Salvation 2.0: Calling upon the name of the LORD

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Chris asked this question in the comments:

Jay, what exactly does it mean to “call upon the Lord.” What Greek word is used here to denote this action? Is it a prayer? A plea? An appeal? Is it an outward display at all?

If someone said “so and so called upon the name of the Lord.” What’s the first thing one would think of?

Rom 10:13 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Acts 2:21 “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Acts 22:16 “And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.”

Chris,

Very interesting questions. Thanks for asking. Here’s a rough, preliminary sketch of an answer.

The language is taken from Joel —

(Joel 2:32 ESV) 32 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls.

This in turn refers back to such passages as —

(Gen. 4:26 ESV) To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the LORD.

(Gen 12:8 ESV) From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD.

(Gen 13:4 ESV) to the place where he had made an altar at the first. And there Abram called upon the name of the LORD.

(Gen 21:33 ESV) Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba and called there on the name of the LORD, the Everlasting God.

(Gen 26:25 ESV) So he built an altar there and called upon the name of the LORD and pitched his tent there. And there Isaac’s servants dug a well

(1Ki 18:24 ESV) And you call upon the name of your god, and I will call upon the name of the LORD, and the God who answers by fire, he is God.” And all the people answered, “It is well spoken.”

(Psa 116:17 ESV) I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.

The phrase has roots going back to Genesis and is associated with sacrifice although it’s not merely offering a sacrifice. Rather, it’s part of what it means to offer a sacrifice.

 

In short, to “call upon the name of the LORD” in the OT is to worship God or to serve God, that is, to claim the LORD as the god you worship as opposed to all others. Many of these OT passages speak in terms of someone choosing YHWH rather than any other deity as the object of worship and reverence.

Notice that the OT passages uniformly speak of YHWH (“LORD” in all caps) rather than some other divine name.

Interestingly, we find the same phrase in the prophets’ expectation that the Gentiles would be invited into God’s covenant people —

(Isa 65:1 ESV) I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me;
I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me.
I said, “Here I am, here I am,”
to a nation that was not called by my name

(Zep 3:9 ESV)  “For at that time I will change the speech of the peoples
to a pure speech,
that all of them may call upon the name of the LORD
and serve him with one accord.

In the NT, we see the same terminology, including —

(Act 2:21 ESV) And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

(Rom 10:13 ESV) For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

(1Co 1:2 ESV) To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:

In Acts 2:21 and Rom 10:13, the text explicitly refers to Joel 2:32. In fact, both passages are quotations of Joel 2:32 with Peter and Paul applying “LORD” to Jesus. And the amazing part of this is that “LORD” in the OT, when written in all caps, translates YHWH (or Yahweh) — the holiest of the names of God. Peter and Paul explicitly identify the LORD of the OT with Jesus of Nazareth. Paul further argues in 1 Cor 10 that several YHWH passages in the Torah refer to Jesus.

So in his sermon in Acts 2, Peter urges his audience — entirely Jews — to “call on the name of the LORD” for salvation, as Joel 2:32 urges, and yet good Jews would insist that they were already doing this — at the least twice a day at the Temple when a lamb was sacrificed on the altar before God. And so, implicit in Peter’s quotation of Joel 2:32, is the assertion that calling on God is not sufficient if Jesus of Nazareth is not included.

(Acts 2:36 ESV)  36 “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 

In saying that God had made Jesus “Lord,” Peter was explicitly identifying him with YHWH and insisting worshiping God without including Jesus as Lord would no longer do. It’s not just that Jesus is the Messiah or God the Son. Jesus is the LORD on whose name we must call for salvation.

Peter then announced,

(Acts 2:38 ESV)  38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

That is, just as sacrifice in the OT was a means of calling on the name of the LORD, in Christianity, baptism becomes associated with calling on the name of Jesus as LORD. The response to “everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved” (Joel 2:32, quoted in Acts 2:21) is baptism “in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38).

Now, there is nothing in the phrase “calling on the name of the LORD” specific to the Sinner’s Prayer or even to water baptism. Rather, the promise is given to those with faith in Jesus as Lord (Rom 10:9, 13). To confess that Jesus is LORD is to call upon the name of the LORD, bringing salvation as Joel promises — a promise repeatedly restated by the apostles.

The coming of the Spirit upon those with faith in Jesus, of course, was seen as confirming not just Joel’s prophecy but that the prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus and extended to the Gentiles.

Baptism was administered without controversy because it symbolized repentance, that is, the element of faith that requires the faithful to serve the LORD as Lord. The question of when salvation happened was not considered because baptism was administered immediately after a confession of faith.

In the Jew/Gentile controversy that takes up so much of Acts and Paul’s epistles, baptism was (among many other things) the church’s acknowledgement that this person was among the saved, a child of God, in Jesus, a part of the church, etc. It isn’t just an admission rite, but it is that as well. Having such a rite required the church to decide whether to accept a believing Gentile as a brother and mark the transition in the minds both of the converts and the congregation (as very clearly shown in the case of Cornelius).

Hence, faith in Jesus as LORD is central, but baptism is itself a confession of faith. These are not distinct, separate steps. Rather, repentance/confession/ faith/baptism all speak to the same thing — calling on the name of the LORD.

It’s not mere intellectual acceptance of who is the Lord of Hosts. It’s submission, symbolized in the OT by sacrifice and in the NT by baptism (among other things). In the OT, sacrifice to the LORD was to call on his name. It was to honor him as the God of this person and his household or tribe. Sacrifice symbolized a willingness to serve in a much bigger way than mere confession. Sacrifice was an ancient way of saying, “This is the God I serve and worship and count on for salvation — so much so that I will give up a part of my wealth and security in reliance on his promises.” To sacrifice a lamb in a society that might eat meat only weekly or monthly and that often lived on the verge of starvation was an act of great faith — demonstrating confidence in God’s provision.

Baptism in a sense takes the place of animal sacrifice. Rather, we die in baptism and count on God to raise us up as he raised up Jesus in newness of life. In fact, someone being baptized quite literally places his life in the hands of another. It’s an act of faith — but it’s also an act of submitting to co-crucifixion with Jesus — self-sacrifice. It’s a far greater sacrifice than a sheep. It’s an offering of oneself to be re-shaped into the image of God found in Jesus on the cross.

So, to me, submitting to baptism fills much the same place as OT sacrifice. Both are a way to call on the name of the LORD — by calling on the LORD to save while confessing whom we submit to as Lord.

Something like that.

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About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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21 Responses to Salvation 2.0: Calling upon the name of the LORD

  1. Larry Cheek says:

    Jay,
    Were we dead before baptism? Dead in our sins, or are we alive in our sins and die just before being buried in baptism? You bury the dead not live individuals. Yes, we die to sins prior to baptism, but aren’t we already dead in our sins?

  2. Chris says:

    It’s so interesting how everything ties together – In the OT, God accepted the sacrifices of animals. These foreshadowed the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. Because of His ultimate, once-for-all-time sacrifice on the cross, the OT sacrifices are no longer necessary (Hebrews 10:10-14).

    Paul tells us n Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing to God, which is your reasonable service.” Paul’s admonition to the believers in Rome was to sacrifice themselves to God, not as a sacrifice on the altar, as in the OT, but as a living sacrifice.

    We are to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and give ourselves completely. We become more like Jesus as we follow His example. It begins with our baptism (Romans 6: 4-8); (Galatians 2:20) and continues through a life long process of dying to ourself and living for Him.

  3. laymond says:

    Jhn 16:23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
    .
    Jhn 16:24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.

    in other words you are not supposed to pray to Jesus. But when I pray I end my prayer this way “in Jesus name I pray” showing God I believe Jesus was who God said he was. His son.
    I know that at that time Jesus was speaking to his apostles, but if it was good enough for them, it certianly is good enough for me.

  4. Monty says:

    Larry,

    Our baptism is when we die to sin. Of course the thought, desire, wish, has already taken place in our minds previous to baptism(repentance). We put to death the old man of sin(crucify him with Christ) and bury him. What is raised is made new(alive). We were dead in sins until we’re washed and made clean. Baptism really is confusing if you are trying to bury the old man, (who really isn’t old any more) because in your mind you’ve already been made new pre-crucifixion(baptism) and pre-burial(baptism). You’ve had a resurrection without a death and burial! In other words the new guy is birthed before the old guy is actually put to death and buried. But Paul says we are “raised in newness of life”. So now(if you stick with being made new previous to baptism) we have two different separate “raisings” to new life. Huh? Two separate rebirths, one previous to baptism and one in baptism. That’s just not so, unless the Lord makes an exception. In the rebirth(coming out of the watery grave) is when we are made anew(born again). Count yourself dead to sin but alive towards Jesus Christ. Anyone who had died has been freed from sin. Everyone unsaved is dead “in” sin. But only the saved have died “to” sin by committing to Jesus in faith through the act of baptism. That said, I agree whole heartedly with Jay’s new post. The first century folks who heard the good news and believed it got baptized A.S.A.P. as commanded, baptized pronto,then Paul filled in the particulars for what they had done( I feel pretty sure they didn’t understand all the ramifications of their actions at the time) in places like Romans 6. I’m not sure how that example and command gets postponed. Even if you didn’t believe cleansing from sin and the receiving of the Holy Spirit happens “normatively” at that time(at baptism) upon believing Jesus is the Son of God, it’s hard to miss the Biblical example of the haste at which believers were immersed.

  5. Larry Cheek says:

    Monty,
    Good thoughts, but I tried to ask questions leading into a concept that seems to be missing from our discussions. You see I really do believe that God does know what he talks about and things in this world follow his directive perfectly. Notice this conversation.
    Gen 2:17 KJV But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
    I have not found a translation which does not contain the reference to dying that day. The next two state it very clearly.
    Gen 2:17 CEV except the one that has the power to let you know the difference between right and wrong. If you eat any fruit from that tree, you will die before the day is over!”
    Gen 2:17 ERV But you must not eat from the tree that gives knowledge about good and evil. If you eat fruit from that tree, on that day you will certainly die!”
    It is documented by scripture that Adam did not die a physical death until he was 930 years old. Therefore, the physical death was not what God was speaking of, there was a part of Adam which died that day or God has misled us. It is very positive that there was a major change in the life of Adam from that day forward. God then sent man out of the garden with a message that if they had remained in the garden he could have eaten of the tree of life and would have lived forever. Now would that position of lived for ever been a reversal of what happened in the disobedience? I guess it would have been if man was only a physical human, but if he was more than a physical being (a living human being who also was given a spirit) then the death of the spirit which connected God to Man would fit perfectly with God’s statements. The spirit which was given to man was so connected to God that it could not remain with a sinful man. There is not a comment in scripture which would identify that Able had sinned, nor that Cain had sinned prior to killing Able. But, God warned Cain prior to his sin about what he must do. He did not heed.
    Gen 4:7 ESV If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”
    As the scriptures reveal Able was the first to human to die a physical death. Cain had sinned and was also given a punishment much like being put out of the garden. He did not die from his sin either, but he does communicate with God about the separation between him and God.
    Gen 4:14-16 ESV Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” (15) Then the LORD said to him, “Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him. (16) Then Cain went away from the presence of the LORD and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
    We have no record of how long Cain lived. But, his original relationship to God was never restored. Was he dead as far as God was concerned? Did God give him any blessings or help through the balance of his life? It appears that all God did for Cain was to be sure that he was not killed. Many humans today who have sinned appear to have a existence like Cain’s. That life without God has proven to be the reason many have searched out and obeyed God’s instructions.
    Many years later God set the duration of years for man’s physical life.
    Gen 6:3 ESV Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.”
    Would we guess that the man who walked with God (Enoch) and never died, ever sinned?
    We are told that Noah was even born for a purpose, does the record ever record a sin committed by Noah?
    Gen 5:29 ESV and called his name Noah, saying, “Out of the ground that the LORD has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.”
    Should we then believe that God’s relationship with both men was never broken by sin?
    This could go much further but I need to get to the point. When any man sins he dies the same death that Adam did while in the garden. God provided that sacrifices would atone for sins. So that he could again be with man. Today this is only accomplished by Christ’s sacrifice and our obedience to his call. Then sinful man is made alive (restored from the dead relationship with Christ and God). Physical death was not the death God was revealing to Adam in the garden.

  6. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Larry,

    You refer to —

    (Rom. 6:3-8 ESV) 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

    It’s a difficult metaphor — a slightly mixed metaphor — because we only bury the already dead. Hence, we can easily picture someone being crucified with Christ first (at the moment of faith/repentance)(v.6) and then being buried in baptism as an already dead person. That would fit Zwinglian/Baptist salvation theory pretty well.

    But Paul says we’re baptized “into [EIS] his death,” suggesting we weren’t dead to sin until our baptism. But if baptism is a burial, then it’s also a crucifixion, because the death we are baptized into is a crucifixion.

    And then Paul says that, like Jesus, we are raised in baptism so “we too might walk in newness of life.” “Newness of life” is really about not continuing to live a life of sin. Salvation is assumed and not the topic of the chapter. So under the Zwinglian interpretation, are we free to sin until baptism? What does baptism have to do with how we live our lives?

    It makes better sense if chapter 6 meshes with chapters 7 and 8 so that Paul sees baptism as the normative moment of receipt of the Spirit — which how we walk in newness of life, and then this ties chapters 6, 7, and 8 together very nicely.

    Hence, “newness of life” ties to —

    (Rom. 7:6 ESV) But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

    (The only other Romans passage to use kainos for “new”.)

  7. Larry Cheek says:

    Jay,
    I always have understood just as you have explained, I thought the text was easily understood in that way. What I have seen is that men want to apply is that the sin of Adam brought physical death to all mankind. They also have expressed that they thought that physical mankind was created to live forever just as God. They promote that idea when they attempt to apply that the sin brought on physical death. My point is that the death brought on by the sin is not physical death but (the separation between man and God, God called death). Part of my post was directed to the men, Enoch and Noah, which must not have sinned in the manner of Adam. God never removed his presence from them. There are no scriptures which indicate they were guilty of sins like the rest of mankind. Otherwise all men have been judged as sinners. As sinners they experienced the same death that Adam did, the separation from God, that is the reason that all had to offer sacrifices until Jesus. Even as mentioned in the scriptures you quoted, “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” The old self was that sinful man that had existed from his disobedience from God, this man was separated from God by the same “death” that Adam experienced. Jesus had authored the announcement that men had to be born again, this was not a rebirth of the physical man, this was a rebirth of the dead from the sinful separation from God. In this practice (baptism) the physical man does not die and then is restored to life. The physical man allows his physical body to be buried into a likeness of Christ’s death to restore the part of man which died from sin. Burying the old man which was alive as human but was dead (separated) who was without the spirit which would be reborn in the process of baptism (raising to a new life). The body is not changed through this action, it still is the same body but now has the Spirit restored which was dead. That is the relationship between God and this human.
    My conclusion; in creation the human body was never intended to live forever, it was mortal, the connection between God and man was intended to be forever. Because man sinned, death of that part of man became reality, man and God were separated. If God had allowed man to remain in the garden he could have eaten of the tree of life and then lived forever. What part of man would that have been? The tree would not have restored the part of man which God had pronounced death upon, it would have supported life of the physical body for ever. The dead man (separated) who had physical life was put out of the garden to keep the man who was separated from God from living for ever physically. All men who sin, die just as Adam did even thought the physical bodies still lives. Is it possible that a few men, Enoch, Noah and possibly other servants spoke of in scriptures were never guilty of the sin like Adam?

  8. Dwight says:

    Laymond, an interesting thing is that none of the prayers in the NT end with “in Jesus name” and were are told that He is the mediator between us and God. The concept of asking in Jesus name is within the context of His authority and power and yet all prayers are directed to God. We would not get the same results in directing our prayers to an idol or another god. Stating “in Jesus name” doesn’t change the reality of it all.

  9. Dwight says:

    Dead doesn’t mean buried. Jesus didn’t die upon being buried, He died Before HE was buried. He died for our sins, just as we were dead in our sins. Then we are buried with Christ and raised in Christ.
    Or when Paul says we’re baptized “into [EIS] his death, he is suggesting that we are baptized into the death that Jesus suffered for us. The parallel isn’t perfect in that Jesus was sinless, so he wasn’t dead as we are/were, but he did take on the sins of the world (death) and he died (death) and then he was buried. The only way to take on Christ then is to be buried with Him (baptism).
    There was talk of Jesus resurrection, which made the plan and faith assured and if Christ be not resurrected, then the plan is wrong, but then again we are resurrected in Christ, when raised out of baptism.

  10. Dwight says:

    I believe when God said to Adam “you shall surely die”, he was putting forth the result of their sin being death. It was a promise of punishment, despite the fact that they didn’t literally die that day. Just as God told Abraham that the land of Canaan was His and yet he hadn’t received it yet. Just as we are told heaven is ours, even though we haven’t received it yet. The promise is sure from God’s standpoint depending upon what we do.
    Their sin separated them from God and God separated them from the garden and the tree of life, which they had access to in the garden, which meant that they would eventually, but surely die in the flesh. Not all of God’s promises are within our expectant time frame.
    If man is in the flesh, he will sin in the flesh, but that doesn’t mean a rejection of God and many even though they sinned were with God in spirit, i.e. David (after God’s own heart). The only exception was Jesus who was God. We are called to become closer to God. Some like Enoch were extremely close to God and God took them closer. This should give us hope.

  11. Monty says:

    Dwight said,

    “I believe when God said to Adam “you shall surely die”, he was putting forth the result of their sin being death.”

    I agree, except that, he also gave the when of when that would happen. “The day you eat of it.”

    When they sinned, their eyes were opened as Satan had said they would be, only to their nakedness. They did however know right from wrong and they knew they had done wrong. They hid from God in shame. I believe they did die that day, as God warned. Satan said, they would surely not die. Well they died hundreds of years later, physically. But they died that day spiritually. They felt it, whatever it meant. We can only surmise what it is like to die spiritually, but they knew full well. Maybe for us it was the first time Momma said, “don’t eat from the cookie jar” and we did, and the cookie was good but somehow not as rewarding as we thought it would be because our conscience condemned us, or maybe that has nothing to do with it. As I said, we can only surmise what it means.

  12. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Larry,

    Not sure where you’re going with Noah, since he died a physical death, but Enoch and Elijah seem to have both avoided physical death — rather the same as Christians who will be alive when Jesus returns. Presumably they received immortal bodies by God’s grace without the pain of physical death.

    Noah, however, is charged with drunkenness post-Flood. Gen. 9:20 ff. I take the lesson to be that mankind cannot be restored to right relationship through purging the sinners. We’re all sinners — even Noah and his sons fell. Hence, salvation must be by faith — and so Gen proceeds next to the story of Abraham.

    I agree that Adam and Eve were not created to be innately immortal. They required the Tree of Life. Without it, their bodies were mortal.

    Now, in Rom 5, Paul is speaking in very broad categories. He’s not saying there were no exceptions. Obviously, some Gentiles converted to Judaism. Some Jews apostatized. Enoch and Elijah are exceptions from the rule that all died because of Adam’s sin.

    (Rom. 5:12-14 ESV) 12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned– 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

    So why they were exceptional is an interesting question. I mean, they sure seem to contradict the notion of Calvinistic and Catholic original sin — because they would have inherited the sin of Adam and yet they did not die. So very cool point.

    So if Paul’s point is the Arminian interpretation — that we all sin because of the brokenness of our natures inherited from Adam — then does this mean Enoch and Elijah did not sin? Well, the NT seems to argue that Jesus is unique in his sinlessness. But I can’t immediately find a verse that says that — plenty of verses that say he didn’t sin but none that say no one else accomplished the same feat. Maybe I’m missing something, but at this point I really can’t dispute the suggestion that Enoch and Elijah didn’t die because they didn’t sin. It would certainly fit Paul’s logic and further demonstrate the sacrifice of Jesus who not only died for us but didn’t have to die as a human at all.

    Now, my understanding of baptism might be a little different. I’m not sure. We may agree. I agree that pre-baptism we’re dead in our sins, meaning we don’t have eternal life but rather eternal death as our destiny. When we’re baptized, we receive the Spirit — making us partly divine. Pre-baptism we had spirit — physical life — but not eternal life. The Spirit brings life — eternal life — because the Spirit is eternal himself. He changes us from merely physical beings (Paul would say psychikos — soul-ish — because the “soul” is part of the natural, un-redeemed man. Everyone has a soul. Only the saved have the Spirit. See —

    (1 Cor. 15:44-46 ESV) 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual.

    Most exactly, “natural” translates psychikos, which means soul-driven, whereas pneumatikos (spiritual) means Spirit-driven or Spirit-given. Hence, we give up natural bodies (existing of mere soul) and God replaces them with Spirit-given bodies at the resurrection. The presence of the Spirit before then is our down payment (arrabon) — the presence of the Spirit demonstrating that God will keep his promise to give us Spiritual bodies.

    Until then, we’re a mix of soul and Spirit, natural and supernatural, mortal and immortal — living in the in-between already-not yet time before the Second Coming. But because we’re already somehow Spiritual — being transformed by the Spirit — we are being reshaped into God’s image and already have a presence in the heavenly places (Eph 2:6).

    So I’m not sure that we disagree at all.

  13. Larry Cheek says:

    Jay,
    I mentioned Noah mostly because of his relationship with God before the flood. God did not communicate that he was not a very faithful servant. Unique at that time.
    I do not see anything in your above message which I don’t agree. I would like to add that I really believe that this presence that we have in the heavenly places should be so real to us that in times of extreme stress we may escape that stress here by transporting our emotions or pain to the spirit realm. Through our faith, belief, that we have a place which is beyond this life that even in this life is a parallel to description of heaven, no pain, no sickness, no turmoil. I remember all of those Saints who gave their lives in the persecution and the account of the stoning of Stephen, didn’t the message state that he went to sleep. You probably have a better incite into what I am trying to describe. But, the greater the pain which is inflicted seems to have a numbing effect on the senses. It seems to me it is always the minor injuries which create the greatest amount of pain. Crazy, I don’t know just my experiences. Can a Christian escape into the spirit realm for comfort from many of this world’s attacks? Of course, that does not mean that we don’t suffer but our suffering can be limited by our faith in the future.
    Is it not true that there is a part of every human that never dies? Even the most vile of humans have one. Those who lived even before the flood had one also.

  14. Dwight says:

    Jay, Noah became drunk, but was not charged with drunkenness as a sin. The scriptures never say Noah sinned, but rather his son. All Noah’s drunkenness did was cause him to sleep very soundly, which is hardly a sin or crime. I know of people that do that without being drunk.
    Now did Noah sin…most likely, as did Enoch and Elijah (although not recorded), but God’s grace still was in place for them. And is in place for us, just on different levels. He no longer talks directly to man either, but through the scriptures.

  15. laymond says:

    Dwight said; ” He no longer talks directly to man either, but through the scriptures.”

    You might get an argument from Jay here. 🙂

  16. Dwight says:

    I know. When I say talk to man, I mean as in talking to man and then man talking back conversationally and not prophecy where he talked through man.
    The point was and is that God did have conversations with man and in doing so might have found certain men who were closer to Him then they were to the world in nature. This doesn’t mean they were sinless, but at least were worthy of being in God’s presence and not tasting death.

  17. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Larry,

    It’s an interesting thought — that we can choose to exist in the spiritual part of our existence in times of great suffering. The stoning of Stephen describes this —

    (Acts 7:55-56 ESV) 55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

    So you won’t get an argument from me.

    The soul, spirit, flesh, body, and self are all thought of as part of as a singular human person in Jewish/Christian thought. There’s no mortal/immortal separation. Either you are immortal or you are mortal. You not part one and part not — except that Christians are promised immortality and they receive the immortal Spirit as a down payment. We receive immortality at the resurrection — and we are entirely immortal, body, soul, spirit, etc. — but transformed into a Spirit-enabled, -empowered person — not mere “flesh and blood.” We’ll have bodies like Jesus’ resurrected body — which we don’t know that much about.

    I like Daniel’s language —

    (Dan. 12:2-3 ESV) 2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

    BTW, from this and many other passages, we find the “sleep” is a Jewish euphemism for “physically dead awaiting the general resurrection.” Exactly what this is like for the dead is unclear and hotly debated. I personally think we pass directly to the resurrection outside of time because God exists outside of time. No reason for the dead to wait. But to our loved ones left behind, it’s as though we sleep. But there are counter-arguments. And counter-counter-arguments, and on and on. I’m just glad to move on to a better existence and am not much concerned with the details other than to correctly read the passages. That is, whether I’ll wait in a paradisaical garden or pass straight to Jesus or whatever, it’s all good. I just hope not to find myself in a waiting room like my ophthalmologist has with old magazines and Oprah on TV. That would mean I made some very bad choices in this life …

  18. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Dwight,

    I don’t disagree with what you say about Noah. I do disagree with —

    He no longer talks directly to man either, but through the scriptures.

    Personally, I think the canon is closed (although God could overrule me on that point anytime he wishes), but I see no basis to conclude that he is silent. For example,

    (Matt. 28:20b ESV) “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

    And why pray for guidance and wisdom if God is silent? What compels his silence? Is there nothing that he could say that would help us?

    I think we err we assume that God speaking = new scripture. God has always spoken to his people in terms that did not generate new scripture. Most of what the prophets said in the OT and NT was not written down — likely because God was speaking to immediate needs. Why does this have to have stopped?

    I think the problem isn’t that God stopped speaking but that we stopped listening.

  19. Larry Cheek says:

    Jay,
    I was sort of testing many of our commentors, whether they would pick up on a part of all humans including the lost that does not die as the physical body dies. Just a few of the scriptures that conveys that idea to me.
    Mat 10:28 ESV And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
    As I understand this message from Jesus, the death of the body does not kill the soul, man can kill the body but only God can kill or destroy the soul.
    Luk 12:4-5 ESV “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. (5) But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!
    In this passage it appears that the body is dead, then there is a casting into hell, but there is no mention of a restoration of life to the body. My assumption is that the soul of the dead body is still in a state that it will understand the casting into hell. In other words it must still have life, if it was dead it would not be aware of the actions of casting into hell or have an awareness of what hell has to offer. Is or was there any man on this earth that did not have a soul?

  20. Dwight says:

    Jay, I agree that he speaks to us, on some level, and we often don’t listen on any level.
    I tried to clarify this by saying “When I say talk to man, I mean as in talking to man and then man talking back conversationally and not prophecy where he talked through man.”
    I don’t believe God speaks to us and then we speak back, as in having dialogue.
    God might speak to us, in ways we cannot understand, and we can pray to God.
    A nation that is worse morally than us that conquers us might be God saying, “You are not as good as you think you are. Stop being prideful.” This was often the case with Israel.
    But it isn’t verbal rapport.

  21. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Dwight,

    I would grant that God speaks to us in many ways — many of them, perhaps most them, non-verbal. But I wouldn’t place limits on God. I think you’ll find people in your own congregation who believe they’ve spoken with God. I’ve yet to find a Bible class that doesn’t have a member who has had that experience.

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