“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly.”
There is so much about the 1st “P” of salvation that I must continue with more thoughts before I move to the 2nd “P” of salvation.
Let’s review and expand.
Jesus saves us to the “uttermost.” First, He saves us from the Penalty of the law. All have sinned. We have broken the 10 commandments and turned away from God. And we have sinned in many other ways as we shall see.
The wages of sin is death. This simple Bible definition of sin is found in the writings of the beloved disciple.
Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
1 John 3:4
By departing from God and disobedience, we sin. Because of our sinful nature, we will continue to break the law of God. By doing this we place ourselves under the curse God promised for disobedience.
Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him.
All of us have sinned. Not one of us has not sinned:
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Romans 3: 10-12
Not only have we sinned, but if not for the proactive work of God, we would not seek God and we would lack knowledge on spiritual truths.
Because of our transgression and because of the way we are, we are under the curse of sin which is death.
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Romans 5: 12
But, God the Father and Jesus made a way to come out from under the curse of the law (death)
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
When Jesus was nailed to the cross, He took upon himself the sin and curse we were under and made the payment for the wages of sin, which is death.
The death of Jesus shows the immutability of the law of God. Because it could not be changed. If it could, Jesus would not have needed to die, the law could have simply been watered down and adjusted to our needs or our situation.
Jesus made it clear, that His purpose was not to change even the smallest letter or punctuation mark in God’s law and that the law would outlive the earth:
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Matthew 5: 17-18
Heaven and earth is still here. Is it not? Yes, he fulfilled the law and the prophets, but that does not mean that they are destroyed.
Because of our sin, disobedience, and rebellion we are hopelessly lost, But, His grace working through the faith he gives us we are saved.
God did not have to save us, but He loved His creation and demonstrated it by the substitutionary death of His only begotten.
Let us never forget that God saves us. We don’t save ourselves by any amount of good work.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Look carefully at John 3:16. Salvation is salvation from perishing. Death is exactly what it means. It is not living somewhere else in the universe or living in a place of torment. To learn more about the mortality of the soul (being) and the errors of everlasting torment, click here: Lord Tell Me About Hell-Part 1
According to John, we are saved from persishing (death with no hope) because Jesus perished for us and paid the penalty for sin (transgression of the law).
I like the description by this author about how serious Jesus’ death was for us. We think of the physical pain, but there was so much more that he endured for us:
Satan with his fierce temptations wrung the heart of Jesus. The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of the Father’s acceptance of the sacrifice. He feared that sin was so offensive to God that Their separation was to be eternal. Christ felt the anguish which the sinner will feel when mercy shall no longer plead for the guilty race. It was the sense of sin, bringing the Father’s wrath upon Him as man’s substitute, that made the cup He drank so bitter, and broke the heart of the Son of God.
The Desire of Ages, p. 753
Perhaps, this is why Jesus cried out,
MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?
Psalm 22:1, Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34
This is the grace and love of God demonstrated in a real way. Both the Father and the Son suffered that day, but Jesus endured the cross because he could see it would be worth if for us.
…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
So this is what we are saved from….eternal death…Jesus makes a way by His death that is initiated by the grace and love of God. But look again at Ephesians. There is something we have to do to receive this salvation. It doesn’t come to everyone.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
The grace of God cannot lead to salvation alone, there must be faith by the one receiving it.
The sinner must make a choice to trust God. But how does this happen?
First the Holy Spirit does the work of conviction and pulls the sinner towards Jesus.
And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
This conviction comes through the Spirit who often uses the word of God and the the law of God.
you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
When a person comes into contact with the word of God, it brings conviction of sin. God’s word is powerful in the work of salvation, because our thoughts and beliefs are changed:
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
As we see Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, conviction overwhelms the sinner and the love of God draws us to Him:
And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”
John 12: 32 NKJV
The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying:“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.
This drawing is described as knocking in the book of Revelation:
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
Now the sinner has a choice. They can yield to the pull of the Holy Spirit or “open the door” and Jesus promises to come into the life of the person and give them peace and eternal life.
Peace is the first feeling of yielding to the pull of the Holy Spirit, the meaning of the cross, and the fellowship of Jesus.
It is at this point, that the person is born again. Their life is changed. They have a new master, a new direction. The things they once liked to do, they no longer want to do it. The things they once hated, they now want to do them.
The friends you once hung out with….the ones you drank and partied with, now no longer recognize you and you have a great desire for them to know and experience what you have.
Before, you hated church, Christians, prayer, and Bible Study. Now you can’t get enough!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Now you listen to God’s word and want to follow him. It is by this new feeling of belief in God that let’s you know you have been reborn.
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.
Notice that the person who hears God’s word and believes in Him (God the Father) has everlasting life and will not come into judgment like those who do not hear God’s word or believe in God.
This is good news! Praise God! Jesus has saved you from eternal death.
If this is truly your experience, you begin to obey God’s word. Not to be saved from eternal death, but because it is the natural result of being in Christ and being saved. This is the test of whether one has been reborn and saved. Obedience.
In fact, your first act of obedience is when you are baptized. The act itself does not save you, but it is evidence you want to give to the world evidence that you are walking in a new life of following Jesus
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
I can’t image a person who has been saved to disobey the command:
He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
Notice that obedience of baptism comes after salvation not as a pre-requisite. In fact, not being baptized by choice demonstrates unbelief.
Jesus identifies the saved as His followers who obey him by asking a rhetorical question:
And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
The born again person loves Jesus and will now call Him Lord and will follow him. Once again, they will obey Him out of love, not in order to be saved, but because they are saved and they love Him:
If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Here now stands the person who has been saved from eternal death and has begun to follow Jesus.
Does salvation end at the baptism tank? What does the Bible teach about the 2nd “P” of salvation? Next time we will talk about how Jesus saves us from the Power of sin.
The thief will turn from a life of theft, the liar from a life of lying, the adulterer from a life of adultery. Why? Because Jesus wants to save us not only from the Penalty of sin, but the Power of sin that can still show its ugly head from time to time even if we have a new life in Christ.
I don’t know of one Christian who has not been tempted by sin after beginning their walk with Jesus. What does Jesus do to save us from the Power of sin and the desire to live a life in Jesus?. How do we walk in newness of life? The scripture will give us the answers.
We shall often have to bow down and weep at the feet of Jesus because of our shortcomings and mistakes, but we are not to be discouraged. Even if we are overcome by the enemy, we are not cast off, not forsaken and rejected of God. No; Christ is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Said the beloved John, “These things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 1 John 2:1.
Steps to Christ, p. 64
If you are feeling the pull and conviction of the Holy Spirit, yield and surrender your life of sin to Him. He will come in, as promised, and give you peace and a new direction. But, He will also give you Power over the sin that “once so easily beset you.” I am praying for you my brother and sister.