Summary: Potential rulership in Christ’s earthly kingdom
Shiloh Bible Church
Lost and Found
A young man emerged from the Metro train in Washington, DC. The date was January 12th of this year. He positioned himself against a wall beside a trashcan. By most standards, he was nondescript—a young white man in jeans, a long-sleeved T-shirt, and a Washington Nationals baseball cap. He removed a violin from a small case. He placed the open case at his feet, and he shrewdly threw in a few dollars as seed money. And then he began to play. For the next 45 minutes, he played Mozart and Schubert on that train platform. Over 1,000 people streamed by. But most of them didn’t even take notice.
Now, if they were paying close attention, they might have recognized the young man. Joshua Bell is a world-renowned violinist. They might have also noticed the violin he played—a rare Stradivarius worth over $3 million. Bell did this as part of a perception project arranged by The Washington Post.
Now, just three days earlier Joshua Bell sold out the Boston Symphony Hall—with ordinary seats going for $100. In the subway, Bell collected about $32 from the 27 people who stopped long enough to give a donation.
Would more people have stopped had they known who was playing that violin? Would they have listened and paid more careful attention if they knew it was Joshua Bell? Probably so!
In Hebrews chapter 2, the writer tells us that we need to pay more careful attention to Jesus Christ because of who He is and what He has done.
In chapter 1 we learn that Jesus is greater than the prophets and greater than the angels. He is the Heir of all things, Creator and Sustainer of the Universe. He is the Revealer of God, the Redeemer of mankind, and High Priest. In chapter 2 we are told of what He has done. The writer of Hebrews tells us in 2:3 that Jesus provided a great salvation. But the question is: What kind of salvation is the writer referring to? You say, “What do you mean, Pastor Lyon? Salvation is salvation!” Well, the word salvation means “deliverance.” Sometimes the word is used to describe physical deliverance such as being rescued from your enemies. That’s how the word is often used in the Old Testament. But the word salvation can also refer to spiritual deliverance. And even then the Bible speaks of 3 aspects of spiritual deliverance.
There is initial salvation, which is past; progressive salvation, which is present; and final salvation, which is yet future. Let’s take a moment to consider each of these.
First, there is initial salvation. This is deliverance from the penalty of sin. When a person trusts in Jesus Christ as Savior, they experience this aspect of salvation. God forgives them of their sin and makes them a child of God. Because of this, they will not experience God’s wrath in hell. They are justified—which means that God declares them right in His sight. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith.” That’s past salvation—I have been delivered from the penalty of sin.
Now, once you’ve experienced this initial salvation, God wants you to move forward in your Christian life by experiencing progressive salvation. This is deliverance from the power of sin. As a Christian walks in obedience to Jesus Christ, he experiences sanctification—victory over sin. Philippians 2:12 says, “Continue to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” That’s present salvation—I am being delivered from the power of sin.
And then God will ultimately bring all believers to final salvation. They will experience deliverance from the very presence of sin itself. We will experience this aspect of salvation when we are glorified—when we receive our glorified body that sin cannot touch or taint.
So, there are 3 aspects of salvation. Past—I have been delivered from the penalty of sin; Present—I am being delivered from the power of sin; and Future—I will be delivered from the presence of sin. Now, too often we as believers only think of the word “salvation” in the past aspect—the time when we came to Christ as Savior and had our sins forgiven. But when the writer of Hebrews talks in 2:3 about our “great salvation,” I think he is referring to the third—and yet future—aspect of our salvation. At that time I will be completely and ultimately delivered from the presence of sin in my life. And, specifically, I think he is referring to the time when we will rule with Christ in His earthly kingdom in our glorified bodies. One day—in the future—Jesus Christ will set up His 1,000-year, millennial kingdom right here on planet earth.
You say, “Pastor Lyon, what leads you to believe that the writer of Hebrews is referring to this final, future aspect of salvation?” I’m glad you asked that question! Let me tell you why: it’s because of the context and flow of thought of Hebrews chapters 1 and 2. For example, look at …