Continuing from yesterday, I felt it necessary to explain salvation. Not in a New Heavens and New Earth kind of sense. But in the effect it has to us here and now. There are many preconceptions that when you are saved it is "instantaneous" and the effects are immediate. In a way yes and no.
Romans 12 verse 13, The next verse on from what we covered yesterday explains:
"None will be justified before God by hearing the law, but by doing it".
Now, remember that the law is simply an exposer of sin, and the revelation of God's expectation for us. It is like a computer monitor displaying something on a server 2000 miles away. Just a glimpse of heavenly morality.
So what does this passage mean? What is justification? Its a change in status before God. Its what follows repentance. In other words:
No one's status will change from bad to good before God by hearing the law, but by doing it.
This isn't referring to works either, as no one CAN follow the law completely, or should I say, no one can fulfill all righteousness completely- no one but Jesus.
This verse actually gives us a taste of salvation, and thus I chose this passage. The actual justification is not by doing the law, but doing the law is a sign of justification. It'd part of the salvation process, by being saved, the Holy Spirit does the work within us and thus we can "do the law".
By being saved we can be good! The NEB readers guide puts it succinctly (not):
"Basically it implies 'deliverance' from ANY kind of evil. From defeat in battle; trouble; violence; reproach; exile; death [and] sin."
I won't be so bookwormish as to define deliverance, however a little further down the guide names our deliverer, "The CENTRAL themes of the N.T. is the salvation brought by Christ.
We are still left wondering what this salvation is, is it going to heaven? I would say not, salvation is more about the battle being won by Christ, so that the work of justification can be completed in us, by our faith in Jesus. You hear about a New Heart, well the new heart allows us to change (for the better), and this is our justification, we now are able to do the law, rather than just hear it. Of course don't expect to be perfect, but we now do the law through love rather than obligation. Remember the two greatest commandments - "love the Lord your God, with all your heart, mind, body, and spirit. Love your neighbour as yourself", we follow those two commandments and they easily cover the other ten!
Now finally, hear the next two verses:
14: When Gentiles who do not possess the law carry out its precepts by the light of nature, then, although they have no law, they are their own law; 15: they show that what the law requires is inscribed on their hearts, and to this their conscience gives supporting witness, since their own thoughts argue the case, sometimes against them, sometimes even for them.
The "law", God's expectations are in our heart. By conscience! Not only for us but for everyone. That is the power of sin, to dull conscience, and thus deafen us to what God wants. Even carrying out the law will inevitably condemn us when we don't later on!
This shows that salvation starts here, because we are now covered by the blood of Jesus. Its almost preemptive! Jesus had won the battle and cleared our debt with the judge by paying it for us. So now we work upon ourselves and our salvation with "fear and trembling". It will take many years, but we have a new nature that will grow and eventually be US.
God bless readers.