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"Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee; and I will preserve thee."—Isa. 49: 8.
Here is a special day of salvation spoken of, an acceptable time. The most propitious season of God's grace to man. Now where shall we locate this glorious time of deliverance and preservation ? Though spoken of in the present tense, it is very evident that it is not to be located in the time of the prophet, which was under the law. Because the entire Old Testament pointed forward to a more gracious dispensation of divine love and mercy in the last days. "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law. "— Gal. 2 :16. The law day was not the day of salvation.
Shall we then look for it in a future time ? By some it is referred to an age to come. But the scriptures leave no room for such vague suppositions. Let us look for a positive location of the above prophecy. Read the apostle Paul in 2 Cor. 6 :1, 2. He beseeches the brethren, "That ye receive not the grace of God in vain, For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in a day of salvation have I succored thee." Here the apostle quotes the very thing announced in Isa. 49: 8. And now hear his application of the same. He proceeds, "Behold, now is the accepted time; BEHOLD, NOW IS THE DAY OF SALVATION.', How absolutely clear and conclusive! The great day of salvation is now. Now in the dispensation of the Holy Spirit. This one declaration of divine truth perfectly refutes every theory of a more propitious age to come. If, as age-to-come advocates say, a more glorious day of salvation is yet pending, then it is not true that now is preeminently the day of salvation. But, on the other hand, if the apostle testified to the truth, then all teachers of a more perfect salvation in a millennial age to come are false prophets, deceived of the devil, and deceiving all who believe their vain imaginations. But the apostle spake by inspiration of God. See 1 Cor. 14: 37. Therefore, it is settled by the voice of Jehovah. "Behold, now is the day of salvation, " now the special time singled out in the plan of the Almighty to save all who hear and obey the gospel.
"Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost saith, Today if ye will hear his voice' harden not your hearts."—Heb. 3: 7, 8. Here again the special time of salvation is defined as today, and when ye hear the voice of God. That is, all through this gospel era, whenever a soul hears the "Spirit and the bride say, Come," that is the propitious time to escape from sin. And to reject the great boon is to harden the heart.
The above words in Heb. 3: 7, 8, are quoted from Psa. 95: 79. But mark what the apostle puts in, "Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost saith, Today," etc. So the Holy Spirit through him applies the today salvation of the psalmist to the present time. He repeats the quotation in Heb. 3: 15, 4: 7. Now, today, TODAY, is held out by the divine hand of love and mercy the only hope of this lost world, the last offer of salvation.
When Jesus expired upon the cross, he said. "It is finished.'' The price of our redemption was fully paid. He went down into the grave and conquered death, " and was raised again for our justification. "— Rom. 4: 25. He ascended to heaven in triumph, sent the Holy Spirit to awaken, quicken, and sanctify; and thus execute the perfect salvation he had purchased upon the cross. He commissioned a perpetual living ministry to publish his salvation to " every creature, " in all nations to the end of the world. " To declare, I say, at this time, his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus."—Rom. 3: 26.
Nor did he leave a hint in their commission, or anywhere else in his [Word, that lays a foundation for any other day of salvation but the present. But through his ministry he gives all men this promise and fair warning: " He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. "—Mark 16: 16. Thus no opportunity of salvation was ever to be extended to Adam's race beyond the present gospel of Christ.
Accordingly it is a fact clearly recorded that men received salvation now and here. "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ."—Tit 2: 11-13. This is very plain. The grace of God brings salvation now and here, resulting in a holy life in this present world. While we are only to look for the coming of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ in the future, which will be the hour of the resurrection. "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."—1 Thess. 4: 16, 17. 'The same also will be the day of judgment. See Jude 14, 15.
"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. "—Tit. 3: 5.
"Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our own works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began."—2 Tim. 1: 9.
"By grace ye are saved. "—Eph. 2: 5.
"But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life."—Rom. 6: 22.
In all these texts we see that salvation had been already attained. So it is a fact that God saves us now. Hence now is the day of salvation in deed and in truth.