What the Believer has Received
John E. Todd, Chesterfield, England [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
'for the gifts and the call of god are irrevocable', Rom. 1 1 . 29, R.S.V. This means that God's decisions are unalterable. In the context of this remarkable statement we are told that, despite the weaknesses of the nation of Israel, God will fulfil for them every promise He made to Abraham. When God gives a gift He never takes it back, When God makes a call He never changes His mind. Thus, what God has given and promised to the believer, for the sake of His Son's redeeming work, will never be revoked or changed.
What God has already done in Christ for the believer shows that salvation is an accomplished fact. The scriptures record the many present possessions of the Christian.
The Christian's sins are forgiven. 'In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace', Eph. 1. 7. The sins are forgiven because Christ has paid the penalty for them by the shedding of His blood.
The Christian has peace with God. 'Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ', Rom. 5. 1. The problem of sin's guilt having been solved and the threat of its subsequent judgment having been removed, the Christian is now reconciled to God and is at peace with God.
The Christian has received the gift of the Holy Spirit. 'Ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise', Eph. 1. 13. The life of God has been revealed in the person of God the Son, 'the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him', John 1. 18. That same divine life has been imparted to the Christian by God the Holy Spirit, 'whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature', 2 Pet. 1. 4.
The Christian has been born again. 'Being born again', 1 Pet. 1. 23. By the gift of the Holy Spirit the Christian has received new spiritual life, the life of the risen Christ; God has 'made us alive together with Christ', Eph. 2. 5, R.S.V.
The Christian is now a son of God. 'And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father', Gal. 4. 6. 'And 1 will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty', 2 Cor. 6. 18. We have not only been adopted into the family of God, Gal. 4. 5; Eph. 1. 5, but we have been born into God's family by the spiritual rebirth of the Spirit.
The Christian is a member of the church, the company of the redeemed. The word 'church' in the original means a 'calling out', 'for by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body', 1 Cor. 12. 13. Christians do not belong to the church, they are the church, the members of the body of Christ.
The Christian has eternal life as a present possession. 'That ye may know that ye have eternal life', 1 John 5. 13. Eternal life does not begin for the Christian at death, it began at conversion.
The Christian is enrolled as a citizen of heaven. 'For our conversation (citizenship) is in heaven', Phil. 3. 20. The roll of the citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem, 'they which are written in the Lamb's book of life', Rev. 21. 27, was completed before the creation of the world in the foreknowledge of God, see Rev. 17. 8. We are to rejoice in this stupendous fact, 'Rejoice, because your names are written in heaven', Luke 10. 20.
These gifts of God's grace will never be taken back. 'For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable', Rom. 11. 29. Our assurance of salvation is founded upon what our Lord has already given to us and no one can take it away from us.
AUTHOR PROFILE: John has been constributing articles to assembly magazines since 1986. together with his wife he began work amongst children that led to establishment of the assembly. Now he serves the assembly as an elder and in the ministry of God's word.