For at least a couple years, I had many, many discussions with a baptist pastor about the truths of the Holy Spirit. Of course, he is a christian, and he believes the false teachings of christianity thoroughly. Moreover, he is a lawyer, so he’s not intellectually challenged. One can be humanly brilliant, but be spiritually ignorant. Without the Holy Spirit’s illumination, even the most brilliant person will not understand the things of the Spirit (Luke 24:45, 1 Corinthians 2:14).
So, this pastor has held to common christian lies about salvation and about his English bible being the “Word of God.” He believes that, at the moment of belief, one receives the Holy Spirit (which is completely contrary to what the scriptures and the Holy Spirit actually teach).
In one conversation, he claimed that, at the moment the bride says “I do,” she has the covenant, which would support his false belief that salvation is something that man decides. The problem is that he doesn’t actually understand the ancient Jewish wedding traditions, which were designed and ordained by the Father, and the details of which are exactly what is being followed, and will be followed all the way to the wedding feast, which will be in the new heaven. All eternity will be a celebration—the wedding feast.
Here is the problem with this pastor’s false understanding: what he is referring to regarding the “I do” from the bride is the wedding ceremony, and that takes place AFTER the Bridegroom goes and gathers His bride to Himself, and brings her back to the wedding chamber. The ceremony is immediately prior to the consummation, which also takes place at the wedding chamber (and, for those who understand the traditions, the scriptures actually tell us, in Revelation, when that consummation occurs).
The baptist pastor claimed that THAT is the covenant. No, the marriage itself is not the covenant. The covenant is the promise—the guarantee, the downpayment, the betrothal. Once a bride is betrothed, she is legally married to the bridegroom, but the two are not physically married yet.
This is what the traditions mandate: once the redemption of the bride has been paid by the father of the bridegroom (Yah gave His Son as the redemption price for His Son’s bride), and the covenant sealed, the bridegroom will announce to his bride that he is going to his father’s house to build a dwelling place for him and his bride (this is according to the Father’s traditions).
Once he leaves to do that, it begins a period of mandatory separation—the two cannot have physical contact again until the father tells his son that the dwelling is complete, and to go get his bride and bring her back to the wedding chamber.
The bride is legally married, because she has been given a covenant (a promise, or guarantee), but becoming “one flesh” does not occur until the marriage is physically consummated. During the separation, the bride is to remain prepared for the bridegroom’s arrival to take her to the wedding chamber, because she doesn’t know exactly when he will come to take her to the wedding chamber.
By the way, the separation period is where we get our custom of the bride and groom not seeing each other until the ceremony on their wedding day.
What the baptist pastor was trying to do is consistent with other false christian teachings about salvation—there is usually some conflation of two different things utilized in them. So, just as he was trying to make the marriage ceremony the same as the covenant, he maintains that belief is salvation, contrary to everything we’re taught in the scriptures—including Messiah’s own words in Luke 8:13, where He says that some will believe with all joy for awhile, but will fall away because they have no root (they never receive the source of life). And, what we’re told in Hebrews 10:39 about those who did not shrink back from their belief, but believed all the way to the saving of the soul.
Man’s belief is not salvation, but is the necessary prerequisite to receiving salvation.
It never ceases to amaze me how otherwise intelligent people can be so blinded by the delusions of their own understandings—beliefs that are devoid of the Holy Spirit. I know, I shouldn’t be surprised, because I was once where he is, and I was wholly ignorant of the Spirit’s truths and blinded by the false teachings of christianity. But, I came to the point of admitting that what I believed was false, which then allowed the Holy Spirit to instruct me in His truths.
So far, the baptist pastor has not been willing to go there. He is still of the group shown in Matthew 7:21-23—people who believe with all their hearts that they are saved, but Messiah doesn’t know them, because they are not His according to Romans 8:9.
For more information: For Whom Did Christ Die?