Redemption of Man
From Creation to Now
(Note: This document, which stems from specific inquiries by Christians regarding the salvation of Jews (Part 2), is presented primarily to offer a concise reply (Part 3) concerning that issue. Nevertheless, a comprehensive understanding of the matter will largely depend on one’s acceptance and adherence to the contents of Part 1.)
Of all the areas of doctrine covered by Holy Scripture, which are interpreted and instructed diversely by the various denominations comprising Christendom, the one propagated as the “redemption or salvation of man” is most significant. Indeed, within evangelical circles, those who strongly believe in the infallibility of Scripture, both (Old and New) Testaments, the focus on how God allows man to obtain eternal security and bliss, his eternal destiny, is considered fundamental in achieving spiritual understanding and life. Furthermore, this doctrine among Christians is unquestionably the subject of controversy and division between sincere and studious individuals and groups.
The elements of this doctrine most often center on two key biblical issues, that of “faith” (belief or trust) and “works” (acts of righteousness). Whereas one body believes “faith alone” is the crucial and only component insuring one’s path to heaven, another maintains that the answer can only be found in “faith plus works.” Then again, there are multiple positions on the direction and type of faith and works comprising man’s path to heaven, not to mention the concepts of irrevocability and/or permanency pertaining to each.
But all agree that there is no other more important doctrine in all of Scripture concerning mankind. It is the foundation of all else within God’s Word. For if one doesn’t understand and act upon the doctrine of redemption/salvation as God has put it forth in His Word, nothing else will eventually matter.
It is to this “end” (or better, to this “starting point”) and its progression — the issue of God’s redemption plan for man is significantly more complex and extraordinary, indeed more amazing and marvelous, than Christendom understands and sanctions — that this website exists and continues to enlighten those who sincerely hunger for the “meat” of the Word of God.
God’s redemption plan for man is revealed at the very beginning of God’s Holy Book, within the initial verses of the first chapter of the book of Genesis. It continues to be revealed throughout the Old Testament in various types, and is fully exposed in and by the anti-types within the New Testament. There are many reasons why Christians fail to comprehend the intricacies and components of God’s redemption plan for man, not the least of which is the incessant influence by the “god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4; 1 Peter 5:8) over those who should advance in spiritual maturity, but instead remain in their carnal state (1 Corinthians 3:1-3).
Additionally, many, if not most Christians fail to realize that man is a tripartite (3-part) being composed of spirit, soul, and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 4:12), made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26, 27) who is also a tripartite Being (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), and that redemption/salvation affects each individual part in a different way and at a different time. Indeed, man’s redemption/salvation is a past, completed act (Ephesians 2:8, 9), a present, continuous work (1 Corinthians 1:18), and a future, inherited possession (Hebrews 1:14). But until this is realized by a child of God, under the leadership and tutorage of the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 16:13), he is destined to view the matter in limited scope, seeing only conflict and discord in many passages of Scripture that deal with the redemption of man.
And out of this conflict and discord rises the varying and differing positions regarding God’s redemption plan for man that are prolific throughout Christendom. On the other hand, if one will choose to spend the time and effort to investigate the matter, utilizing the resources available on this website while depending completely upon the one and only true Teacher of Scripture, he will most certainly come to a comprehensive understanding of God’s redemption plan as it pertains to man; one that will harmonize all passages of Scripture, one that will greatly promote spiritual growth, and one that will engender deep and genuine spiritual well-being.
To this end, this goal, the following plan is suggested.
It is recommended that the reader study the following documents (books), all of which are in-depth commentaries by Arlen L. Chitwood and which may be drawn in total from the website links listed alongside each title:
Salvation by Grace through Faith (http://bibleone.net/SGF.htm)
Salvation of the Soul (http://bibleone.net/SOS.htm)
Redeemed for a Purpose (http://bibleone.net/RFAP.htm)
Let Us Go On (http://bibleone.net/LUGO.htm)
So Great Salvation (http://bibleone.net/SGS.htm)
Mysteries of the Kingdom (http://bibleone.net/MK.htm)
There are many other excellent books/commentaries that one may take advantage of in this study, all of which may be accessed from their links, which are posted on the homepage of the website.
In brief, the above commentaries will coherently reveal that redemption/salvation of man is composed of three aspects, addressed in Scripture as salvation of the spirit, salvation of the soul, and salvation of the body, all of which emanate from the hand of God and which prepares man for the purpose for which he was created in the first place — to rule, have dominion, over God’s creation (Genesis 1:26, 28) — the purpose/goal from which man spiritually fell at his beginning.
(Man was created for a purpose that had to do with regality; and fallen man has been redeemed with this same purpose in view. Salvation has been provided for fallen man in order that God might bring man back into the position for which he was created in the beginning.
Accordingly, the gospel message, the good news seen throughout Scripture, has two facets — the good news concerning the grace of God, and the good news concerning the glory of Christ:
1) The Gospel of the Grace of God is a message dealing with Christ’s past, finished work at Calvary. It is the message of the Cross; it is a message surrounding the shedding of blood; it is a message surrounding death; and it is a message that is to be proclaimed to the unsaved — to those “dead in trespasses and sins.”
The reception of this message — man believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, who died in his stead — results in eternal salvation.
2) The Gospel of the Glory of Christ is a message encompassing Christ’s present work but culminating in and dealing more specifically with His future work. It is a message surrounding present Christian living, with a view to that which lies ahead. And, encompassing Christ’s present work as High Priest, the gospel of the glory of Christ (as the gospel of the grace of God) is also a message surrounding the shedding of blood (Christ’s shed blood now on the mercy seat in the heavenly sanctuary). But now matters surround Christ’s glory and that of bringing many sons to glory with Him.
The reception of this message — redeemed man exercising faithfulness to his calling — will result in an individual being accorded the honor and privilege of ascending the throne with Christ in His kingdom when He returns in all His power and glory.
Distinctions between the preceding two messages must be clearly understood if an individual would properly understand the whole of the salvation message in Scripture.
[Arlen L. Chitwood from Redeemed for a Purpose])
Once the above is realized by means of a proper study of Scripture, one then will realize that the preponderance of Holy Writ pertains not so much to the eternal salvation of man (spirit-salvation), which is no less foundational and critical, but mostly about the coming kingdom of Christ and how one may participate therein (soul-salvation).
So for one to truly understand and appreciate the remainder of this document, it is strongly recommended that one read the above mentioned documents (books), all of which may be viewed in their totality from the links provided.
Recently, the following inquiry was passed on to this writer, which relates to the salvation of the Jews, then and now.
You have said before that you would be willing to research questions that we might have. :) One came up in Sunday School yesterday that we need help with:
We are wondering about salvation for the Jews, and if it may have been possible through the sacrificial system even during Jesus' day. It would seem that they WERE saved by the blood placed on the doorposts before they came out of Egypt and crossed the Red Sea. Yet Korah and others died for disobedience in the wilderness. So they seemed to have lost their reward and not entered the Promised Land, but were eternally saved....?
But in Jesus' century, if Paul had died before his Damascus Road experience, would he have been saved?
Another thing, In John 8:24, Jesus told the Jews, "I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins." The entire chapter 8 is about Jesus and his confrontation with the Pharisees, and Jesus seems to be saying that they are damned because they do not believe He is who He is telling them He is. If they are damned, why didn't the sacrificial system they grew up following work for their salvation?
I have asked this question of several people, and so far have only come up with a blank stare. Perhaps Charles or Arlen have some input on this, if you don't already have an answer.
Thank you so much for looking into this when you have some time.
The above generated a concise reply from Arlen L. Chitwood of www.lampbroadcast.org, which follows.
Salvation in Scripture
Arlen L. Chitwood
All the ramifications of the different issues raised in your couple of e-mails are addressed in several of my books, mainly in From Acts to the Epistles, Signs in John’s Gospel, and God’s Firstborn Sons.
All three of these books have been revised, though I’m not sure that you have the revisions for all three on your website. The first two revisions are on my site (www.lampbroadcast.org); the revision for God’s Firstborn Sons has not been uploaded to the site yet. You might have the revised version on your site though.
On the salvation issue in Scripture, first of all it would probably be best to forget the two divisions of Scripture (Old Testament & New Testament) and simply see Scripture as one continuous book. “Testament” is simply another way of saying “covenant” (Greek: diatheke [translated both “testament” and “covenant” in the New Testament, King James Version]; Hebrew: Berith [translated almost exclusively “covenant” in the Old Testament, King James Version]), and Scripture is not a covenant per se. Rather, all Scripture is a revelation from God to man.
Aside from the preceding, beyond Genesis 12, covenants are made with Israel (Romans 9:4). No covenant has been made or ever will be made with the Church.
The Old Covenant (Mosaic, inseparably associated with the Abrahamic) was made with Israel; and the New Covenant, replacing the Old, will be made with Israel. Both have to do with
the theocracy, as do all covenants made or to be made with Israel (Davidic, Palestinian, New).
None of the covenants have anything to do with eternal salvation. All are made with a people already saved. And, in reality, all could be classed as “The Magna Charta for the Kingdom,” with the Mosaic having to do with the rules and regulations governing the people of God in the theocracy.
Nor do “creations” — the Adamic (Genesis 1:26-28), the old creation in Jacob (new at the time [Isaiah 43:1]), or the new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) — have anything to do with salvation. Nor does “sonship” have anything to do with salvation.
(“Sonship” has to do with creation. Adam was God’s son because of creation [Luke 3:38]. This status did not change following the fall. Israel is God’s son because of creation [firstborn son because of a subsequent adoption] and remains God’s son [God’s firstborn son] today, in an unsaved state. And Christians are God’s sons because of creation as well [new creations in Christ, still separate from salvation (nothing about death and shed blood in “creation”), though occurring at the same time].
To further illustrate the point in relation to salvation, note that all angels are God’s sons because of their individual creation, and that position remained unchanged in relation to Satan and his angels following their fall [Genesis. 6:2]. All angels remain God’s sons today — fallen or unfallen.)
Nor, in the first two creations (Jew and Gentile), can a person move from one creation to the other. That is, a Gentile cannot become a Jew (he can do no more than become a proselyte); nor can a Jew become a Gentile. And the reason for that is simple: Both have to do with the physical man. That which is physical simply cannot change.
The third creation, of course, is formed from the first two. A Jew or a Gentile becomes a new creation in Christ through “belief.” And a person can move from one creation to the other in this respect because the spiritual man rather than the physical man is involved.
Believing Jews or believing Gentiles remain in their respective creations physically (that cannot change; again because it is physical), but both can become new creations in Christ — Christians — spiritually.
As well, since “the physical” is involved with Jews and Gentiles, the creation can be passed from father to son through procreation. But such cannot occur at all for Christians, for “the spiritual” is involved — a realm where man cannot operate, a realm that has nothing to do with natural procreation.
Salvation in One Book
Now, with all of that in mind, let’s look at the salvation issue in one Book, not two Testaments, for the salvation issue never changes throughout Scripture.
The whole of the matter is set forth and established in an unchangeable manner in the opening chapters of Genesis. The manner in which God would restore ruined man (i.e., “dead in trespasses and sins” [Ephesians 2:1]), a ruined creation, was set forth in these opening chapters of Genesis; and no change can ever occur. And the matter was established perfectly in the beginning.
The first thing we read relative to the restoration of a ruined creation is: the Spirit of God moved, God spoke, light came into existence, and God formed a division between the newly existing light and the remaining darkness (Genesis 1:2b-5). And the latter — the remaining darkness — would tell you that there is something more to the restoration of a ruined creation, foreshadowing man’s salvation, than that which is primarily seen by and through events on day one (something that is seen in events on days two through six, with a view to the seventh day).
Thus, the divine work seen on day one foreshadows God’s work pertaining to man’s eternal salvation (a beginning restoration of ruined man). And the divine work seen beyond this (in days two through six, a continuing restoration of ruined man) foreshadows God’s dealings with saved man in relation to the seventh day, which Scripture later reveals is related to the saving or loss of the soul, the life, of a man who has passed from death unto life.
But, let’s stay mainly with the work on day one. Note something though in passing. Once God had finished with His work on the first day, He didn’t go back and re-deal with anything from this day. Rather He began to deal with that which was remaining, as it pertained to the complete restoration of the ruined creation seen in that which is foreshadowed by God’s work during the subsequent five days.
Thus, exactly as in the type, God does not go back and re-deal with saved man relative to anything having occurred in his passing from “death into life” (John 5:24). Rather, He now deals with man on the basis of that which has occurred (but not relative to that which has occurred), having to do with dispelling the remaining darkness, with a view to the seventh day.
Now, moving from this initial information in Genesis chapters three and four, we see several things pertaining to that which was initially occurring on day one in Genesis 1:2b-5. In chapter three, man falls. Now another ruined creation is involved. And how does God restore a ruined creation? The answer, of course, along with the purpose for restoration, is seen back in the opening thirty-four verses of Genesis — that which is foreshadowed by God’s restoration of the ruined material creation.
In chapter three a man acts (Adam, typifying Christ 4,000 years later, partook of the fruit of the tree, bringing about the fall; Christ, in complete conformity to the type, became sin, to effect redemption [2 Corinthians 5:21]). Then a clear inference to death and shed blood are introduced later in the chapter by and through God clothing Adam and Eve with animal skins (by and through the fall they had lost the covering of Glory).
(Note again that man at this point is not placed completely back in the position that he had occupied before the fall [a restoration of the covering of Glory, which, in subsequent Scripture, is seen restored only on the seventh day].)
Then in chapter four, more information is added. Man, seen acting in the previous chapter, would be the one to die and shed his blood (Cain slaying Abel, Israel slaying Christ). And putting all of this together from these four chapters, the complete salvation picture is seen, a picture that never changes.
Eternal salvation is a divine work, performed by a Man (who has to be God), with death and shed blood involved. All fallen man can do is simply receive that which has been done on his behalf. Nothing more can enter into the matter.
And note again that once man passes from “death into life,” God’s dealings with man then move to that which lies out ahead. God never again deals with man relative to the salvation that he presently possesses.
In that respect, note the absurdity of saying that a saved man can lose his salvation. How could he lose something that he had nothing to do with obtaining, particularly since God is no longer dealing with him relative to the matter?
Now, I’ve spent a lot of time on this for the simple reason that these foundational truths pertaining to salvation are needed in order to understand the subject at hand — salvation as seen later in Scripture, particularly as it is seen in the camp of Israel on both sides of Calvary.
Events in Genesis chapter twenty-two or chapter thirty-seven further illustrate and provide additional information for that which is seen in the opening four chapters of Genesis, but let’s move on to Exodus chapter twelve.
In this chapter we have that which is previously illustrated from several types in Genesis brought together in the institution of the Passover. A lamb from the flock was to die in a vicarious manner in the stead of the firstborn in the family. And a lamb dying in this manner, with the blood caught and properly applied, as the sacrifices or other types seen back in Genesis, pointed to the Paschal Lamb dying at Calvary, shedding His blood.
Now, the question: Did God recognize death and shed blood, in relation to man’s eternal salvation, in all these sacrifices throughout man’s 4,000-year history preceding the events of Calvary? Certainly He did! After all, He is the One having instituted them, with man only carrying out that which God had previously instituted.
All of these sacrifices were inseparably associated with the One actually slain before man even fell, or before one sacrifice was ever even offered. Christ was “slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8), which takes matters back to the beginning of the restoration of the ruined earth, preceding man’s creation, in Genesis 1:2b (Revelation 13:8). In reality, all of the Old Testament sacrifices foreshadowed an event that God looked upon as having already occurred (Ecclesiastes 3:14, 15; Isaiah 48:3ff).
At the time Christ was here on earth, the Jewish people were still sacrificing the passover lamb. In this respect, the Jewish people at Christ’s first coming could only have been just as saved as the Israelites during Moses’ day, or anyone else, having availed themselves of God’s provision during succeeding years or during the preceding 2,500 years of human history.
These Jews in view at Christ’s first coming would have been those who were having a part in the sacrifice of the paschal lambs year after year (which could only have been the nation at large, else Christ could not have come to this nation and dealt with them relative to spiritual values, offering to the Jewish nation the kingdom of the heavens).
Salvation on Both Sides of Calvary
Now let’s look at both sides of Calvary and the re-offer of the kingdom of the heavens to Israel after Christ’s ascension. Again, bear in mind that which is stated in Revelation 13:8.
(But first a word about events in John chapter eight: Don’t try to read saved-unsaved issues into this chapter. Christ was dealing with saved Jews being brought forth from below rather than from above, doing the work of Satan rather than the work of God.
The issue in this chapter, as the issue in the book as a whole, is not eternal salvation. Rather, the issue has to do with the message being proclaimed to Israel at that time, which pertained to the kingdom.)
Question: Jews rejecting Christ, responsible for the events of Calvary, were they saved or unsaved? Then another question: If saved — which they, of course, were — did that status change once the Paschal Lamb had died, with God then no longer recognizing animal sacrifices as before, nullifying their salvation?
How could it change? God has previously established and recognized animal sacrifices in this respect; and, according to the original type in the opening two chapters of Genesis, or any other type, once the man had passed from “death into life,” God never again dealt with the person on that basis again. All of God’s dealings with the person, beyond availing himself of the blood sacrifice, were now focused on that which lay ahead, never on that which was lying behind.
Had not the status of these Jews remained the same (i.e., just as saved following Calvary as they had been before Calvary), there could have been no re-offer of the kingdom to Israel, as seen throughout the book of Acts. And had God continued to recognize animal sacrifices beyond Calvary, the re-offer of the kingdom could conceivably have continued indefinitely (as long as Israel remained in a position to, and continued to, sacrifice the paschal lambs year after year).
But, following Calvary, God recognized only the sacrifice of the Paschal Lamb, not the sacrifices of paschal lambs as before. And, on the basis of Revelation 13:8, one might say that God, in reality, had recognized only the sacrifice of the Paschal Lamb since before man fell, though seen and foreshadowed in all the other paschal lambs slain up to Calvary.
Thus, the re-offer of the kingdom could remain open as long as a saved generation of Jews remained on the scene (not Christians, but saved Jews [individuals still rejecting Christ]; thus, they could not have been new creations in Christ). But once this generation had passed off the scene, there could be no continued re-offer of the kingdom.
The preceding is why the re-offer ceased after some thirty years (from 33 AD to about 62 AD). The saved generation of Jews was rapidly passing off the scene, leaving unsaved Jews to replace them. And that having spiritual values could not have been offered to individuals separated from spiritual values.
And, aside from the preceding, a new entity had been brought into existence to be the recipient of that which Israel had rejected.
(By way of summation, note the Jews saved on the day of Pentecost, or Paul saved enroute to Damascus. Neither account should be thought of with respect to eternal verities. Along with Jews reached throughout the book of Acts, both should be thought of in the sense of the conversion of individuals already saved, i.e., saving the saved [like past and present aspects of salvation, with a view to the future, seen in the lives of Christians today].
The preceding is evident from that which is stated in Acts 2:38 on the day of Pentecost. And it would be somewhat absurd to think of Paul, a zealous Pharisee, not having previously availed himself of God’s sacrificial provision.
Also, on another note, unsaved Jews today [and it has been this way for over 1,900 years] are looked upon exactly as unsaved Gentiles relative to eternal salvation. Both have to be saved exactly the same way — through faith in the Paschal Lamb who died — not through faith in some unknown coming Messiah, etc. The matter is exactly as stated in Acts 4:12:
Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
In this respect, there are only two types of people in the world today — Saved [Christians] and Unsaved [Jews and Gentiles].)
The preceding should address the issues raised. Again, refer to the three books that I mentioned at the beginning.