Salvation, Sanctification, Saviourhood
by Norman P. Grubb
I showed you those three particularly from that rather remarkable statement, almost interpolated in the second chapter of I John where he addresses what he calls little children, young men, and fathers. Now we saw that little children are the saved ones who know their sins are forgiven, and the young men are the sanctified ones who’ve become strong and who have overcome the wicked one, and know how to overcome him, and in whom the Word of God abides as a fixed principle. And then there are the fathers who consist of the third stage or phase to which I give the name Saviourhood—Salvation, Sanctification, Saviourhood. That’s a very high term to use. I can dare to use it because Paul used it of himself. “That by all means I might save some,” in I Cor. 9:22. There are other passages too. I much prefer it to “Service” because it has a much deeper quality in it as we shall see later on.
Now I suggest that there are three phases of experience which is the purpose of the Spirit of God to introduce us into if He can—the experience of salvation, sanctification, and saviourhood. And they fit into the three stages of little children—infancy; young men—adolescence; fathers—adulthood. It says of the fathers in that passage, rather a difficult phrase, that, “they know Him that is from the beginning.” It says the same twice over. I take that to be different from knowing the Father in a personal sense. It says of the infants that they know the Father, which means that they have all that they have derived from the glory of their gracious Father— the personal relationship and what accrues to them as a consequence of it. To know Him that is from the beginning is to know the One Who is Eternal Love, Eternal Self-sacrifice— the Eternal Saviour. It brings us up perhaps, I think, to the highest name that Paul gives God in those later letters when he talks about “God our Saviour.” He seems to have a new vision of the whole Godhead in the three Persons as the Saviour. He speaks about God our Saviour. That idea. That means, of course, what we know in the Spirit, and when we know a thing, we enter into it. We’re part of it. That’s the meaning of knowledge in the Scripture. And that means, therefore, that the fathers were entering in with the One Who is Eternal Love, Eternal Self-sacrifice, and Eternal Saviourhood.
Karuizawa Japan Conference of 1954