To experience fellowship with God is to experience salvation.
Pastor-Teacher Bill Wenstrom
Sunday July 9, 2017
Fellowship: Fellowship with God is Experiencing Salvation
Lesson # 3
To experience fellowship with God is to experience salvation.
They are one in the same.
Experiencing salvation is describing fellowship from the perspective that it is a deliverance from eternal condemnation, condemnation from the Law, spiritual and physical death, personal sin, and enslavement from the sin nature and Satan and his cosmic system.
The doctrine of salvation in the Bible is of course an extremely important one and very often misunderstood.
For many Christians salvation is simply understood in relation to justification.
In other words, they only think of it in relation to the sinner receiving eternal salvation through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.
However, the Scriptures teach that it involves much more than this since they teach that it is accomplished in stages.
The first stage occurs at the moment of conversion or in other words, justification.
The second occurs when the Christian is experiencing fellowship with God or in other words, experiencing their sanctification.
The final stage takes place when the Christian receives their resurrection body at the rapture of the church.
The nature of salvation is also misunderstood by Christians today in the sense that when they think of being saved, they think it is only about receiving eternal life and the forgiveness of sins.
They often don’t understand that salvation in the Bible speaks of deliverance.
The Scriptures teach that salvation is deliverance from eternal condemnation and it is also a deliverance from being condemned by the Law.
Furthermore, it is a deliverance from spiritual death, the sin nature, personal sins, the devil and his cosmic system.
At the moment of their conversion or we can say justification the Christian was delivered from all these things in a positional sense.
They initially experience this deliverance at their conversion but lose this experience by committing sin.
Confession of sin restores them to fellowship which is maintained by obedience to the Word of God.
They can experience this deliverance in time after their conversion through fellowship.
They will experience this deliverance in a perfective sense when they receive their resurrection body at the rapture of the church.
Our Lord’s death and resurrection provided the entire human race deliverance from the sin nature, spiritual death, personal sins, eternal condemnation, condemnation from failing to keep the Law perfectly, Satan and his cosmic system.
The sinner appropriates this deliverance by exercising faith in Jesus Christ which results in the Holy Spirit identifying them with Christ in His death and resurrection.
As we noted, the Christian’s salvation, i.e. his deliverance is accomplished in three stages: (1) positional (2) experiential (3) perfective or ultimate.
Like the church age believer’s sanctification, their deliverance from sin, Satan and his cosmic system is accomplished in three stages:
(1) Positional: At the moment the believer exercised faith alone in Christ alone, they were delivered “positionally” from spiritual death and eternal condemnation, the devil, his cosmic system and the sin nature through the crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection and session of the Lord Jesus Christ (; ; ; , ; ; ; , ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ).
By “positionally,” I mean that God views the believer as crucified, died, buried, raised and seated with Christ, which was accomplished at the moment of conversion through the Baptism of the Spirit when the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit placed the believer in an eternal union with Christ.
In other words, the “positional” aspect of the believer’s salvation refers to the past action of God saving the believer from sin, Satan, his cosmic system and eternal condemnation when they trusted in Jesus Christ as their Savior.
The believer’s deliverance positionally sets up the “potential” for him to experience this deliverance in time since this deliverance can only be experienced after justification through obedience to the teaching of the Word of God.
It also guarantees the believer’s ultimate deliverance at the rapture, which is based upon the sovereign decision of God rather than the volition of the believer.
(2) Experiential: After justification, the believer can “experience” deliverance from the devil, his cosmic system and the sin nature by appropriating by faith the teaching of the Word of God that they have been crucified, died, buried, raised and seated with Christ.
This constitutes the believer’s spiritual life after being delivered from spiritual death (; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , ; ).
In other words, the “experiential” aspect of salvation is used of the believer’s deliverance from sin, Satan and his cosmic system in the present moment.
But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. (NASB95)
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (NASB95)
Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you. (NASB95)
(3) Perfective: At the resurrection the believer will be delivered “in a perfective sense” and permanently from the devil, his cosmic system and the sin nature when they receive their resurrection body at the rapture of the church, which is imminent (; ; ; ; ).
In other words, the “perfective” aspect of salvation is used of the believer’s future deliverance from sin, Satan and his cosmic system ().
In , all three stages of the believer’s salvation are referred to.
For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us (experiential aspect of the believer’s salvation); 25 nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. (This makes possible the “positional” aspect of salvation) 27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, 28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him. (This refers to the “future” deliverance of the believer at the rapture). (NASB95)
Warren Wiersbe commenting on , writes, “Did you notice that the word ‘appear’ is used three times in ? These three uses give us a summary of our Lord’s work. He has appeared to put away sin by dying on the cross (). He is appearing now in heaven for us (). One day, He shall appear to take Christians home (). These ‘three tenses of salvation’ are all based on His finished work.”
Just as in the believer’s sanctification, their deliverance positionally sets up the “potential” for them to experience this deliverance in time since this deliverance can only be experienced after conversion through obedience to the teaching of the Word of God through the enabling power of the Spirit.
It also guarantees the believer’s ultimate deliverance at the rapture.
The believer can experience their deliverance from sin, spiritual death, Satan and his cosmic system through the omnipotence of the Spirit by appropriating by faith the teaching of the Word of God that they have been crucified, died, buried, raised and seated with Christ (; ; ; ).
 Wiersbe, W. W. The Bible Exposition Commentary. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books