Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 2 Study # 2
Thesis: Salvation has two crucial methodological elements to it: the Spirit's work of "sanctification" and the Truth's work of "faith".
Introduction: In our study last week we considered the question of how grace and obligation fit together and we saw that the bottom line is that grace does not eliminate obligation but, rather, provides a different way for it to be met.
This evening we are going to look into Paul's explanation of the details of how salvation becomes our experience.
January 17, 2015
- I. The Text's Main Issue: God's Choice of Human Beings From the Beginning Unto Salvation.
- A. The choice is rooted in grace.
- B. The objective is identified as "salvation".
- II. The Secondary Issues: the Divine/Human Aspects Involved in the Methodology of That Salvation.
- A. There are grammatical issues directly involved.
- 1. There is the use of "en" in all of its ambiguous glory.
- 2. There is the parallel grammar in the phrases "sanctification of Spirit" and "faith of truth".
- B. There are contextual/theological issues also directly involved.
- 1. In the prior texts of 1 Thessalonians 4:3 and 7, "sanctification" is the will of God to which we are called, and in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 "sanctification" is the work of "God Himself".
- 2. And in the majority of texts in 1 Thessalonians regarding "faith" (6 out of 8 of them) the issue is "your faith", and this is followed in 2 Thessalonians with five more references to "faith", four of which are tied to "faith" as a human response to divine promises.
- C. The most straightforward conclusion we can draw is that Paul is deliberately dealing with how God's choice of us for salvation actually comes to pass in our history.
- 1. The genitive case of Greek nouns generally signals either "origin" or "possession".
- 2. Since the issue is the question of how God's choices work out in history, it is more than likely that the genitives in our text are about the "origins" of those two major issues involved in a person coming to experience salvation.
- III. The God Side of Salvation: Sanctification.
- A. Paul's terminology can be interpretively translated "by means of a sanctification that has its roots in the work of the Spirit of God".
- B. At issue is the concept of "sanctification".
- 1. Its most fundamental meaning is "to give someone/thing a definitive identity by association".
- a. The word used is found in ten texts in the New Testament wherein the translators of the Authorized Version decided to translate five with "holiness" and the other five with "sanctification".
- b. The verb that stand behind the noun is used twenty-six times, several of which follow the more secular concept of being dedicated to the requirements of some entity or person rather than the "religious" concept of being separated from sin unto God.
- 1) Matthew 23:17 and 19 both use the verbal idea to impart the meaning "that gives the thing involved (gold and gift) its special identity".
- 2) Acts 20:32 and 26:18 both use the verbal idea to impart an identity "The Sanctified".
- 2. In our text, the identity issue is "The Chosen unto Salvation".
- 3. The issue is how that choice becomes reality.
- a. Throughout the Scriptures, "salvation" is "by faith" with its undercurrents of "love".
- b. Thus the choice becomes reality by the steps taken by God to bring a person to the point of the faith that justifies.
- c. Our text puts all of the individual parts of those "steps" into the hands of the Spirit of God.
- 1) He is the One sent from heaven to convince the world of certain issues involved in the origins of "faith".
- 2) His "fruit" is the production of "faith" among other things.
- IV. The Human Side of Salvation: Faith.
- A. Paul's words can be interpretively translated "by means of a faith that has its origins in the impact truth makes upon the mind/heart".
- B. At issue are the concepts of "faith" and "truth".
- 1. "Faith" is an attitude of heart that renders "submission" to what is deemed "true".
- a. It is not an "act of the will"; the "will" follows the persuasion that causes a thing to be deemed "true".
- b. It is not a function of the mind; the "mind" is simply the receiver, and sorter, of data coming in through the five senses.
- c. It is a function of the soul; the "soul" is the discerner of the impact(s) the data indicates is coming and sits as governor over how the mind and will are going to be used to bring about a happy ending.
- d. It is a function of the heart: the "heart" is the repository of the values held in tension and presses the "soul" to accept what comes across as "true".
- 2. "Truth" is both an objective reality and a subjective perception that is impressed upon the heart and soul and mind and will by external impressions and subjective perceptions.
- a. "Truth" is an impossible conclusion by any manner of human efforts: the data is too large and the values are too complex in their interrelationships.
- b. The Holy Spirit is called "The Spirit of Truth" because He alone can bring the level of conviction necessary for a human being to be convinced that a thing is true or not.
- C. The bottom line on this "human" side of the coin is that "faith" is, ultimately, a yielding to the obvious.
- 1. The "obvious" is, of course, not obvious by its own objectivity.
- 2. The "obvious" is, ultimately, what the various "persuaders" manage to bring to the table.
- 3. For "salvation" to occur, the Spirit has to be the "Persuader" and He is without parallel in the creation as such.