Thursday, January 12, 2012

As Many as Received Him: The Mechanic of Salvation

Joh 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Two questions.

    1. What is this power that God gives those who receive Him?
    2. How does one receive Him that they may indeed be given this power?

Let's answer the latter question first and then we'll be able to move into the second and see how it all works.
In order to understand how to receive Jesus it is very important to understand repentance. Jesus clearly taught that one must repent otherwise they will most certainly perish.

Luk 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

John the Baptist and Jesus both taught repentance and that it was directly related to the remission of sins.

Mar_1:4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
Luk_24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

It is important to understand that it is not the repentance itself that remits sins, what repentance does do though is fulfill one of the essential conditions which God has ordained for remission to take place. We read in Acts how repentance is tied to a genuine conversion by which the refreshing (anapsuxis – recovery of breath) can take place.

Act 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

Repentance literally means a change of mind. Paul taught that it was godly sorrow which brings forth a genuine change of mind which, in turn, leads to salvation.

2Co 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
2Co 7:11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

Godly sorrow produces a crisis of conviction in the heart of those experiencing it as they come to an understanding of what sin actually is, its consequences, and how offensive it is to a holy God. This crisis in the soul produces great fear and indignation over sin and its consequences. It also gives rise to a strong desire and zeal to clear oneself of all wrongdoing, to make amends and to then do what is right. It is through a genuine repentance that the hearts rebellion to God is purged leaving an individual teachable and willing to yield. It is akin to how a wild horse must be broken before it will yield to a rider.

This godly sorrow is evident in what Zacchaeus said to Jesus is Luke 19.

Luk 19:8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.

The prodigal son is another good example of godly sorrow working repentance unto salvation, this occurred when he came to himself amongst the pigs...

Luk 15:17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
Luk 15:18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
Luk 15:19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

The change of mind in the pig pen drove the prodigal son to take action. Thus the repentance produced a genuine conversion.

Luk 15:20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
Luk 15:21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

In doing this the son did not save himself, he simply fulfilled what was required in order that he receive mercy. The Father, seeing this take place, had mercy and forgave the son. . This principle is prevalent throughout Scripture.

Pro 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

Isa 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

The prodigal son clearly forsook his wicked ways and thoughts and then returned to his Father. In the parable the Father says that the son was dead but is now alive once again which harmonises with the refreshing or return of breath of Acts 3:19. The refreshing is the same as being born again from above.

Joh 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Again, a genuine conversion (epistrephō -revert, about face) can only take place if there is a mind change behind it.
Act 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

It is for this reason that Paul would emphasise that one ought do works meet (suitable) for repentance. If there is no actual change in conduct then the repentance is most certainly not genuine. Paul wanted to ensure that people genuinely repented.

Act 26:20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

A person who goes through a genuine repentance will stop all their willful rebellion to God, this simply means they forsake all known sin. Not stopping some sins, not wanting to stop sinning, but actually stopping all known sin. An adulterous husband cannot be truly repentant for committing adultery if he will not forsake the illicit relationship. It is no different with God and spiritual adultery.

The Scriptures are clear that one must forsake or stop all known sin in order to receive forgiveness from God. God cannot and will not do a saving work in an individual who refuses to forsake their rebellion because they are simply unwilling to yield.

This is why James would write the following...

Jas 1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
Jas 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

One cannot receive with meekness the implanted word unless they have first laid aside their rebellion. One cannot serve two masters. Light and darkness simply do not mix. Unfortunately most people in the church system believe they can coexist.

When rebellion has been laid aside a new believer can then, through a working faith, put into effect the grace of God.

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Grace in the greek is defined as follows...
charis - graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstract or concrete; literal, figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life.)

Grace is the divine influence on our heart, graciously provided by God, by which our spirits are quickened back to life as we come into union with Christ. Again this is the same as the refreshing of Acts 3:19, being born again of John 3:3, being raised up with Christ of Romans 6:4 and Romans 8:11.

Eph 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Act 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

Joh 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Joh 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Rom 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Rom 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Col 2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
Col 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

We then being quickened together with Christ by His grace become obedient workers together with Him walking after the Spirit and it is through this synergistic process that a purity of heart is wrought in a believer.

2Co 6:1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.

Rom 5:2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Rom 1:5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:

Tit 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Tit 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

1Pe 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

Gal 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

Thus, with the abundance of scripture outlined above, it becomes very clear why Jesus said that one must be a doer of the word and not a hearer only. Grace leads us but we must follow, if we refuse to follow we will be lost. It is as simple as that.

This is why it is absolutely essential to walk a life of self denial with the old man crucified, not yielding to the flesh but rather yielding to the Spirit. It is not an optional.

Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

By presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God we prove the good and perfect will of God through the inner transformation that takes place through the renewing of our mind.

Thus we can then be a doer of the Father's will and enter the kingdom.

Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

If we through the power of the Spirit put to death the deeds of the body (the passions and desires of the old man) we are indeed led by the Spirit and are a son of God.

Rom 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
Rom 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Gal 5:24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
Gal 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Which leads our study in a full circle back to John 1:12.

Joh 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Are you a son of God? Are you doing the will of the Father?


  1. Excellent post! I LOVE all the scripture references that you used. One of my favorites is the scripture in 2 Corinthians about the fruit of TRUE repentance. How excellent is our God, who through the workings of His grace and fear in our hearts would bring forth special, specific FRUIT to show that we have indeed repented, and that we indeed follow after HIM. Fruit that would distinguish HIS children from all others of the world. Unmistakable fruit, distinctive and highly prized by God. Wonderful!

  2. YOU SAY - Grace is the divine influence on our heart, graciously provided by God, by which our spirits are quickened back to life as we come into union with Christ. Again this is the same as the refreshing of Acts 3:19, being born again of John 3:3, being raised up with Christ of Romans 6:4 and Romans 8:11.

    Eph 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

    There is part truth in your statement, as grace is the divine influence of God. But grace is what chastens us. The word translated teaching in Titus 2:14 is the same word translated chasten everywhere else. Grace is judgment, it is what scourges us it is what burns sin out of us. Just like a good parent, when their child disobeys, they are disciplined, they are chastened of their parent and that is how they learn.

    Isa 26:9 for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

    Heb 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

    See the word chasteneth, same word as "teaching" which was a bad translation really as it diminishes God's grace. Here is what God's grace does.

    Isa 48:10 Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.

    It is thru many tribulations (much grace) that we shall enter the kingdom of God.

    Salvation by no means ever implies we shall escape the wrath of God. We shall surely drink. All will reap what they sowed. It is the very few that will drink of the cup of Jesus's baptism (Mat 20) the same cup of wrath He drank that will be JUDGED and SAVED in this life.

    Rev 15:8 And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.

    The many called clean up the outside of their cup then make ministries of judging and condemning others that sin. We are all wretched men and Christ condemned nobody. The many called but not chosen will shut up the kingdom of God and travel over land and sea to win one prostolyte. These will persecute the true children of God with their holier than thou message but their righteousness is a stench in the nostrils of God.

  3. Pete,

    I see you confusing the perfecting of the saints (growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, being conformed into the image of Christ), with escaping the corruption that is in the world through lust (being set free from the bondage of sin). They are two completely different things.

    It is the lusts of the flesh which draw people into sin (Jam 1:14-15) just as Eve was drawn into sin (Gen 3:6). Those that are Christ's HAVE crucified those lusts (Gal 5:24) and thus do not yield to them as described in Jam 1:14-15. Temptation is common to man but there is ALWAYS a way to escape and we are not attempted above what we can handle (1Cor 10:13). Those who sin are slaves to sin (Joh 8:34) yet Jesus can set one free indeed from this slavery (Joh 8:36). The enslavement to sin is in the yielding to it and thus we are slaves to whom we obey (Rom 6:16) but those who have come to Christ have obeyed unto righteousness the doctrine that was delivered (Rom 6:16-17) which leads to holiness the end of which is eternal life(Rom 6:16-23).

    Those who suffer with Christ and have put on the same mind as Christ CEASE from sin because they no longer walk according to the lusts of men (1Pet 4:1-2).

    Christian's are not practicing Chief of Sinners and neither are they the Romans Wretch. The wretch was carnal and sold under sin, he had not been set free indeed, nor was he walking in the Spirit of life in Jesus Christ. The wretch was under conviction and was thus being led to the crucifixion of the flesh which Paul lays out in Romans 6. Romans 8 depicts the walk of the Christian and it is a walk after the Spirit because the flesh has been put to death once and for all.

    We must first escape the corruption that is in the world through lust before we can be partakers of the divine nature (2Pet 1:3-4). The method we become partakers is by adding to our faith (2Pet 1:5-12), which in essence is simply yielding to God or receiving the implanted word having laid aside our rebellion (Jam 1:21-22).

    A Christian IS NOT carnal and sold under sin. If they claim to be then they have never truly repented and their old man was NEVER crucified. A new babe in Christ IS NOT perfect(hence the need for perfecting) and must grow to maturity. Yet this growth to maturity is not "rebelling less" or "yielding to the lusts of the flesh less." No, no, no! That is error.

    A babe in Christ is like a little child who is willing to yield to their father, yet does not know much. The root of rebellion has already been broken and thus they can now be effectively taught because they will yield to the teaching instead of oppose it. Hence we are led by the Spirit instead of walking after the flesh.

    Your gospel message is negating this aspect completely because you are denying free will and teaching that you remain carnal and in a double-minded state.

    A grain of wheat must die in order to bear fruit. The old man cannot be reformed, it has to die once and for all. New wine does not go in old wine skins. Your teaching that it does because you deny this crucifixion of the flesh and the lusts as taking place once and for all.

    1. We are made new creatures in Christ where ALL THINGS become new, not SOME THINGS. It is a radical change. It is going from the natural to the spiritual as God quickens and raises one up to newness of life, the spiritual eyes are opened so to speak.

      When Israel was led out of Egypt and through the Red Sea they were no longer enslaved in Egypt. Neither is a Christian in bondage to the lusts of the flesh after going through the baptism of repentance. One cannot be set free from prison and claim they are free while they remain locked in a cell.

      Israel was led into the wilderness for a time of testing. So is a Christian. The wilderness experience is where we are to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ and are to be formed more and more into His image.

      Eternal life is a promise and hope that is only received after we patiently continue in doing good to the very end. We have to be diligent that we don't fall away from the faith and careful we don't swerve into error.

      While we have the promise of eternal life now if we are abiding in Christ, it is conditional on remaining steadfast in the faith.

      God is only the author of our salvation as long as we obey Him. The moment we disobey is the moment He stops being the author, that is because we have to "work together with God." God's grace must be yielded to and applied. If it is not then it is received in vain.

      Noah had to do the work of building the ark. This was his work of faith and it was an example in the natural with a spiritual application. God leads and we follow. That is what being saved by grace through faith means.

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  8. Hello Scott, I hope you're doing well. I've watched some of Mike Desario's videos and read that he and others would fellowship online as the churches were no good, I'm hopeful that you were one of those fellowshiping with him while he was still with us, I hope I can trust you as I've met others who don't have this message contained in this article.

    I came to the faith a couple of years ago and would like to repent and be water baptized now, I want to forsake sin and be a partaker of the Spirit, God willing, I don't know who to turn to, I don't trust the churches.

    I hope to hear from you, goodbye for now