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08 June, 2013

A Four Fold Salvation — Part 15

A Fourfold Salvation
Arthur Pink, 1938 

Not so much is revealed in Scripture on this fourth aspect of our subject, for God's Word was not given us to gratify curiosity. Yet sufficient light is made known to feed faith, strengthen hope, draw out love, and make us "run with patience, the race that is set before us." In our present state we are incapable of forming any real conception of the bliss awaiting us—yet as Israel's spies brought back the bunch of "the grapes of Eschol" as a sample of the good things to be found in the land of Canaan—so the Christian is granted a foretaste and earnest of his inheritance in glory.

"Until we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13). It is to the image of a glorified Christ, that we are predestinated to be conformed. Behold Him on the Mount of Transfiguration, when a foreview of His glory was granted the favored disciples. Such is the dazzling splendor of His person, that Saul of Tarsus was temporarily blinded by a glimpse of it; and the beloved John in the isle of Patmos "fell at His feet as dead" (Rev. 1:17), when he beheld Him.

That which awaits us can best be estimated, as it is contemplated in the light of God's wondrous love. The portion which Christ Himself has received, is the expression of God's love for Him; and as the Savior has assured His people concerning His Father's love unto them, "and You have loved them—as You love Me" (John 17:23), and therefore, as He promised, "where I am—there you may be also" (John 14:3).

But is not the believer forever done with sin at death? Yes, thank God, such is the case! Yet that is not his glorification, for his body goes to corruption, and that is the effect of sin. It is written of the believer's body, "It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body" (1 Cor. 15:42-44). Nevertheless, at death itself the Christian's soul is entirely freed from the presence of sin. 

This is clear from, "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor" (Rev. 14:13). What is signified by "they will rest from their labor?" Why, something more blessed than ceasing from earning their daily bread by the sweat of their brows, for that will be true of the unsaved also. Those who die in the Lord rest from their "labors" with sin—their painful conflicts with indwelling corruption, Satan, and the world. The fight which faith now wages—is then ended and full relief from sin is theirs forever!

The fourfold salvation from sin of the Christian, was strikingly typified in God's dealings with the Nation of Israel of old. First we have a vivid portrayal of their deliverance from the pleasure or love of sin, "And the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. And God heard their groaning" (Exo. 2:23, 24). What a contrast does that present from what we read of in the closing chapters of Genesis! There we hear the king of Egypt saying to Joseph, "The land of Egypt is before you—in the best of the land make your father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen" (47:6). Accordingly we are told, "And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions therein, and grew and multiplied exceedingly" (47:27).

Now Egypt is the Old Testament symbol of the world, as a system opposed to God. And it was there, in the "best part" of it, the descendants of Abraham had settled. But the Lord had designs of mercy and something far better for them—yet before they could appreciate Canaan—they had to be weaned from Egypt. Hence we find them in cruel bondage there, smarting under the lash of the taskmasters. In this way they were made to loathe Egypt and long for deliverance there from.