The Difference Between The WHO And The WHEN In Salvation

Many times in the Bible (and everyday life) there is a big difference in the Who and the When – Who causes something to occur, and When that something occurs, are not the same thing.

For example we read in Josh 6:1-20 that God instructed the Israelites to walk around the walls of Jericho thirteen times in seven days, and then God would knock those walls down. Don’t confuse the Who with the When. The Who is God; he is the one that knocked those walls down. But the When was not until after the Israelites walked. Heb 11:30 makes this clear when it says “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.” It is clear then the Israelites didn’t knock those walls down themselves; they would have had to use battering rams and sledge hammers to do that. No, God knocked those walls down. But when? The verse says God knocked the walls down after the Israelites walked as God instructed.

We see the same thing in the II Kings 5:1-15 story of Naaman having to dip seven times in the Jordan river to be cleansed of his leprosy. Who cleansed Naaman of his leprosy? God of course. Did Naaman heal himself just by dipping in that little dirty river seven times? No, but he did have to dip, didn’t he? The Who that healed Naaman was God, but the When was when Naaman dipped seven times.

We see the same thing in the Numbers 21:4-9 story of the Israelites being told that if they would look up at the brazen serpent on the pole, they would be healed of their snake bite. See the difference in the Who and the When? The Israelites didn’t heal themselves by looking. No, God is the one that healed them. But not until they did what God said to do to be healed.

It is the same with our salvation. God is the one that saves us. God is the one that forgives us – because of the death of Christ – that is the Who and the How. But the question is – When? Does God forgive us when we believe?, or does he forgive us when we are baptized? When Jesus appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus, Acts 9:3-6 makes it clear that Saul believed in Jesus. So was he forgiven of his sins at that point – when he believed? Absolutely not, Ananias was sent to tell him what to do, and Ananias told Saul in Acts 22:16 to “be baptized, and wash away thy sins.” So obviously Saul’s sins were not washed away when he believed on the road to Damascus. Instead he was told at least three days later to be baptized to get his sins washed away. Now the baptism is not the thing that washed away Saul’s sins. It is God that did that – based upon the blood of Christ. God is the Who. The death of Christ is the How.  But the question is – When? When were Saul sins washed away? When he believed or when he was baptized? The text makes it clear.  Saul’s sins were washed away When he was baptized, and not before.

It is the same for all of us – there is a difference in the Who and the When in our salvation.  Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, I Pet 3:20-21, Gal 3:26-27.

One Response to “The Difference Between The WHO And The WHEN In Salvation”

  1. cswags9 Says:

    You are so right. Even when we tell these histories to the children, we emphasize the WHAT. Thanks for the reminder. I hope you and yours are well and safe. Cheryl Wagner

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