(EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the last of a five-part series written by Thomas M. (Tom) Saltsgiver, the president of Muncy Homes Inc. and Wirerope Works Inc. He has been involved in philanthropic giving and Christian ministry since 1985, when the Lord touched and changed his life. He has served in various positions on advisory boards of his local church, Prison Fellowship Ministries, Episcopal Renewal Ministries, Acts 29 Ministries, Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship International, The Sentinel Group, Regent University and The Christian Broadcasting Network. Tom teaches the adult Bible study at 9 a.m. Sunday at the G.A.P. Fellowship, 312 Maynard St., corner of Third and Maynard streets, in Williamsport.)
In closing, I would like to further clarify why we may have difficulty in embracing the previously delineated "Foreshadowing Theology." Could it be because of error in past teachings? Compare and consider the following two passages of scripture. The first is:
1 John 5:4-5 (KJV) (4)For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. (5)Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
Remember that Egypt represents the world and the bondage of Satan. God delivers us out of that bondage through the gift of faith, our believing that Jesus is the Son of God and that he died for our sins. THIS IS BEING WASHED BY THE WATER OF THE WORD - EATING JESUS FLESH.
Now consider this:
John 3:16-17 (NIV) (16)"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
At first glance we would say that this verse is making the same point as the preceeding verse. Yet the foreshadowing would say that it is entirely different. This verse is making the point that if you are IN THE SON and are a believer you have eternal life.
Romans 6:23-7:1 (NIV) (23)For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life IN Christ Jesus our Lord.
2 Timothy 2:10 (NIV) (10)Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is IN Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
1 John 5:20 (NIV) (20)We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are IN him who is true - even IN his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
Remember that Nicodemus asked Jesus: "What must I do to get eternal life?" Jesus answered: you must be born of Water and Spirit.
I believe that you must be IN Christ to receive eternal life, and you are not in Christ until you have crossed the Jordan, which is being baptized in the Holy Spirit, which includes groups three and four in the journey to the Kingdom of God.
I want to add that there is a difference between "eternal life" and "everlasting life."
Lastly, I want to make the point that you must always identify which group or groups the various books are written to; and not to attempt to apply those passages to any other group. As an example, consider the book of Ephesians.
Ephesians 1:1 (NIV) 1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful IN Christ Jesus:
Following the above logic, this book is clearly written to those who are IN Christ Jesus, groups three and four. Therefore, when you read:
Ephesians 1:13-14 (NKJV) (13)IN Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, (14)who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
This passage has been taught, that when we believe, come to faith, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit guaranteeing our inheritance. Thus the belief, once saved always saved. However, when you take into consideration that Paul is writing to the faithful IN Christ Jesus, those who already had crossed the Jordan, those who already had been baptized with the Holy Spirit, it becomes clear that Paul is saying to these in Christ that, having believed (Red Sea Crossing), they were sealed (Jordan Crossing). Paul is making the point that something beyond believing, faith, has happened to them. He is saying that, they, having believed, were sealed guaranteeing their inheritance. In other words, you can not cross the Jordan without first crossing the Red Sea.
Looking at two other examples:
1 Peter is written to:
1 Peter 1:1-2 (NIV) (1)Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, (2)who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.
These are God's elect (the Church), chosen (before the foundation of the world), obedient and sprinkled with Christ's blood (they drank the blood, they are baptized with the Holy Spirit, they are IN Christ). These people are in groups three and four.
In contrast, 2 Peter is written to:
2 Peter 1:1 (NIV) (1)Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:
These people have faith only, yet their faith is as precious as that of Peter's. All faith is precious; however, they are only in the wilderness and in reading (2) Peter they are warned if they have escaped the corruption of the world not to be entangled in it again. In another passage they are told not to fall from their secure position. These passages establish the truth of the possibility of losing your salvation while in the wilderness through disobedience and unbelief. This book is written to group two.
I pray that this writing will be in accordance with God's purpose in the revelation He has given me in his Word and that it will go fourth in the power of the Holy Spirit.