By James Scott Trimm
You may have been told that you are saved, the Scriptures actually teach that salvation is a process which we “work out” (Philippians 2:12) with two primary phases. The first of these phases takes place now, but the second phase does not take place until the resurrection.
In the book of Romans, Paul lays out the two phases of salvation as follows:
“But Elohim commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Messiah died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to Elohim by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
The first phase of salvation is “justification” or “reconciliation”. This is the present phase of Salvation, as Paul writes elsewhere:
“For he said, ‘I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored you: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.’ “
(2 Corinthians 6:2)
“Who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Messiah Yeshua before the world began…”
(2 Timothy 1:9)
“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 Ruach HaKodesh…”
The second stage of salvation comes in the future, as the Scriptures state repeatedly:
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of YHWH shall be saved.”
“So Messiah was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”
“Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”
SO HOW DOES THIS TWO PHASE PROCESS WORK?
How often are we asked “are you saved”? or who often do we hear of “the plan of salvation” yet the amazing truth is that the vast majority of people who ask us if we are “saved” or approach us with a “plan of salvation” even know what salvation is or how to get “saved”. This booklet will explain to you, from the Scriptures themselves, what salvation really is and how you can be “saved”.
When someone asks “are you saved”? the natural question is “saved from what?” “Saved” is a verb that begs for a direct object. Yet many who ask you “are you saved” cannot actually tell you what they mean. What do you need to be saved from? The Scriptures, however, give us a clear answer to this question. At the time of Messiah’s birth, his mother Miriam (Mary), following instructions from YHWH, names Messiah “Yeshua” (the Hebrew word for “salvation”). Matthew writes of this event:
“And behold she will bear a son, and you will call his name Yeshua; for he will save his people from all their sins.”
Here is the answer to our question. Messiah came to save us from all of our sins. Thus Yochanan (John) spoke of Messiah saying:
“And on the day that followed, Yochanan saw Yeshua, who was walking toward him, and said, Behold, the lamb of Eloah who takes away the sin of the world.”
Messiah came to save us from our sins, to take away the sins of the world. That is what “Salvation” is and what we need to be “saved” from. Moreove this is not a “New Testament” idea, this is an idea drawn right out of the Tanak (“Old Testament”):
“Behold, YHWH’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear; But your iniquities have separated between you and your Elohim, and your sins have hid His face from you, that he will not hear.”
MAN NEEDS TO BE SAVED FROM SIN.
Now lets take a moment to examine these words “save” and “salvation”. These English words have a lot of baggage attached to them, a lot of theology that has been read into them over the last few centuries, instead of reading theology out of the words. As a result, it can be helpful to translate this same Hebrew word “YESHUA” with other English words that convey its meaning. Other words are “deliver/deliverance” or “rescue”. There are two Aramaic words that are used for “salvation” in the Aramaic “New Testament”, one of these is CHAI meaning “life, to vivify” and the other is P’RAK which comes from a root meaning “to separate” and invokes the image of one being “rescued” by being “separated” from a threat. In this case we need to be separated from “sin”.
Now that we know that “sin” is what Messiah came to deliver (save) us from, we must understand just what “sin” is. Simply put, sin is falling short of observing tht Torah. As the Tanak says:
“And if any one sin, and do any of the things which YHWH has commanded not to be done, though he know it not, yet is he guilty, and shall bear his iniquity.”
“But Yahu took no heed to walk in the Torah of YHWH, the Elohim of Yisra’el, with all his heart; he departed not from the sins of Yarov’am, with which he made Yisra’el to sin.”
(2 Kings 10:31)
“With my whole heart have I sought You; O let me not err from Your commandments. Your word have I laid up in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”
Perhaps the clearest definition of “sin” is given in the “New Testament” itself:
“Whoever commits sin transgresses also the Torah, for sin is the transgression of the Torah.”
(1 John 3:4)
So simply put, “sin” may be defined as “transgression of the Torah”. Messiah, then, came to rescue (save) us from transgression of the Torah (Matthew 1:21) and to “take away Torah transgression” (John 1:29).
This is exactly what Scriptural “salvation” is all about, don’t trust a thing that I say, look these Scriptures up for yourself! Elohim wants to rescue you from transgressing the Torah by taking away Torah transgression!
But there us a serious problem in being rescued from Torah transgression. The problem is that sin is bred into us. As the Psalmist writes:
“Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.”
While in Christian culture, a baby is viewed as the picture of innocence, in Jewish (and Scriptural) understanding a baby is the picture of evil. Now you may be culturally shocked at this concept, but allow me to explain. A baby is born only caring about itself and its own needs, it does not have the capacity to care about others. This is the very definition of evil. Ever since the fall of Adam, we have been born with this sinful nature, as Paul writes:
12: Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
13: (For until the Torah sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
14: Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moshe, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
15: But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of Elohim, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Yeshua the Messiah, has abounded unto many.
16: And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
17: For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Yeshua the Messiah.)
18: Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
19: For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
20: Moreover the Torah entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
21: That as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
This inclination to do evil is called the Yetzer Ra (evil inclination). The inclination to do good (Yetzer Tov), by contrast, develops in time as one grows older. The result is that there are two natures within man, each struggling for control. Paul writes:
“For we know that the Torah is of the spirit, but I am of the flesh and I am sold to sin… For I rejoice in the Torah of Eloah in the inward son of man.”
(Romans 7:14, 22 HRV)
“Because of this, we are not weary, for even if our outer man is corrupted, yet that which [is] inside is renewed day by day.”
(2 Corinthians 4:16 HRV)
“For the flesh desires a thing which is opposed to the Spirit and the Spirit desires a thing that is opposed to the flesh and the two of these are opposed to each other, that you do not do the thing which you desire.”
(Galatians 5:17 HRV)
The process of salvation begins with justification, but since “salvation” ultimately is the doing away with the sin nature, the second phase of salvation involves the death of Yetzer Ra (“inclination to do evil”). When we die, our Yetzer Ra will die with us, but in the resurrection only our Yetzer Tov will be resurrected with us. Through the death and resurrection of Messiah, we die and are resurrected with him. Through our covenant relationship with Messiah, we are his joint heirs. Thus when our Yetzer Ra dies and only our Yetzer Tov is resurrected, Messiah will have truly rescued us from sin and we shall experience the final phase of salvation: inheritance.
Romans 7:1-7 taken from my translation from the Aramaic:
1: Or do you not know, my brothers, (for I speak to learned ones of the Torah), that the Torah has authority over a man as long as he is alive,
2: As a woman who is bound by the Torah to her husband as long as he is alive. But if her husband dies, she is freed by the Torah from her husband.
3: And if while her husband is alive she has intercourse with another man, she becomes an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is freed by the Torah; and she is not an adulteress if she marries another.
Paul takes an illustration from Jewish Law. A woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive. She cannot marry another as long as he lives (unless he divorces her; she has no right to divorce) until her death.
4: And now, my brothers, you also are dead to the Torah in the body of the Messiah that you might be [married] to another who arose from the place of the dead, that you might bear fruit to Eloah.
As far as the Torah is concerned we die with Messiah and are freed from our former husband (sin) thus allowing us to be brides to Messiah.
5: For while we were in the flesh, the passions of sins that are in the Torah were working in our members, so that we would bear fruit unto death.
6: But now we are brought to an end by the Torah, and we are dead to that which was holding us, that we should serve from now on in the renewal of the spirit and not in the oldness of the writing.
The Torah allows us to be brides either to YHWH or to sin. When we are freed from sin we can become brides to Messiah.
7: What therefore are we saying? Is the Torah sin? Absolutely not! But I did not learn sin except by the hand of the Torah. For I had not known covetousness except that the Torah said, Do not covet.
Paul is concerned that his reader might misunderstand him and think that the Torah is sin and that therefore misunderstand his illustration as teaching that our previous bridegroom was the Torah which we are freed from in order to be bound to Messiah. Absolutely not! Paul says. Sin was our first love and former husband from whom the Torah frees us, but THE TORAH IS NOT SIN (it simply recognizes that we are married either to sin or Messiah) and since the TORAH IS NOT SIN then the Torah is NOT our former husband and we are NOT freed from Torah to be joined to Messiah. In fact the Torah is the instrument that allows us to be married to the Messiah. Without the Torah there is no marriage at all.
Salvation is a process. We receive justification and reconciliation now, but the completion of the process will ultimately involve our death and resurrection, only then will our salvation be complete.