III.A.8.b The Sure Work of Christ

Part  III – Application to Pentecostal Theology

Subpart A – The Pentecostal Renewal

Article 8   –  The Declension of Pentecostal Holiness

Section (b) – The Sure Work of Christ

Daniel Irving

To watch this Section (b in video format, click the following link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgtDfmuFxnM

i.    Theological Declension of Durham’s Foursquare Successors

ii.   Vitality of Truth in the Interest of the Church’s Sanctification

iii.  Prophecy’s Essential Title for Christ as “Sanctifier” of His Elect 

iv.  Effect of Holding a Model Dismissive of a Redemptive Work Subsequent Spirit Baptism

v.   Christ as the Faithful Performance of God’s Promises 

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Section (f)

THE SURE WORK OF CHRIST 

i.   Theological Declension of Durham’s Foursquare Successors

William Durham’s most famous understudy was the powerfully-anointed evangelist, Aimee Semple McPherson.  McPherson-Aimee clericalThe doctrine for which McPherson is best known she purportedly received by divine inspiration while under the Spirit’s anointing in her Oakland campaign of 1922.  This was her doctrine of the Foursquare Gospel which declared Christ’s role in relation to His Church as fourfold. Her inspiration proclaimed Jesus Christ to be: the Savior, Baptizer in the Holy Spirit, Healer and the Soon-Coming King. As related through an earlier article,  McPherson’s supposed divine inspiration was essentially an edit of that declaration made by A.B. Simpson in 1912 when his organization (Christian & Missionary Missionary Alliance) rejected Pentecost, causing the CMA to replace the title “Baptizer in the Holy Spirit” with “Sanctifier,” thus declaring Jesus Christ to be, “Savior, Sanctifier, Healer, and Coming King.”  McPherson’s inspiration to restore “Baptizer in the Holy Spirit” in place of “Sanctifier” was simply a re-reversal of Simpson’s 1912 reaction against Pentecostal doctrine and experience.[1]  But unlike A.B. Simpson, McPherson’s edit was remarkable in that she declared this title for Christ as a matter of divine inspiration in the midst of circumstances wherein the power of God was present and dramatic miracles of healing were occurring.  She declared her Foursquare Gospel with the authority of a prophetic mantle.Four Faced Cherub 01

We should acknowledge the fact that McPherson’s inspiration was extra-Biblical in that there is no clear Scriptural basis for a “fourfold Gospel” unless one resorts to the same vague references to which Ms. McPherson resorted, ie. in her case, the four-headed cherubim of Ezekiel chapter one.  Certainly there is nothing in the teachings of Christ or in the apostolic writings which describe Christ as having a fourfold ministry over the Church or which define the Gospel as a system of four.  Although McPherson was not the first to alight on a fourfold model of redemption, she was the means of establishing the model within Pentecost and to define the baptism of the Holy Spirit within her fourfold model.

The Foursquare denomination’s rationale for McPherson’s inspiration to dispense with the title for Christ as “Sanctifier” has been that “sanctification is already contemplated in initial regeneration,”[2] and “is progressive thereafter.”  This rationale relies upon an accurate summation of Durham’s Finished Work doctrine which renders no theological distinction between Initial Regeneration and Deliverance from Bondage to the Flesh; the latter being that “Work” which the Wesleyans believed necessary for the conduct and progress of true Holiness.

McPherson’s inspiration also suggests a sequencing beginning with “Salvation,” followed by Christ’s role as “Baptizer in the Holy Spirit.”  The sequencing of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit as following “Salvation,” was an essential given the broad Pentecostal consensus that a purifying of the heart must precede the baptism of the Holy Spirit pursuant the example provided us at Acts 15:9.[3]  Ms. McPherson did not accept that the baptism of the Holy Spirit represents empowerment for sanctification.[4]  Van Cleave-NathanielThereafter, it is only His role as “Healer” which we can expect until His Coming as King.  While her proclamation of Christ as the “Coming King” might offer hope in saving her doctrine if interpreted as His coming to the believer in Sanctification, this interpretation is expressly dispelled by the most prominent of Foursquare theologians, Nathaniel Van Cleave, who also knew Ms. McPherson personally.    Therefore McPherson’s inspiration (as least as it was interpreted by both herself and by theologians of her denomination) did not leave place for that essential work of Sanctification except to incorporate under the principle of Salvation as a work presumptively precursory to the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Consistent with Durham’s Finished Work teaching, Ms. McPherson’s inspiration omits any reference to a Work of Grace distinct from that of Initial Regeneration.  This distinct Work (referred to as “sanctification” by Wesleyans) was intended as that intervention of God called the “circumcision of Christ,”[5] which serves to release the believer from bondage to the flesh; the work Paul describes in the following verse:

But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly;  and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter;  whose praise is not of men, but of God.     Rom 2:29 

Thus the thematic doctrine of McPherson’s ministry had its purpose in closing the door theologically upon the principle of the Second Definite Work that had been the sacred truth held forth by the Holiness movement and which played such a vital part in eighteenth and nineteenth century revivals of religion.  The path taken by McPherson in closing this theological door, was that established by her early mentor, William Durham, through his doctrine of the Finished Work of Christ.  Thus under Foursquare doctrine, anything characterized as “Salvation” in terms of Christ’s role for His Church, is effectuated in advance of Spirit-baptism.  The work has “already been done” at the moment of the heart’s initial cleansing by faith.  Salvation is a Finished Work within which we are to but progress.  Thus the Wesleyan teaching of a future day of Grace wrought by the direct intervention of Christ for the work of deliverance from sin’s bondage was resoundingly overthrown as the Spirit-baptized were declared to be without need for a distinctive future day of Grace.

The Finished Work doctrine as expressed within the Foursquare denomination defines Sanctification as “already contemplated in initial regeneration,” and as “progressive thereafter.”    Is this true?  Is Sanctification already contemplated in initial regeneration?  Aside from the fact the word “contemplated” is vague, what the Foursquare appears to intend is that we are in some sense sanctified at such time we are justified through faith.  Therefore, at the time of Justification, there is thereafter to be expected a continuous growth into the image of Christ. This is not merely the Foursquare definition of Salvation, but this is also the definition of Salvation for all the Finished Work denominations of Pentecostalism, including the Assemblies of God.

The Wesleyan view (on the other hand) is that we must trust God for another event wherein he approaches the man for the addressing of Sin in his nature.  If we are found “under the blood,” so as to be judged as “in Christ,” we receive sanctification as a further seal of the work of God; the fruition of the promise made to Abraham:Abraham Journeys

For he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be reckoned to them.”                                                                                                   Rom 4:11

In Abraham’s uncircumcised condition he was nonetheless justified by faith, ie. meaning that something was lacking in his nature that was made up for by Grace.  But by Grace (via faith) he  received the “a seal of the righteousness of the faith” in his eventual circumcision as a definite and distinct work of God performed upon those He has Justified.

Whether these two distinctive operations of God occur simultaneously, or whether there is a considerable lapsing of time between the two events, there is a Scriptural basis for the Wesleyan view that they represent distinct events and distinctive dispensations of God’s Grace.  What the Wesleyan model did not rightly integrate was the baptism of the Holy Spirit, as the model was established within Methodism 150 years prior to the Pentecostal renewal.

ii.  Vitality of Truth in the Interest of the Church’s Sanctification

If this article seems overly fixated upon the subtleties of Pentecostal theology, it may be good to remember it was the particular subtlety here addressed which divided the Pentecostal movement within a few years of its birth and which constituted a substantial stumbling-block for the Spirit-baptized in terms of understanding the meaning of their baptism.  This “subtlety” has continued to divide the Pentecostal denominations and has arguably been a substantial cause in the failure of the Church to stand in the salvation she has been purchased.

In Isaiah’s prophecies we read:

And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.      Is. 59:14

Through the presence and viability of truth, judgment is allowed to go forward.  Where judgment is allowed to go forward, there is the prospect of God’s salvation being revealed as His Grace may be brought to bear.  This association is very clear in the prophets.  Therefore the very salvation of the Church is achieved through the process of judgment:

Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.                                                                                      Is. 1:27

Zion refers to those that shall be sanctified in Christ.  For Zion, there is no other redemption than holiness.  But how is this accomplished?  Wood Stove 03According to prophecy, holiness is accomplished via the “spirit of judgment and burning.”[6]  What does this mean but that our salvation has a direct relationship to God’s readiness to come to us in judgment?  So is judgment a good thing or a bad thing?  The answer would seem to depend upon how judgment is responded to.  For those grounded in the Word of God, having faith in the Person and work of Christ, responding  to the voice of God as God calls, and repenting at the call to repent, this principle of judgment is the means to sanctification and closer communion with Christ.  For those not firmly grounded in the truth of Christ, not having an apprehension of and faith in His Person and work, and resisting the Spirit’s call to repent, judgment is a thing rather to be dreaded.

For the redeemed of the Lord, God’s judgments become a place learned to walk within, and where His comfort may be felt.[7]  This is because as we grow in the Lord, we begin to trust the Lord more than we trust the false peace afforded by this world.  We know that when we are hard pressed by the hand of God, it will work to our good and will work towards the true humility and patience in which we may find rest for our souls in the bosom of Christ.

In the statement from Isaiah’s prophecy, “Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her repentant ones with righteousness,” we learn what is the intended effect of the judgment of God, ie. “salvation through righteousness” as the product of repentance.  But there is a profound problem with judgment going forth.  The problem is that truth is lacking, the lack of which, serves to derail the proper effects of judgment.  Recall the words of one of Job’s friends:Dirty Water 01

How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?                                                                                     Job 15:16

When judgment goes forth, Truth comes with startling impact upon the soul.  We begin to sense the wretchedness of our condition before God.  Our fallen and depraved humanity is revealed as a loathsome thing.  Whereas formerly, we stood in a sense of presumption as to our sense of self, we catch a glimpse of the spiritual reality of our fallen condition.  When this occurs, nothing but the Gospel of Paul will suffice to bring our head back above water; Paul, who referred to God as, “Him that justifieth the ungodly.”  For it is those who believe in this profound truth for whom, “faith is counted for righteousness.”[8]

This is the gospel of justification by faith which is so poorly grasped today.  For men either  teach the Gospel in such a way as to create presumption in the hearer that righteousness is somehow not the requirement of escaping damnation, or they teach it in such a way as to de-emphasize the exclusive role that faith in Jesus Christ plays in redemption.  For consider, that in the day we would be overwhelmed with the iniquity that our flesh “drinketh like water,” we must believe in the God “that justifieth the ungodly.”  If not, we are overcome by the judgment that is due our works.  If God is to bring forth the revelation of Christ as “our holy One” then we must not hold to a perception that we ourselves enter upon salvation in any sense by our own righteous conduct.  This would be the false hope, which if clung to, will overthrow our house when the flood comes.  Recall Paul’s words:

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;                                                                                      Titus 3:5

Unless a justification that is by faith is firmly established, bringing about a righteousness fit for redemption there is no salvation.[9]

The prophecies of Isaiah further relate the failed condition of the Church as a matter of the inability of judgment to proceed.  We read:

And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.       Is. 59:14

The failure of truth, means the failure of judgment, hence the failure of the opportunity for mercy, hence the failure of righteousness.  The prophecy reads that truth has not only “stumbled,” but truth has even “stumbled in the street.”  Clocktower 7 The allusion to street indicates the public knowledge or public awareness; what is being communicated abroad concerning the redemption of God.  For instance, in the prophecy of Ezekiel we read:

That thou hast also built unto thee an eminent place, and hast made thee an high place in every street.      Ez 16:24

In this particular prophecy, the allusion to “street” is self-evident, having to do with eminence, or notoriety, ie. what is on display, known publicly, or displayed for public consumption.  There is something on display as truth that is not.  What is “truth” has stumbled in the street.”   The injured  are those that would be sanctified; the Church of Jesus Christ.

iii.  Prophecy’s Essential Title for Christ as “Sanctifier” of His Elect

McPherson’s inspired edit ran in contradiction to the testimony of the prophets, whose prophesies declared Christ to be the Sanctifier of His Elect.  The title “Lord of Hosts” is used continuously  throughout the prophets in reference to Jesus Christ in His role as Sanctifier.  For example, in the prophecies of Isaiah we read:Lamps & Virgins 04

Sanctify the Lord of Hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.     Is. 8:13

What is expressed in the title, “the Lord of hosts”?  The Hebrew word translated “hosts”[10] is used 484 times in the in Old Testament.  Just a few of the examples are:

Ps 24:10           The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory.

Ps 46:7             The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.

Ps 48:8             . . . in the city of the LORD of hosts, in the city of our God: God will establish it for ever.

Is 47:4      As for our redeemer, the Lord of hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel.

Is 51:15            But I am the Lord thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared: The Lord of hosts is his name.

Prophecy even has Christ even repeatedly proclaiming Himself “the Lord of hosts.”  The fact that the word is used in the Lord’s title signifies that those over whom He is Lord is a tremendously large number.  Why would this give glory to the Lord’s name?  The book of Proverbs indicates four things which are “stately in their march”.  These are listed as:

The lion, which is mighty among beasts & does not retreat before any, the strutting cock, the male goat also, & a king when his army is with him                                                                                    Prov. 30:31

This proverb identifies those things which exude glory in their going forth.  Might not this be a reference to the “Lord of hosts?”

The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory.   Ps 24:10

Why would a “king” be glorified in his army?  Certainly because his army is a show of his power and his might.  But consider, when the Lord proclaims His title to be the “Lord of hosts,” the glory that is declared seems to be something else entirely, for consider the nature of the glory of His eternal kingdom:

“The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them;  & those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors’.   But no so with you, but let him who is the greatest among you become as the youngest, & the leader as the servant.  For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table, or the one who serves?  Is it not the one who reclines at the table?  But I am among you as the one who serves.”                          Luke 22:25-27

Again, why would the title “Lord of hosts” be a matter for glory unto the Lord’s name?

By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.       Ps 33:6 

The answer is that this vast field of the redeemed stand testament to the redemptive power of His blood, the truth of His person, and the love of the Father.   These bear witness to the mercy of God.  For “by the word of the LORD . . .  all the host of them” was made!  The “Word of the Lord” is a Person.  And by that Person, all the host of God are made, perfected, and established![11]  But what about the Lord’s response to a question as to whether many would be saved?  Recall this dialogue with Christ:

And someone said to Him, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?”   And He said to them, “Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many,  I tell you, will seek to enter & will not be able.”                             Luke 13:23-24

In this case, the Lord is asked a direct question; “are there just a few who are being saved?”  Instead of answering the question, He answers the reciprocal question, ie. “Are there many than will not be saved?”  His answer to that question is in the affirmative.  Therefore He did not answer the original question, but responded to it with a word of exhortation.  He told them rather to “Strive to enter by the narrow door.”  However, He did not give indication as to whether those saved would ultimately constitute a large number.

We find in the vision of John, that those redeemed of the Lord constitute an extremely large number.  For John saw “a great multitude, which no one could count.”[12]  We also have the Lord’s words to His disciples when He was describing to them places in the Father.   He tells them:

“Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you.  For I go to prepare a place for you.”                     John 14:1-2

Again, recall that He was asked the direct question; “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?”  He now tells His disciples privately that His salvation is being prepared for “many” who shall dwell in the Father.  He also tells them that had the concept of salvation been limited to a few, He would have plainly said so.  But since it was not true that “only a few will be saved”, and since it would have been misleading and given cause for presumption to tell the people that salvation was for many, He simply told them to “Strive to enter by the narrow door.”  For it is through our striving to enter that God’s salvation may be revealed to us in power.

Perhaps the most classic example of this concept that the children of God shall be very numerous is taken from the promise made to Abraham:Abraham Counts Stars

And He took him outside & said, “Now look toward the heavens,  and count the stars, if you are able to count them.”  And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”        Gen. 15:5

God tells Abraham to “count the stars, if he is able.”  The implication is that he is not.  From Revelation 7:9 we understand that in fact, enumerating those justified by faith in Christ unto an eternal redemption, is in fact an impossibility.  How can this be?  God told Abraham to literally walk outside, and He showed Him the physical stars of heaven that make up the material heavens.  He told Abraham to consider their number.  David himself prophesied wonderment that man is even considered by God in comparison to the heavens, the stars, and the work of God’s fingers.[13]

But consider even the material universe of stars.  Even the stars in our own galaxy cannot be numbered, for the stars of the Milky Way are like the sand of the sea!  Not only that, but stars are continuing to be birthed in tremendous quantities hidden inside vast dark incubators of stellar nebula.  Once a star is born, the power of its birth and the intensity of its radiation itself triggers the birth of numerous other stars from within the surrounding nebula!  Therefore there may be more stores hidden and forming than what exist for the eye to behold!  If the material galaxy of stars is this impossible to quantify, what shall we conclude then of the Lord’s “host” which reflects His glory in a way the material universe cannot?

Again, Isaiah exhorts we “Sanctify the Lord of Hosts Himself.”  What does it mean to “sanctify” the Lord?   The mercy poured out on the soul of the believer is what enthrones Christ as both Lord and Savior, causing the Psalmist to proclaim:

Mercy and truth are met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.                                                                                      Ps. 85:10

Until we truly know Christ as Savior, we do not truly know Him as Lord.   This is why many will say “Lord, Lord”, and yet be told; “Depart!”  In other words, they have no saving knowledge of Christ.  Their claim to Christ as “Lord” is not founded in the New Birth.  But once grace is poured upon the heart via the power of the blood, we will know salvation, and Christ will be enthroned in the heart as king.  In so doing, we shall “sanctify” Christ as both Lord and Savior.

Justice and judgment are the habitation of Thy throne: Mercy and truth shall go before Thy face.                           Ps. 89:14

And then, just a few verses down:

For the Lord is our defense; And the Holy One of Israel is our King.     Ps. 89:18

Again, we have a marrying of mercy with the commandment, as Christ represents our Defense, our Saving Justification, and our King.  We are obedient to God from the heart.

Notice the context of the expression “the Lord of Hosts Himself.”  The context is Sanctification.  This is the key passage correlating this title for Christ with this operation of redemption upon His church.  Thus, wherever we see this reference used again, (ie. “the Lord of Hosts”) the context and the meaning to be conveyed to the hearer is; “the Lord who sanctifies many.”   And this of course is a reference to Jesus Christ.  And so the apostle Peter tells us to; Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts.”[14]   Similarly, in order to sanctify the many, He must have justified the many.  And so the Lord tells us:

“You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them.  But it is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant;  & whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all.   For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, & to give His life, a ransom for many.               Mark 10:42-45Sacred Ht 01

This ability through the means of faith to sanctify Christ as Lord was made possible through His death on the cross.  For it was there that the hostility between “Jew” and “Gentile” was done away.[15]  The Jew signifies the hostility of the law against man, while the Gentile signifies the hostility of the sinner against God.  This hostility is only effectually done away by faith.  And so, Paul writes:

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.             Rom. 5:1

Paul is expressing that perfect place of faith that is truly justifying and which truly provides “peace with God”.  Paul refers to both offices of Jesus, ie. his kingly office and his priestly office.  He must be both our “Savior” and our “Lord” through faith.  This is sanctification as an operation, maintenance and strengthening by the Spirit.  The result is “peace with God.”

Isaiah goes further, to exhort the host of God’s elect to “sanctify the Lord of hosts Himself,” emphasizing that the true sanctification is the sanctification that belongs to Jesus Christ.  Likewise, we find that those that are ultimately victorious over the beast and his image are those whose sanctification is founded firmly in the Person and work of Jesus Christ rather than through any trust in themselves; for they sing the song of Moses, which includes:

Who will not fear, O Lord, & glorify Thy name? For Thou alone art holy;                                                                                    Rev. 15:4

This proclamation constitutes a key aspect of our sanctification.  To the extent that the inner-man perceives Holiness as  belonging to Jesus Christ alone, and that a saint, by definition, is one that exists within and is clothed by the holiness of Jesus Christ, is to the extent he will perceive the things of God; wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.  The holiness of the saints is none other than His holiness.

This is why the church stumbles as it does.  For until we apprehend that it is our death and not our righteous life that pleases God, we continue vainly under the first covenant wherein we raise up an idol as a contender to Christ.  We build our house upon a foundation of sand; doomed before it begins.  The sanctifying of Jesus Christ is typified in the mountain of transfiguration.  Peter reminds the church of this in his second letter:

And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.                            II Peter 1:18

The “holy mount” to which Peter refers, is a figure for the Church’s ascent into the sanctification of Jesus Christ wherein the divided house of Israel (represented by Moses and Elijah) is restored via the sanctification of Christ alone.  For recall that after Peter had awkwardly spoken of building a tabernacle for Moses and for Elijah, and for Jesus, He seems to have been rebuked by the voice from heaven.  The culmination of their ascent is that . . .

. . .  when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.                                                                                      Matt. 17:8

Why is it important to keep the Lord always before our eyes?  Recall whom the Lord is:

. . .  the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:   Col  1:15

Jesus Christ is the object of our Sanctification.  God reveals His Son, and we keep that holy image before our eyes through abiding in His Spirit.

iv. Effect of Holding a Model Dismissive of a Redemptive Work Subsequent Spirit Baptism

The dynamic established by the Finished Work doctrine wherein the evangelistic message assumed the place of a comprehensive explanation of redemption, seems to have caused the Church to neglect many of the original principles laid down by Christ and the apostles.  Apostolic Faith Group 1910Left without its doctrine of a Day of Grace to which it could look in its striving against sin and Satan, the Church of the Spirit-baptized, wandered into other areas of interest tangential if not entirely adverse to the kingdom of God.  Without the Church’s eye being single upon the Person of Jesus Christ and His work upon the Cross, judgment itself could not proceed so as to bring about the knowledge of Salvation that is the knowledge of God.

The Finished Workers perceived their “Day of Salvation” as behind them.  The Second Workers perceived their “Day of Salvation” as fulfilled prior to the Spirit’s baptism.  As to God’s power to intervene on behalf of those striving for the perfection of Christ, neither the Finished Workers nor  the Second Workers frankly saw the need.    Neither doctrine constituted an adequate explanation of redemption in relation to Pentecost.  But to dispense entirely with Holiness teaching seems to have been a course which diverted the greater part of the Pentecostal movement from its objective of Sanctification.

v.  Christ as the Faithful Performance of God’s Promises

Early Pentecost was looking for a comprehensive doctrine that would accommodate the event of the baptism of the Holy Spirit within the existing theological framework of the nineteenth-century.  The existing theological framework of the time consisted of two converse views of redemption; the Wesleyan view which looked for a Salvation to come; a work to be performed.  The Baptistic view looked backward upon the day of Salvation as already having occurred.  They perceived Salvation as a thing accomplished.

As to the principle of Salvation, the language of Scripture accommodates both a past and future orientation toward salvation, e.g.

Past Tense Salvation

Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling . . .               II Tim. 1:9

And he saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.                             Ps. 106:10

And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.     Luke 7:50

Future Tense Salvation

Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.                                                                                     Ps. 80:3

But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.                                                                                    Mat.t 24:13

  Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.                                Rom. 5:9

. . . that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.                                                                                       I Cor. 5:5

The baptism of the Holy Spirit brought this issue of Salvation to a boil.  As a broad generalization, the Second Work Pentecostals, viewing the baptism as a finishing of their sanctification, waded out into deeper waters of presumption concerning their condition before God.  In this respect their doctrine admonished them to preserve something that God likely had purpose in tearing down.  Also as a broad generalization, the Finished Work Pentecostals perceived themselves as “saved” with the issue of Sanctification casting little shadow of concern upon their mind.  Their doctrine of looking backward at a work “performed” served to insulate them from the stresses of seeking to enter that which lay before them, ie. the kingdom of God.  The issue was framed for Pentecostals in the word “WORK”; and certainly as God’s Work.  In actuality both doctrinal positions could have defined their view of redemption as the “Finished Work” as the Second Work Pentecostals (having received the baptism) perceived the Work as “finished” at Baptism.

Within the Pentecostal assembly, each newly anointed member of the body of Christ will inevitably ask himself/herself this question; “Is my baptism at the hand of Christ the evidence I have been saved?”  While this would require a lengthy study, we might rely upon Jude’s epistle to warn us away from this assumption.  He writes:

  I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.                   Jude 1:5

Nonetheless, we are called and baptized into the body of Christ for the purpose of Salvation; a purpose that can be resisted unto our own perdition.  But through abiding in the hope of salvation we shall be saved through the work of Christ in His Church, which is succinctly stated by the apostle Paul in words which should give us much hope:

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:                            Phil. 1:6

If he hath begun it, then He will perform it.  This must be true whether we have known the power of God to bear upon our soul in an act of kingdom power prior to our baptism, or whether we have as yet to experience such a day of Grace even though we have known the Spirit’s baptism.  But certainly we may take the baptism of the Holy Spirit as evidence and a sure sign that God will perform the work He has promised to perform to deliver Israel from all her enemies through the revelation of His Son.

  To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.                                                                                    Luke 1:72-75


[1] See Part I, Subpart G, Article 7 The Foursquare Gospel of Aimee Semple McPherson.

[2] “Initial regeneration” (as used by Pentecostals) refers to the initial operation of faith in Christ (particularly as emphasizing the atonement) that works the cleansing of conscience, allowing one to receive the Holy Spirit’s baptism.  (Acts 15:9)  The cited explanation of the Foursquare that “sanctification is already contemplated in initial regeneration,”[2] and is progressive thereafter” can be found in the official Foursquare history authored by Foursquare theologian Nathaniel Van Cleave;  The Vine and the Branches; A History of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, by Nathaniel M. Van Cleave © 1992 International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, Los Angeles, CA at pg. 76

[3] Act 15:9  And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

[4] “Second, in her understanding, the title, “Baptizer with the Spirit” implied the giver of power for service, rather than for sanctification.” The Vine and the Branches; A History of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, by Nathaniel M. Van Cleave © 1992 International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, Los Angeles, CA at pg. 76.

[5] Colossians 2:11

[6] See Isaiah 4:4  “by the spirit of judgment & the spirit of burning.”

[7] See Andrew Murray’s Waiting on God – chapter 19 for a good teaching on this principle.

[8] Romans 4:5

[9] John 5:34

[10] (Strong’s No. 6635)  tsaw-bah’ meaning; a mass of persons, battle company, hosts

[11] See commentary on Revelation 17:14  for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful”

[12] Revelation 7:9  “a great multitude, which no one could count.”

[13] Psalm 8:3  When I consider Thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon & the stars, which thous hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him. . .”

[14] I Peter 3:15

[15] Ephesians 2:15-16

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About Lamp-Stand

I was converted to the faith of Jesus Christ in 1982 at which time I received water baptism and Spirit baptism. In the Spring of 2008 I was led of the Spirit through a process of repentance upon which I had an encounter with Christ that worked a profound change upon my inner being. I became aware that I had been forgiven a great debt of sin. I soon felt the Lord's direction that I close my office that my energies not be divided from the study of doctrine.
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