We have endeavoured to identify ‘the steps of salvation’ that are consistent with the frameworks presented by each of the New Testament writers. This is an important consideration, because every Christian needs to be fully assured of their own salvation, and also fully equipped to minister the gospel of sonship to others.
The gospel of sonship is the most amazing message! We, the sons and daughters of men, were predestined by God to be born again as sons of God. The apostle Paul summarised this message as ‘the gospel of the glory of Christ’. 2Co 4:4. He explained that, through the preaching of this gospel, the light of God’s life is being shone upon a hearer from the face of Christ. If they receive this message, the light is shone into their heart by the Holy Spirit, birthing them again with God’s own life. As a person continues to turn their face to Christ, they are able to receive the light of His word that is spoken by the faithful messengers who are in His hand. By this means, the glory of their sonship will be progressively obtained.
‘First love’ is a term that Jesus coined in His letter to the leaders of the church in Ephesus. He said to them, ‘I have this against you, that you have left your first love.’ Rev 2:4. Although Jesus was initially addressing the leaders of the Ephesian church, the call to live in first love applies to everyone in Christ’s church. What is first love? When Jesus admonished the Ephesian leaders for leaving their first love, He was not saying that they had simply lost the feeling of love that they experienced when they first believed. We know this because He called them to ‘remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works’. Rev 2:5. We observe that first love is a place or context that involves relationship with others. Within this context there are specific works to do. These are the works that God prepared for the sons of God to do in this age, and in the age to come.