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From Glory To Glory

In The Beginning

In the beginning, man was created in the image of God. That's why man was so great in the past; having the ability and power to manage the Garden of Eden and holding the authority over the earth. With his wisdom, he could name all the animals and God's other creations. In the beginning, man was so mighty because God's glory was in him.

Unfortunately, sin had ruined everything. Sin had caused man to be banished from the presence of God. It is impossible for God, who is holy, to be with man who is unholy. God longed to restore everything and He eventually gave a chance for man to be restored. God had to banish man from His presence in order to save them from being burned up. Sin has separated man from God. Sin has caused man to lose the glory of God.

But Praise be unto God, through the sacrifice of the Lamb of God- Jesus Christ- we have gained a way to be reconciled to God. Whoever believes in Jesus and accepts Him as Lord and Savior will not perish, but have eternal life. This joyful moment is called "new birth."

New Birth is The Starting Point of Glorification

The Bible teaches that repentance and new birth are two things that are inseparable. Repentance means that we turn away from sin to Christ. With a new birth, we- sinners- are renewed or made into a new creation by the power of the Holy Spirit. With the new birth, we begin our journey of faith with a new status, which is a child of God (John 1:12). It means that after experiencing the new birth, the spiritual babies must grow up to be spiritual adults (Romans 8: 14-17). The journey of faith, maturation process - learning - growing - takes us from one level to the next spiritual level, from glory to glory.

Such view is not acceptable to the hyper-grace group which stresses that the only thing needed in new birth is Metanoia (a change of mind). A change of mind that they are talking about is merely from not believing in Christ into believing in Him. According to the hyper-grace group, if a person has experienced new birth, then the status of being born again will never be lost as long as he remains a believer. As a result of this teaching, sin is only recognized as a problem of the flesh which has nothing to do with spiritual salvation. If we continue to believe, then we do not need to repent. Asking for forgiveness of sin is a sign that we do not truly believe that the salvation we have received is already perfect. This view is not true, because it is not in accordance with the teachings of the Bible.

We are Not Automatically Saved Until The End

We need to understand that every human-being has a free will. We are not a robot that automatically follows the program once it is changed or updated. Even though man already has a thought in his head, he still needs to make a choice when it comes to do the action.

The Bible says that man is spiritually dead, therefore it is not possible for a spiritually dead person to understand God and obey Him. The only way to restore the person is to have him born again. The process of new birth begins by putting his faith in Christ, and it DOES NOT STOP THERE.

Philippians 2:12, " out your own salvation with fear and trembling.."

Revelation 3: 5, "He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life..." It would be possible for Christians to lose their salvation if they yielded to temptations; if they kept on sinning and went back to their old way of life. Putting our faith in Christ is where we get Justification and it is the "starting line" of Sanctification, and the pinnacle is complete Glorification.

  • 1. Man's Response towards Salvation in the Old Testament
    The book of Jeremiah tells the story of people of Israel who sinned and refused to turn away from their sins, and yet they kept doing religious rituals. They came to the Temple on every Sabbath, they offered up sacrifices (Jeremiah 7:8-11; 14:114-16; 23:9-40) and in fact, there were many false prophets who cheered for them. Jeremiah said that God wasn't pleased with what they did. Their belief and all the rituals they did were not sufficient, because faith must be proved through a transformation of life and good deeds.
  • 2. In the New Testament
    The Gospel of John tells the story of a Samaritan woman who gave the right response upon hearing the proclamation of good news (John 4). John stressed that new birth and repentance are inseparable. As believers, we must always work out our salvation as people who bear the status of being 'born-again'.

Like Salvation, repentance (turning away from sins) is one of the way to 'work out our salvation' with the help of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

In John 3:1-21, in the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus, it is said that those who wish to see the Kingdom of God must be born again and that is by believing in Him (John 3:14-18), but it doesn't end there, because Jesus didn't just talk about the change of thought or belief. Next in John 3:19-21, Jesus taught about deeds; there is a connection between trusting in the Son of Man who is lifted up with the deeds that believers do, in which everyone who practices evil hates the Light.

God Longs For Intimacy

The thing that God longs for the most is reconciliation of human's relationship with Him (Matthew 7:21-23, Ephesians 5:33, John 4:23-24), God wants to fellowship with us. God longs to make us as the object of His love. He longs for us to know Him and spend time with Him. Therefore we must trust Him and learn to love Him. The manifestation of this love is by seeking ways to please Him. The new birth and repentance will lead us to the same direction, which is seeking the Father's will in our lives and working hard to fulfill them.

If the new birth is only limited to the change of someone's mind without taking into account the evident of his faith through his deeds, how can we tell that the believer has truly experienced new birth or not? "Good works do not save us, indeed, but good works are the evidence of salvation." One can be called 'a born again' if he understands the relationship between believing and repenting. In a nutshell, those who have been born again will be justified' in Justification process and they 'are' in Sanctification process and "will enter' into Glorification process. If we remain faithful to walk through this process, we shall be saved. (JR)

"New birth without repentance will not result in salvation"

Jesus said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3)