You Are or You Aren't
A believer has been saved from the guilt of sin (justification, Eph. 2:8), is being saved from the power of sin (sanctification, 1 Cor. 1:18), and will be saved from the judgment of sin (glorification, Acts 15:11). Regeneration is the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit in which a spiritually dead person is made alive in Christ:
5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
Usually people use the term saved to refer to regeneration— being born again by the Holy Spirit. If this is what they mean, then it is not accurate to speak of it as happening in differing amounts or degrees. You were either totally saved or you were not saved at all! To be a Christian means you have traded in your "filthy rags" of self-righteousness for the perfect righteousness of Christ.
Philippians 3:8 - 9(TLB)
8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ 9and become one with him. I no longer count on my own goodness or my ability to obey God’s law, but I trust Christ to save me. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.
You have ceased striving and now rest in the finished work of Christ—no longer depending on your accomplishments, religious grandstanding, or good works for God's approval, but only what Christ has accomplished for you (Eph. 2:8–9).
Thus you understand, with Paul, that " I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me ” (Gal. 2:20, TLB). You believe that when Jesus said, "It is finished," it really was. Because of this, "there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" ( Rom. 8:1).
On the other hand, if you have not been saved in this way, you are "condemned already, because you have not believed in the name of the only Son of God" (John 3:18). You remain "dead in your transgressions and sins" (Eph. 2:1). Consequently, there are no degrees or levels of being saved or lost—dead or alive. Either you are or you aren't. "Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life" (1 John 5:12).
To be continued, Sunday June 13, 2004