What is our part in the plan of salvation?
Brethren, at one time God existed and nothing else existed. At one time, only the family of God existed and they have existed for all eternity. The two beings, the one that we know as the Father and the Son, or the Word, had fellowship with one another. They talked to each other, they planned with each other, they laughed with each other, they discussed things with each other and their very nature was one of giving, service, one of outgoing concern. Now at some point in time, what we call time, but at some point in eternity the idea, the thought came to them to develop or to create life. Not only just life, but life of their own kind to be a part of their family and the question came up - How do we do this? I'm sure that they had to think that through. It wasn't just, "Let's do this" and bingo - they knew automatically how to go about doing it. They created a plan; they designed a plan to carry this out. We call it the plan of salvation, and it is a plan that God has revealed to us. They thought out, planned, what you know and see and everything that you can't see. The spirit world, the laws, the forces, everything. Let's go over to the book of Colossians 1:16-17 Colossians 1:16-17  For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
American King James Version×, and let's notice what God reveals to us.
Colossians 1:16-17 Colossians 1:16-17  For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
American King James Version× For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth,...so everything that's been created was created by God through Christ.... visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
The Lonida Lexicon says one of the meanings of the word consist here means 'He holds everything together'. So everything in this universe you find that God holds together. Now, it's one thing to plan but it's another to design something and have the power to create it; have the power to bring it about. When you consider the earth, how do you make a blade of grass? How do you design the earth itself? How do you create soil, water, a tree, animals, human beings, an eye, an ear? You design all of the complexity that you see about us. How do you create an atom and then create a cell, create an organ, create a system such as the central nervous system in a human being? How do you create a brain with the capacity to think and reason, to be creative, have emotions, feelings, thoughts? All of this has to harmonize and so the two beings in the family of God worked on this, planned it out. How long did it take them? Well, we don't know because they had to think out everything. "If we do it this way will it contradict something over here?" So they had to think it out. They had to create the forces and the laws such as gravity and all the forces to keep the universe functioning. Christ sustains all of this. Where does all of this energy and power come from when you stop and think about it? Where did the power come from to create all of this and the energy? What kind of a God do we worship? The Bible says that He is the almighty God, the all-powerful God so we worship a being who is supreme above all.
We find that God created in stages. We have no knowledge of how the two beings lived before the creation of angels and the physical realm. They obviously dwelt in the spiritual realm and dwelling, what was it like? We don't know. We know today that they dwell in a throne room. They have a throne, they have a sea of glass, they have power, they have rainbow colors about them. There are millions and tens of millions of angels coming and going and carrying out the will of God. So, obviously we know that, but we don't know much more. I am sure that there's a lot more to what they're doing than the Bible itself reveals. The indication is that first of all God created the angels and then He created the physical creation as we know. Back in the book of Job 38:4-7 Job 38:4-7  Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if you have understanding.
 Who has laid the measures thereof, if you know? or who has stretched the line on it?
 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
American King James Version×, I'll just refer to that, the angels were present when God created the earth. So He created the spirit beings, the angelic hosts first and in Genesis 1:1 Genesis 1:1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
American King James Version×indicates that the earth and the heavens were created around the same time. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth and so they apparently were created and they saw the power of God being manifest to be able to roll out the universe, to roll out the solar system, to roll out a galaxy and to create millions and millions of stars. We will read Hebrews 11:3 Hebrews 11:3Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
American King James Version×from the NET translation.
Hebrews 11:3-4 Hebrews 11:3-4  Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaks.
American King James Version×By faith we understand that the worlds 3 were set in order at God's command, 4 so that the visible has its origin in the invisible.
So the visible, the things that we can see and know, what we'd call the physical dimension has its origin from the invisible. God created another dimension, other than what He dwelled in. We know it as the physical dimension. Spirit dimension dwells parallel to the physical. Spirit beings can freely move from one dimension to the other. We human beings cannot do so. We cannot move between the two dimensions. Now once God set the plan in motion, His plan of salvation, there was no force in the universe, no power that could prevent Him from carrying it out. Who was going to stop God from carrying out His plan and to complete it? We read back in the book of Ephesians 1:8 Ephesians 1:8Wherein he has abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
American King James Version×and I'll read this out of the ESV translation -
Ephesians 1:8-11 Ephesians 1:8-11  Wherein he has abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
 Having made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he has purposed in himself:
 That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel of his own will:
American King James Version× which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9making known to us the mystery of his will,...so one of the things that God has done in establishing His church, is that He has revealed to us His will, His purpose...according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10as a plan for the fullness of time,...so God has a plan that encompasses the fullness of time and what is God going to do ultimately?... to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth...God wants to bring everything together in unity and in harmony. Then v.11 says...11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,
In the Greek, the word purpose here means a purpose or a plan, just as it stated. It is a setting forth, a presentation, an exposition, a determination, a plan that involves purpose, resolve and design. So God has a purpose. He has resolved to carry this plan out and there is a design behind it. God has revealed to us the overall elements of it, but certainly not all of the details. In fact, in 2 Timothy 1:9 2 Timothy 1:9Who has saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
American King James Version×we read this:
2 Timothy 1:9-10 2 Timothy 1:9-10  Who has saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death, and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
American King James Version× who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works,...you see we're called for God's good pleasure, we're not called because of our own righteousness or because of the fact that we deserve it, as it says here not according to our works... but according to His own purpose...so God has a purpose He's working out.... and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, 10 but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,...so God has revealed to us that ultimately He wants to give us eternal life. He wants to give to us immortality which is a degree of life even beyond just eternal life. It's immortality; to live forever.
God wants to build a Kingdom, and He's building that Kingdom around the first-fruits; around those that He calls in this age. We know He chooses people. Originally Christ chose the apostles; the prophets were chosen of old and they form part of the foundation of the Kingdom, the church Jesus Christ Himself being the chief-cornerstone. Now today God could have called millions of people to be a part of that foundation or to help in the white throne judgment, the millennium and yet He hasn't done that. He's called us and I think we wake up every morning thinking, "Why did God call me?" There's so many other people out there with more talent, more ability, but God has called us. He has tapped us to be a part of the advance guard, so to speak, to be helpers, to be servants in the Kingdom of God. This is why the apostle Paul, when you read his writings and you read some of the Scriptures that he wrote, he has such a fervor about him, such a desire about him to be in God's Kingdom. He understood what the Kingdom of God was going to be about. Let's notice in Philippians 3:8 Philippians 3:8Yes doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
American King James Version×what he says here.
Philippians 3:8-11 Philippians 3:8-11  Yes doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
 And be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death;
 If by any means I might attain to the resurrection of the dead.
American King James Version× Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ....so anything that he had accumulated, he looked on that as just rubbish and v. 10 why? Why did he have this perspective?...10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection,...That's why... and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
He wanted to be in that resurrection. Brethren, that is our goal, our purpose. We have been called to be a part of that calling. As we face the future, as we strive for the Kingdom of God, do we have the same burning desire that Paul did to change, to grow, to mature, to go on to perfection? Do we want to be in the resurrection and the family of God forever to live with God? You see, there can be no greater goal and this is something that must be our daily goal that we see and we look up to.
As the plan of God marches on in fulfillment, stop and think - God planned this out. He had a sequence in which events were going to unfold. God called Israel. That was part of His plan and there came a time when the Word was going to come to the earth. The Son of God and He would come. Christ came and lived 33 ½ years, set a perfect example. He showed how God would live in the flesh. He died for our sins and He was the first to be resurrected into the Kingdom of God. There is no doubt, none of us should doubt the fact that there will be a resurrection in the future because God has already proven it can happen. Christ has been glorified and He is in the family of God again. It's already happened. Now as time marches on we're now on the threshold of the resurrection of the first fruits. That's right around the corner. This is our resurrection. This is the event that we will be seeing shortly. Are we living like we believe that resurrection is going to take place? Do we believe that the plan of God and the resurrection is one of the next major events that God is going to work out? You see, nothing can stop God's plan from being fulfilled. The resurrection is around the corner; it will take place. Eternal life in the Kingdom of God is staring us in the face. None of us know how long it's going to be, but it can't be too far off. For God's purpose to be carried out, He has decreed that He has to develop helpers and servants to assist His Son in the Kingdom to bring about the Millennium and the White Throne Judgment.
We're referred to in the Scriptures as we know it as first fruits, also as the bride of Christ. We've been called to be that bride. God is developing us to be a helper, to be an assistant to Jesus Christ to help fulfill the plan of God. He has called us to live forever in the Kingdom. You and I are to become one in mind, one in approach. Ephesians 5 is a very interesting Scripture beginning in v 30 about becoming one flesh in marriage, about what it means, what it pictures, why God ordained that. One flesh in marriage is a type of Christ and the church.
Ephesians 5:30-32 Ephesians 5:30-32  For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
American King James Version× For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31"For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." 32This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
So what goes on in a marriage, in becoming one flesh, is a type of Christ and the church. We become one spirit with Christ. It takes the Spirit of God to make the bride, just as God took a rib and flesh out of Adam's side and made Eve. Everyone else was made of the dust of the ground. He took the rib and flesh and He made Eve, and you and I are being made through God living in us. God did not make multiple wives for Adam. He didn't say well, here's Eve, here's Suzy, and here's Sarah or whoever it might be. No, he created Eve. This is why marriage is so sacred. You cannot have several wives at the same time and be one in the flesh with one wife. We are to become one flesh with Him. Remember back here in Genesis 2:24 Genesis 2:24Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall join to his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
American King James Version×, when God created Adam and Eve, in a marriage a couple become one flesh. We become joined together.
Genesis 2:24 Genesis 2:24Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall join to his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
American King James Version× Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
The word joined in the Hebrew means to cleave to, to cling to, to stick, to stay close, to keep close, to follow closely, to join to and it's talking about a relationship where there cannot be any separation. Just like epoxy glue - you take the glue from one side and the other and you stick it together and it's stuck. It becomes one. We see that a couple is to stay close or to cling to one another and so on a physical level a couple is close in their intimate relationships, close in their desires, their plans they're working together. There should be no one else that you desire, that you'd rather be with than your mate. Your mate comes before everyone else; even your parents. Now we read in 1 Corinthians 6:13 1 Corinthians 6:13Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.
American King James Version×that our bodies were made for the Lord. Eve was made for Adam. God showed him all the animals and there wasn't anybody comparable to him, anybody that looked like him. So God made him a mate.
1 Corinthians 6:13 1 Corinthians 6:13Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.
American King James Version×, 1 Corinthians 6:15-17 1 Corinthians 6:15-17  Know you not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.  What? know you not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, said he, shall be one flesh.  But he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit.
American King James Version×- Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord,...God created our bodies for the Lord... and the Lord for the body...15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For "the two," He says, "shall become one flesh." 17 But he who is joined to the Lord...if you've been baptized and received the Holy Spirit... is one spirit with Him.
We become one spirit. We are to have in the spiritual realm what you see a couple in the physical realm. The Greek work for joined here means to glue, cement, fastened together. We are to be glued to Jesus Christ. Nothing should separate us from Christ. We should be joined together and that should be stronger than any joining together in the physical realm. There is a unique purpose for our being called. We are being shaped and formed and made comparable to Jesus Christ. We are to literally begin to develop His character, the character of God, take on His outlook, His mind. We are to become comparable. Back in Genesis 2:18 Genesis 2:18And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
American King James Version×let's notice here quickly -
Genesis 2:18 Genesis 2:18And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
American King James Version× And the Lord God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him."
Now literally, this word means a helper corresponding to him, or a corresponding helper. Adam saw cows, chickens, dogs, cats, and monkeys but there was no one comparable to Him so God made Eve. As a theological workbook of the Old Testament states about the word helper, while this word designates assistance, it is more frequently used in a concrete sense to designate an assistant. Helper is not a demeaning term. It is often used in the Scriptures to describe almighty God; that God is our helper. You go through the book of Psalms and you'll find that David cried out to God and that God was his helper. He helped him, he strengthened him. We're learning today how to help one another, how to serve one another, how to give, how to sacrifice. We must demonstrate to God our love for mankind and how do we learn to do that? Well, it starts with our love for our mate, our children, for those God has called, for every human being that we must have a love for them. Why? 'Because God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son...' God loved all of humanity and He's called us to share in that plan. Why did God institute marriage? Well, back here in v. 28
Genesis 1:28 Genesis 1:28And God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.
American King James Version× Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply;
So one reason was to be fruitful and multiply, have children. You'll find that God expects that we bring up our children to be holy and to have righteous children. They were to bring children up in God's way. Back in the book of Malachi 2:14 Malachi 2:14Yet you say, Why? Because the LORD has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously: yet is she your companion, and the wife of your covenant.
American King James Version×you read where God states this as one of the purposes of marriage. He's indicting them here; He says He hates divorce and He talks about how they've not been faithful to the wife of their youth.
Malachi 2:14-15 Malachi 2:14-15  Yet you say, Why? Because the LORD has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously: yet is she your companion, and the wife of your covenant.
 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And why one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.
American King James Version× Yet you say, "For what reason?" Because the Lord has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant.15 But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.
In marriage God seeks Godly seed and in the spiritual marriage dimension God is seeking Godly beings for His family and He has called us, He is training us to help. In the White Throne Judgment and in the Millennium we will help to bring billions into the family of God. We will assist Jesus Christ. You know in Genesis 3:20 Genesis 3:20And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.
American King James Version×Eve is mentioned there as being the mother of all living. Everyone sprang from Adam and Eve. The word Eve means living. Well, we're going to help bring all the human beings into the family of God in the world tomorrow. Revelation 22:17 Revelation 22:17And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that is thirsty come. And whoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
American King James Version×we read a summary statement of where this is going to take place.
Revelation 22:17 Revelation 22:17And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that is thirsty come. And whoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
American King James Version×And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires,let him take the water of life freely.
So God has called us, as the bride, to help people to partake of the water of life freely. To show the way, to explain the way and the fact that we have lived that way, we've been called, we'll be able to relate to that because we will say, "Look, we lived in the human dimension. We know what it is like to be tempted, what it's like to struggle and to overcome. We're here to help you." And we'll be able to help.
Brethren, the plan of God is sure. It is going to happen. God has been working on it throughout eternity. You and I have a special part in that plan - the bride of His dear Son. We've been called and prepared to serve and help all humanity who have ever lived. We're being changed by the Spirit of God into a family that is motivated by love, by the desire to serve, to help. We are striving to become comparable or compatible to Jesus Christ. If He is going to marry a bride, He has to marry someone of His own kind and so He is looking to develop us. We are being made a corresponding helper for God's son. We're close to the resurrection so we don't want to give up now. We want to remain strong as God has promised. Let's read one final Scripture in Hebrews 12 because it is so easy for us to become weary and to maybe slack off or to give up. Brethren, we're right at the point where the resurrection is staring us in the face, for Christ is about to intervene at the end time and we read here beginning in v. 3.
Hebrews 12:3 Hebrews 12:3For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest you be wearied and faint in your minds.
American King James Version× For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
You see, the writer of Hebrews was encouraging them not to become weary. The word weary means to gradually lose one's motivation to accomplish a goal. To become discouraged, to become tired of it. The word discourage is very close, it means to lose one's motivation to accomplish some valid goal. To become discouraged, to lose heart, to give up. We can't give up. We're too close. Let's notice in chapter 13:5 we read this.
Hebrews 13:5-6 Hebrews 13:5-6  Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for he has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you.
 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do to me.
American King James Version× Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said,...This is what God has said to us; here's God's promise to us..."I will never leave you nor forsake you."...In the Greek, this is double negative and a triple negative. According to West Word Study it would be translated I will not, I will not cease to sustain and uphold you making it a positive and then I will not, I will not, I will not let you down, leave you in the lurch, leave you destitute, leave you in a straight, helpless or abandon you. God has promised to do His part. Do you think that God sat down and planned all of this out and created everything and has been calling human beings to see His plan fail? No, God said, "I will be with you always" as v.6 says 6 So we may boldly say: "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear.
So God is our helper and brethren He has called us to help His Son in eventually extending salvation to all mankind.