This Great Salvation

 This Great Salvation_2

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(Heb 2:1 KJV)  Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. (drift away from it) 2 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; 3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;

 

Introduction

Many years ago I heard a disturbing account about a Oneness preacher who, during his message, asked those who were absolutely confident of their salvation to stand and come to the front.  Remarkably, no one got out of their pew!  Since hearing this story I have had numerous conversations with my brothers and sisters in the Lord and found that many have feelings of guilt, condemnation, and a sense of unworthiness and concerns about their spiritual security.  This has prompted me to spend a good bit of time and study preparing this message and by the grace of God and the power of His Spirit I want to go back to the basics of God’s word in order to clarify some things that we desperately need to understand.  I want to share with you this evening some scriptural principles about the plan of salvation that I believe just might cause some of you to shift your focus from you and your efforts, to God and His amazing grace!!!!!   My title for this message is:

 

This Great Salvation

The most important aspect of the process of salvation can be found in:

(Heb 10:38 KJV)  Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

Since justification comes through faith, it occurs when a person fully exercises saving faith, which includes obedience to the gospel.

 

(Rom 10:16 KJV)  But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

 

(2 Th 1:7-8 KJV)  And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

 

So then, the full work of justification comes by faith at each step in obeying the plan of salvation.  i.e. faith as one repents, faith as we are baptized in Jesus’ name, and faith to believe God for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  The following scriptures support that this
is God’s plan: (Acts 17:30 KJV)  And t he times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

 

(Acts 2:38 KJV)  Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

“And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (I Cor 6:11).

This passage could be understood as “washed in the name of the Lord Jesus”, and “sanctified by being filled with the Holy Ghost.” Another passage illustrating how
God saved us is:

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”  (Titus 3:5 KJV) 

Now after we have obeyed God’s plan, we are justified in God’s eyes. And what is Justification? “Justification is the act by which God declares the sinner to be righteous. The sinner doesn’t actually become righteous within himself at this point, but God considers him as righteous, without regarding his past sins.”

“God’s grace is the source of justification, Christ’s blood (death, burial, and resurrection) is the basis or ground for justification, and faith is the condition upon which we receive justification.”

God does not impute sin to those who are justified by obeying the Gospel:

“To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

Another scripture that teaches that God does not charge sin to our account is:

(Psa 32:1-2 KJV)  A Psalm of David, Maschil. Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.

In other words, Jesus makes us an offer we dare not refuse.  By exercising our faith and trust in the finished work of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection He took our sins upon himself and imputed His righteousness to our account.  What a great transaction!!!

Now hear me closely.  If Jesus would not impute our sins to us when we first came to Him, why would He impute our sins to us now? God knows full well that we still have a carnal nature and we mess up every once in a while. The question is did you repent? When you sincerely repent and turn from your sin, God forgives you and you remain justified in His sight.  Here again, the reason God is able to maintain your right standing in His eyes is because of your faith that God will forgive you when you confess your sins and turn from them.  God always responds to faith. 

 (1 John 2:1 KJV)  My little children, 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:  

Next we need to see how Grace and faith work together in our lives.

 

Grace and Faith

 (Eph 2:8-9 KJV)  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 

 

(Titus 2:11 KJV)  For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

 

**Not only does the grace of God teach us how to live, it also enables us to do so.**   

One aspect of grace is defined by Joseph Thayer as, “The merciful kindness by which God exerts His holy influence upon souls…strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.”

The grace that saved us when we believed and obeyed the Gospel is the same grace that will keep us saved until that day when we finally receive our inheritance Thank God for His wonderful grace!

(1 Pet 1:4-5 KJV)  To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

(Phil 2:13 NRSV)  for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

(Eph 3:20 KJV)  Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

 

Sanctification

Even though sin is not imputed to us Paul prayed:

“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”   (1 Th 5:23 KJV) 

Sanctification literally means separation. It is equivalent to holiness, which means separation from sin and consecration to God. Sanctification is the process of becoming righteous – actually becoming more and more  like Christ.

 

(1 Th 4:3 KJV)  For this is the will of God, even your sanctification…

Continuing Faith

We are not saved by a single act of faith at one point in time.  Colossians 2:6 says, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.” Just as we received Him in faith, so must we continue to exercise faith in Him. Salvation is not just a past tense experience; it is a present tense relationship that will lead to eternal salvation. We must live daily by faith in order to be saved in the end. It is much easier to see the close relationship between faith and works when we realize this fact.

 

Col 1:21-23 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled {22} In the  body  of  his flesh  through death, to present you holy and  unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: {23} If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye  have  heard, and which was preached to every  creature  which  is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

1 Tim 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them:  for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to  continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

 

Unsaved, Elect, or Reprobate?

The unsaved are those who those who for one reason or another have not obeyed the gospel message and been justified in the sight of God.  The Elect are all those who in the foreknowledge of God will ultimately be saved.  The reprobate are those who, according to Adam Clarke “…deliberately, for fear of persecution or from any other motive, renounce the profession of the Gospel and the Author of that Gospel, after having received the knowledge of the truth so as to be convinced that Jesus is the promised Messiah, and that he had sprinkled our hearts from an evil conscience; for such there remaineth no sacrifice for sins; for as the Jewish sacrifices are abolished, as appears by the declaration of God himself in the fortieth Psalm, and Jesus being now the only sacrifice which God will accept, those who reject him have none other; therefore their case must be utterly without remedy. This is the meaning of the apostle, and the case is that of a deliberate apostate – one who has utterly rejected Jesus Christ and his atonement, and renounced the whole Gospel system.

 

How Can We Neglect So Great Salvation?

(Heb 2:3 KJV)  “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation…”

The great commentator Albert Barnes in his commentary of our text said:

“If we allow this great salvation to be neglected, and do not embrace the wonderful gift of eternal life that God has offered us, the sense is, that there is no other way of salvation, and the neglect of this will be followed by certain destruction.

It is not merely if we commit great sins. Not, if we are murderers, adulterers, thieves, infidels, atheists, scoffers. It is, if we merely “neglect” this salvation – if we do not embrace it in continual faith.

By neglect of education children grow up in ignorance; by neglect a farm grows up to weeds and briars; by neglect a house goes to decay; by neglect of sowing, a man will have no harvest; by neglect of reaping, the harvest would rot in the fields. No worldly interest can prosper where there is neglect; and why may it not be so in religion? There is nothing in earthly affairs that is valuable that will not be ruined if it is not attended to – and why may it not be so with the concerns of the soul?

 

Just as we are justified by our faith, we can lose this great salvation by having an unholy, irreverent, unthankful spirit that will, through neglect and unconcern eventually lead us into unbelief.  The writer of Hebrews used the types and shadows of what happened to the Israelites on their 40- year journey from Egypt to the promised land to admonish the
brethren:

Heb 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.  13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.  14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; 15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.  16 For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. 17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?  18  And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?  3:19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.  4:1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.

 

(Their primary sin was the sin of unbelief that caused them to depart from the living God and His wonderful salvation!) Ultimately it is always unbelief that causes anyone who once was saved to be lost!

 To summarize what the scriptures have taught us tonight: We shouldn’t live in constant dread and fear of the wrath of God like we’re trying to walk a tight rope wire across the Lake of Fire.  God simply wants us to know that we need to be on guard against neglecting this great salvation and drifting into a state of unbelief.

As long as we walk humbly before God with a repentant heart, we can rest secure in this great salvation not because of what we’ve done or not done, but because of His wonderful, amazing Grace! Amen!   

 

 

If we could grasp what Paul is actually saying in Romans 8 it would liberate us from  the fear that many of us have of failing God:

 

Rom 8:1-4 (NASB) 1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.  3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh 4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

 

(Gal 5:13 KJV)  For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love, serve one another.

 

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