Last evening the church Life group which my wife and I attend studied Truths 8, 9, and 10 of the Statement of Fundamental and Essential Truths of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland and Labrador. Five attended. We opened with singing led by Leonora, my wife, and with prayer by Russell Froude; we considered the sheet on “The Salvation Provided by Christ” that I’d given out in a previous meeting; Ray Noble took prayer requests and brought them to the Lord in prayer; and we closed with lunch.
A copy of the sheet follows. I read the introduction and “Definitions of Experiences in Salvation” and others read the Truths from the Statement of Fundamental and Essential Truths of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland and Labrador. When reading the introduction, I explained that not all Christian groups understand the experiences as taking place in the order given. When reading “Definitions of Experiences in Salvation,” I stopped after each definition for comments and questions and we had a good discussion of some of them. I did the same after the reading of each Truth, but there was no discussion on them, possibly because it was getting late.
[MATERIAL ON SHEET]
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:29-30, ESV; all Biblical quotations are from the ESV).
Building on what Paul says in these verses, theologians identify a number of experiences in the process of going from a sinful state to full salvation. According to Systematic Theology: A Pentecostal Experience (Stanley M. Horton, editor, Springfield, Missouri: Gospel Publishing House, 1994), Pentecostals understand those experiences as taking place in this order: foreknowledge, election, predestination, calling, repentance, faith, regeneration, justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification (page 355). Below are definitions of each of the experiences and what the Statement of Fundamental and Essential Truths of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland and Labrador says about a few of them. This evening we’ll consider the definitions, except for “sanctification” and “glorification,” and Truths 8, 9, and 10.
Definitions of Experiences in Salvation
Most of the definitions are taken from the Glossary of Systematic Theology: A Pentecostal Experience (see above); they are followed by “(Horton).” Definitions of experiences not defined in it are from the Glossary of Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1994/2000) and followed by “(Grudem)” or from The Random House Dictionary of the English Language (New York: Random House, 1966/67) and followed by “(RHD).” Words and phrases in square brackets are insertions by me.
foreknowledge – the knowledge God has of things and events before they occur. (Horton)
election the choice by God of individuals, as for a particular work, or especially for salvation or eternal life. (RHD)
predestination – the teaching that God chooses [determines] something in advance. He predestined that Jesus would be the Head of the Church and that the Church would be a chosen Body that He will glorify when Jesus returns. Calvinists believe that God predestines individuals to be saved. This come from Calvin’s philosophy [theology], not from the Bible. (Horton)
calling – an act of God the Father, speaking through the human proclamation of the gospel [the gospel call], in which he summons people to himself in such a way that they respond to him in saving faith (Grudem)
repentance – a change of the basic attitudes toward God and Christ, which involves a turning away from sin and a seeking of God’s rule and righteousness. (Horton)
faith belief in God and Christ expressed in wholehearted, trusted obedience. Biblical faith is always more than believing something is true. It always has God and Christ as its object. (Horton)
regeneration – the Holy Spirit’s work of giving new life to the sinner who repents and believes in Jesus. (Horton) It is often called “being born again.”
justification – God’s act of declaring and accepting a person as righteous in His sight. God pardons sinners who accept Christ and treats them as not guilty—just as if they had never sinned. (Horton)
adoption – that act of sovereign grace by which God gives all the rights, privileges, and obligations of being in His family to those who receive Jesus Christ. (Horton)
sanctification – the work of the Holy Spirit that separates believers from sin and evil and dedicates them to the worship and service of the Lord. There is an initial act of sanctification at conversion and a continuing process of sanctification as we cooperate with the Holy Spirit in putting to death wrong desires. (Horton)
glorification – the final step in the application of redemption. It will happen when Christ returns and raises from the dead the bodies of all believers who have died, and reunites them with their souls, and changes the bodies of all believers who remain alive, thereby giving all believers at the same time perfect resurrection bodies like his own. (Grudem).
8. Regeneration or the New Birth
Regeneration is the creative act of the Holy Spirit , whereby He imparts to the soul a new spiritual life. This is absolutely necessary to salvation and becomes a reality in experience through faith in Christ in response to the power of the Word of God, for as the Scripture says, we are “born again, not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever” (1 Peter 1:23).
9. Repentance and Faith
The repentance required by Scripture is a change of mind toward God, and is the effect of the conviction of sin worked in us by the Holy Spirit. Paul summed up his gospel as “repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” [Acts 20:21]. The faith which brings justification is simple reliance or dependence on Christ, which accepts Him as the sacrifice for our sins and as our righteousness. The instruments through which faith is created are the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.
10. Justification of Man
Justification is a judicial act of God whereby the sinner is declared righteous. Thus we are pardoned and accounted righteous before God, only on the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, by faith and not for our own works or deservings. “He who knew no sin was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” [2 Corinthians 5:21].