Written on January 02nd, 2007 by Shawn Anthony
Please Note the Notes Reference: Carlton O.Wittlinger, Quest for Piety and Obedience: The Story of the Brethren in Christ Nappanee, Indiana: Evangel Press, 178. Pp. x, 580.
On Salvation and Eschatology: Jesus and the salvation he offers all is central to the Brethren in Christ Church and ministry. The official BIC web site puts it this way: “As Brethren in Christ, one of our greatest joys is sharing with others the Good News that Jesus loves them. We are people who have experienced God’s saving grace. We have acknowledged our sinful condition and hopeless state before a holy God and have placed our faith in the person of Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. We are people who have embraced the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you would like to join us on our journey with God, it is easy to get started. And once you’ve made the decision to follow Jesus, we have resources to help you grow in your relationship with Him.”
The BIC web site does provide more resources, as promised, for those interested in further investigation of Jesus and his Gospel. See: How to become a Christian Four Steps to Spiritual Growth & Stories of Faith
The following are a few brief notes on terms and topics relevant to the Brethren in Christ understanding of Salvation and Eschatology.Regeneration/New Birth: New Birth is a foundational aspect of Brethren in Christ Soteriology (the doctrine of salvation). The terms “Regeneration” and/or “New Birth” are used to describe the personal experience that ushers a believer into a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ. A person who approaches God, just as they are, and repents for a life consciously separated, thereby embracing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, will not only receive forgiveness, but also a party worthy of a long lost son or daughter!
Jesus told a story in the Gospels about a foolish son who unwisely cashed out his life’s inheritance so he could leave his father’s home and live a life of party, lust, abandon and recklessness. He soon saw the lifestyle for what it really was … short-sighted and disgusting. It was not long before he spent all of his money and went broke from all of his fast living. His lifestyle reduced him to a starving person who had to steal food meant for swine to survive. He decided to try to return to his father’s house, beg for forgiveness, and to be employed as a servant, at the very least. His father’s servants, after all, were living better lives than he! So, he limped home. When the foolish boy got within site of his father’s house, however, the father saw him and ran out of the house and up the drive just to meet him and hug him! He not only forgave his wayward son, but he also put a special ring on his finger and threw a huge party for him! His son would be no servant, though he deserved to be! His son was a son!
Jesus was trying to make a point by telling this story. Jesus was saying, “This is what God is like!” This is what God is like when it concerns the forgiveness of our sin and our entry into the Family of God. It is so.
Regeneration: Occurs in a what can best be described as a pietistic or heartfelt conversion which marks the beginning of the Christian life.
Sanctification: Occurs simultaneously with regeneration and progressively (perfecting holiness in the fear of God) by the grace of God, in a life of dedicated discipleship characterized by devoted obedience.
The Consummation of Salvation: Occurs at death or the Second Coming of Christ (Premillennialism). I am sure there exists a variety of opinions re: Eschatology. One common point, and perhaps the ultimate point, is Jesus Christ is coming again. The exact details of this return are better left to the mystery in which they are - and always have been - shrouded. Jesus is coming again, though not meek and mild, this time.