Salvation is the song that was to be sung by the redeemed in that day. |Behold now is the day.| Our salvation has come. |Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will toward men.| Salvation means deliverance. A prophecy concerning the Christ -- our salvation -- says: |He hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.| Isa.61:1. Christ our Savior came to deliver us from the prison-house of sin.
In the preceding chapter we learned that sin left its crimson and scarlet stains upon the soul. Salvation cleanses the soul, removing the stains, making it as white as snow. Washing in |niter and much soap| will not prove effectual, but the blood of Jesus will remove every stain. Sin reproaches, but the salvation of Jesus exalts. It lifts man up from the coarse, degrading, shameful life of sin, and exalts him to integrity, nobility, and purity. It removes the discontentments, uneasiness, condemnations and fears, and brings joy, peace and rest. Salvation breaks the strong fetters of sin and man rejoices in the beautiful light and liberty of this gospel day. The scepter is wrested from the cruel tyrant, sin, and righteousness in quietness and peace sways the scepter, and man rejoices. Sin is dethroned and Christ is crowned King of glory, and his triumphant reign is in the heart and life of man. Sin no longer has dominion. Christ hath made us free.
O God, thy vict'ries I extol
With all the freedom of my soul.
Salvation removes the awful sting of death and allows man to approach the last hour
|Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him and lies down to pleasant dreams.|
A Present Salvation.
|Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.| 2 Cor.6:2. The present dispensation, or gospel day, is the salvation age. It is the accepted time, or the time which God has accepted for the salvation of man. That there is another dispensation of time beyond this present Christian era in which man can be saved is Satan's falsehood to cause man to neglect salvation in this |accepted time,| beyond which he knows there is no escape. |How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?| |To-day if ye will hear his voice harden not your hearts.|
The apostle Paul says, |The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.| Titus 2:11. It |hath appeared.| This is the time when salvation has appeared unto all men, and all men must accept it in this time or lose it forever. In Titus 3:5, Eph.2:5, Rom.6:22, Jude 1, 1 Cor.1:2, and many other texts, salvation is spoken of as having been received. Beyond controversy salvation is a present attainment.
Salvation By Grace And Not By Works.
Salvation from sin is by the grace of God. The word |grace| is defined by lexicographers as favor or mercy. Grace is a characteristic in the nature of God which offers mercy or favor though wholly unmerited by the recipient. Man is an offender against God. Through repentance he finds favor or grace in God's sight without any worthiness, excellence or meritoriousness in himself, but because of the merciful nature of the Lord. |For by grace are ye saved through faith.| Eph.2:8. |By grace ye are saved.| Ver.5. |Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.| 2 Tim.1:9. |Being justified freely by his grace.| Rom.3:24.
If man could attain to salvation by works, then he could plead his own merits; but we are taught that we can only plead the mercy of God. The apostle says that salvation is |not of works, lest any man should boast.| Eph.2:9. If it were by works man would have some cause for boasting; but because it is wholly by grace, he has nothing of self in which to boast. Again he says, |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.
There is no weakness nor incompleteness in God's salvation. It saves to |the uttermost.| Heb.7:25. Salvation is so complete that man requires no additional cleansing or purifying to fit him for heaven.
The salvation to which the apostle had attained made him |ready to be offered.| There is no cleansing beyond the gates of death, but in this life we are commanded to make ready. |Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.| This text proves the efficacy of the blood or the completeness of salvation.
Also the following texts magnify the preciousness and perfectness of redemption: |Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.| Ezek.36:25. |Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.| Psa.51:7. |Ye are complete in him.| Col.2:10. |The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.| 1 John 1:7. |If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.| 1 John 1:9. It is sin that excludes us from heaven. It is salvation that saves us from sin, therefore we, when saved, are ready for that better land.
There are a few texts of Scripture which teach a salvation yet in the future. |And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.| Mat.10:22. |Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.| Phil.2:12. These texts do not prove that there is no salvation only at the end of human life, else what could be the meaning of the many texts that speak of a present salvation? These two texts are very easily harmonized with those teaching a present experience of saving grace.
As long as we are in this world it is possible for us to lose our salvation. Though we are now saved from sin by grace it is possible for us to be overtaken in some way and lose this experience. As long as we are here we must endure temptation. But if we endure unto the end when this mortality puts on immortality we pass beyond the possibility of losing salvation, hence, we are saved eternally. By resisting temptation, by praying and watching, we |work out our salvation.| The time comes when there are no more temptations to resist, and we are safe and saved forever.
I am saved now from all sin, but to keep this experience I must watch, pray, work, resist and endure unto the end of my life, and then my salvation receives the seal of eternity -- saved in glory forever. Amen.
Wonders Of Salvation.
When man the wonders of creation
Beholds in deepest contemplation,
Adores not the Almighty One,
Must have indeed a heart of stone.
Thou mortal! seest not the sun
His daily course so proudly run?
The moon in her nocturnal race,
With sweet and tender, smiling face?
The stars in pale but beauteous light,
Twinkling, shining all the night?
Stupendous ocean, wild and free,
Bold image of eternity?
The mountain cliff that checks the storm,
And sheds its tears on valley farm?
Poor soul twice dead indeed must be,
And plucked up like uprooted tree,
Or dulled by sensuality,
Or lured by prodigality,
Which does not bound with admiration,
Or feel a warmth of true devotion
Upon beholding this creation.
All nature smiling sweet and tender,
Sun, moon and stars in wondrous splendor,
And mortal man, a bit of sod,
Reveals the handiwork of God.
Howe'er there is one work divine,
Excels all others of my rhyme,
The making of a world like this,
Sent circling through so vast a space;
Bright worlds above in glory streaming,
Can not compare with this remaining.
It claims all Heaven's admiration,
It moves all Hell to disputation,
Excels the glorious translation
Of Enoch from his brief probation
To higher plane of situation.
All that's been done in whole creation
Is naught, compared with man's salvation;
Saved from the scarlet stains of sin,
By power of God been born again;
Then by the Holy Spirit's power
Made pure in instantaneous hour.
Oh, new and wonderful creation,
Exceeds by far the old formation;
Sun, moon and stars and mountain's plane,
The dark and deep blue ocean's main,
Do not God's power so much display
As when he takes man's sins away.
Old things are gone, all things are new,
All heaven by faith is now in view;
And peace, sweet peace fills all the soul,
And rest, though stormy billows roll;
Such is man's happy situation
In this most wonderful salvation.