Holding to Truth

holding to truth in love for the building up of the Body of Christ

Is Your Salvation Regeneration or a Reservation?

Not long ago, I had the occasion to  attend a funeral service for a deceased Christian friend.

The funeral message was given with the good intention of  helping any unsaved family or friends to hear the gospel. I can summarize the essence  of the message in a few sentences:

  1. Your deceased loved one believed in Jesus Christ as their  Savior.
  2. You can rest assured that they have their reservation for heaven.
  3. How about you?
  4. You can get your reservation for heaven today.

This is certainly a salvation that many people have heard of today–a “reservation” for  the future bliss of heaven.  However, they may never have heard the  gospel concerning  “regeneration–a salvation bringing us into the present experience of God’s life here and  now.  So in this post, we’ll consider the difference between  “regeneration” and  a “reservation.”

“Regeneration” with the divine seed brings you God’s life today.

In 1 Pet. 1:23, Peter said,

“Having been regenerated not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible, through the living and abiding word of God.”

When we believe God’s living Word proclaimed to us as the gospel, we’re regenerated. That is, God’s word of life conveys God’s life into our spirit for our regeneration.

“Regeneration,” or being “born again” is literally a divine birth in which we receive the divine, eternal life and nature of God into our spirit right now—John 3:6.

In this divine birth, the wonderful Lord Jesus, in whom we believe, comes into us to be our life (Col. 3:4a). He, as the resurrected Lord, the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor 15:45b) enters into a present life-union with us. Paul said in 1 Cor. 6:17,

“But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit.”

Our life-union with this wonderful Person in us is for us to enjoy both now and for eternity.

John 5:11-12 says,

“And this is the testimony, that God gave to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life…”

This eternal life has already been given to the Lord’s believers and is our present possession and enjoyment in Christ today. There is no need to wait for eternity.

You may want to tweet this:

The eternal life we receive from our regeneration is our present “capital” to live the Christian life!

A “reservation” for the “mansions” in John 14:2 leaves you waiting.

The mistaken interpretation of John 14—“In my Father’s house are many mansions…I go to prepare a place for you”—has led many people to set their hope on a place rather than on a Person…Hence, a “reservation.”

A better rendering of John 14:2 is “abodes,” not “mansions. ” These abodes are not some place in heaven but the present “abode” that we the believers have with God in our spirit right now. It’s the same Greek word (mone) as used for “abode” in John 14:23. This verse says,

“…If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make an abode with him.” (John 14:23)

This isn’t something we must wait for until we die. It’s an “abode” we have with the Lord in our spirit right now.

The next chapter, John 15, uses the same Greek word as a verb–abide (meno) saying,

“I am the vine; you are the branches. He who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.”

Once we enter into a life-union with the Lord Jesus through regeneration,  He with the Father makes an abode with us in our spirit, enabling us to abide in Him all the time.

If we’re focusing on a “reservation” for heaven and miss the present union with Christ through “regeneration” our Christian life today will suffer a tremendous loss.

So I’d like to change the gospel question from, “Do you have your reservation?” to “Are you regenerated with God’s life?”

Our answer to this question makes a huge difference.

The thought of a “reservation” may leave us waiting for the day when death ushers us to a better place.

The experience of “regeneration” brings us into a progressive life relationship with Christ in which we’re  growing unto full maturity in Christ. We’re daily experiencing Christ, daily growing in Him to become the mature believers that will be prepared to be His bride (Rev. 19:7).

Lord Jesus, we love You. Thank you for coming that we may have your eternal life today. Thank you for going through death and coming back in resurrection as the life-giving Spirit to enter into and abide in our spirit. Lord Jesus, thank you that You’re our life today. Lord, remind us to abide in You every day so that we will daily grow in You unto maturity. Save us from the concept of waiting to go to heaven one day to living in union with You, moment by moment, every day.

If you’ve discovered this present life-union with Christ  through regeneration  as the source of supply for your daily Christian life, feel free to share your experience in a comment.

About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

14 Replies

  1. I’ve heard the same “reservation gospel” expressed as “a ticket to heaven”. Yes, our friends need to be saved from God’s judgement, but let’s not short change them by failing to tell them that we can abide in Him today! There is no need to simply “wait’ for His coming, but we can live in His presence now. This is the way we “let your light shine”, by letting God as light live out through us.

    1. Tom Smith

      We really do appreciate the eternal salvation we have in Christ. It does give us true comfort to know that we and our believing loved ones will be together with the Lord in eternity. However, it’s really a loss to consider this salvation as merely a “reservation,” or a “ticket to heaven,” and miss the present “organic” aspect of God’s salvation today. I’m so glad that in our salvation we’re regenerated, born of God, to share His life so we can live in a moment-by-moment life-union with our Lord right now.

  2. Amen, brother, amen! I was also recently impressed with this as we are taking care of some new students here. Our salvation is not a “ticket to heaven” but rather it is our regeneration with the divine life – which starts a long process of living by another life, the divine life, enjoying the riches of God’s life and expressing God.

    “I have come that…” <> <> – NO! “I have come that they may have life and may have it abundantly!” (John 10:10b) The Lord came that we may have the divine life, and we may have it, enjoy it, express it, live it, and become it – abundantly! Hallelujah!

    1. Brenda

      Oh how we love the truth in the Word (Christ Himself) that sets us free.
      Free to love Him, free to express Him, free to live Him and free to become Him.

  3. John 14 is wonderful for our present Christian life. We are not waiting for the Lord to do something. He has already done it by His death and resurrection. Now our focus is to love Him, as 14:23 (quoted in the post) makes clear. When we are loving Him, His words become precious to us, and He has freedom to live in us.

    1. Tom Smith

      I’m glad John 14 does not leave us waiting for future bliss, but brings us into a present, intimate abiding with the Father and the Son in the atmosphere of mutual love. Yes, Christ has already prepared such an abode for us by His death and resurrection. Now we can simply focus on loving Him, treasuring His precious His words so He has the freedom to live in us.

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