tells of our need to get out of ourselves and, through faith, into who we are in Jesus [“hence the bible talks of “believing into Christ”].

    In my view, the typical evangelical Ordo Salutis (in both Calvinist and Arminian forms) flattens the richness of the gospel by emphasizing one plane of the gospel - namely the juridicial or forensic. It says: "You give God your belief (even belief enabled by grace) and he gives you in return your share in salvation." The exchange is completed through a transaction that occurs at a specific temporal time and location.

    But the Scriptural gospel transcends temporal constraints and emphasizes the relational (trinitarian) nature of God. It sees salvation as originating in God who is a relational being. And the outworking of this relational principle is the incarnation of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

    Jesus' person and work are together the objective reality and ground of salvation that must not be 'flattened' simply so that we may have a nice, neat, temporal Ordo Solutis.

    It is our union with Jesus Christ which he has accomplished in himself for all humanity that is the heart of it all. The issue (and thus the scriptural emphasis) is not how this all works out in time and space. Rather it's ultimately about who Jesus is and what he has accomplished in himself for our sanctification, adoption, salvation, redemption and justification. And its about how the Son then applies these benefits to us in the Spirit.

    Rather than viewing these 'elements' of salvation as sequential links in a chain, we understand them to be multiple facets of an enduring relationship established before the beginning of time in the person of Jesus Christ. We then come to share personally in these relational blessings as we share his love, life and faith granted to us through the indwelling Spirit. As one author notes, "In Christ, all the blessings of redemption are ours’; immediately, simultaneously, and eschatologically." What does this mean practically for us?

    1) Our preaching will not separate the blessings of the Gospel from its benefactor. We will not offer the gospel in terms of mere individual blessings (be they peace, power, or purpose). What is the gospel? It is not justification, regeneration, redemption or conversion. Rather at its heart it is the whole person of Jesus Christ into whom we call others to believe.

    2) We are protected from an unhealthy subjectivism that is focused on mere human experience. Rather we look to Jesus in whom we have redemption in all its aspects.

    3) We maintain the already - not yet dimension of the Spirit’s application of redemption in the real, temporal lives of those who believe into Jesus. This multi-dimensional outworking is evident in the NT. It presents all the benefits given to us in Jesus Christ, including those experienced in the here and now and yet to be experienced in the future. Our real lives thus have real meaning in our federal union with Christ. We are both "in Christ: and "in Peoria." Our real lives are hidden with Christ in God. Our person-hood has not been lost in our union with Jesus.

    In Christ we *already* experience all the benefits of salvation (because they reside in our transformed humanity in Jesus); *yet* we see that each benefit looks forward to a future consummation. Thus, our sanctification is both already (1Cor 6:11, Rom 6:1-14) and not yet (1 Thes 5:23). And our adoption is both already (Gal 4:5-6) and not yet (Rom 8:23).

    Bottom line, it's not about a temporal order of salvation. Rather it's about Jesus--who he is and what he has done in us, with us and for us. And there is wonderful Scriptural richness in describing all this. But I have a word of caution for us all: we must be careful in organizing and presenting this Scriptural richness that we don't bleed out what is indeed ultimately rich and true. Let the ultimate truth, Jesus, prevail!

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  2. Thanks for the summary, Ted! I think what you've posted here should be very helpful to us in understanding where WCG is in its theology.

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