The Firm Foundation of a Sure Salvation
Our God and Savior has made known to us that salvation belongs to Him (Ps 3:8; Jon 2:9; Rev 19:1). In fact, there is no other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12). One may ask, “Saved from what?” The answer is that God is saving us from Himself. Let me explain.
The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men (Rom 1:18). In other words, in His holiness God must judge and separate sinners who live in constant rebellion against Him. He Himself would be unrighteous if He permitted sinners to go unpunished. God is a just Judge (Gen 18:25), and to the surprise of many, it is Jesus Christ who is the Judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:42; 2 Tim 4:1; 1 Pet 4:5). Here, we see the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ (Jn 10:30).
As the Son of God and second Person of the triune Godhead, we learn that Jesus is both Savior and Judge. All people must appear before His great white throne, upon which He sits upon His bema seat, the judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor 5:10; Rev 20:11). It is appointed once for a man to die and then comes this judgment before Him to whom all judgment has been entrusted (Heb 9:27).
Reprobate sinners are condemned already (Jn 3:18); hence, their appearance before the righteous judge will consist of their sentence of eternal punishment, in the lake of fire prepared by God for the devil and His angels. Man, in his sinful rebellion, will be subject to torment in outer darkness where the fiery hell causes them to gnash their teeth, forever. It was Jesus Christ who taught more on the doctrine of hell than anyone else.
It is an error to underestimate the magnitude of one’s gross offense against the majesty of Almighty God. The eternal extent of one’s punishment in fiery hell should serve to teach us the heinous nature of each sin committed against the holy God. For us, there is no accounting for the pure volume of sins committed each day of our lives. Sin is lawlessness and that is each person’s very nature (Eph 2:3; 1 Jn 3:4).
God hates sin and sinners (Ps 5:5; 7:11; 11:5). If hatred is a holy attitude with God, then wrath is holy action undertaken to rightly contend with rebel sinners. Every sin ever committed by every person is accounted for by the omniscient God, and every sin will be punished with omnipotent precision.
For these reasons, all men everywhere must repent of sin and turn to God and His one way of salvation (Jn 14:6; Acts 5:31; 17:30). Stated another way, it is far wiser to turn oneself into the Judge, today, than to wait for the Judge to summon you through death. What sinners need in order to stand before a righteous Judge is mercy from that Judge. God is merciful to those who come to Him in humble submission, seeking forgiveness.
Approaching God in full confession and contrition is an act of faith. It is a response to the proclamation of Gospel truth (Rom 10:17). God sends preachers into the world to herald glad tidings that God in Christ has redeemed a people, through the substitutionary sacrifice of the Lamb of God, who was Jesus Christ Himself on the cross of Calvary (Lev 16; Jn 1:29). There is total forgiveness for all the sins of those who come to Him, alone, for the full cancellation of their debt of sin (Col 2:14).
There is forgiveness of sins for those who come under the blood of the new covenant that God made with Christ (Mt 26:28). For God made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to become sin for us (2 Cor 5:21). Thus, we learn that Jesus was fully human like us, yet without sin (Jn 1:14; Heb 4:15). In redirecting His holy wrath away from sinners, chosen to be objects of mercy (Rom 9:23; 11:5), God the Father poured out the full measure of wrath upon the unblemished substitute — the Son sent into the world to save God’s elect people from their sins (Mt 1:21).
The basis for the blessed assurance of so great a salvation is God and His eternal purpose to be glorified. God is glorified by the grace He extends toward His rebellious enemies. He actually adopts ungodly people into His own family (Rom 8:15, 23; 1 Jn 3:1, 10). There is nothing good in these people, and there is no merit on their part to warrant such treatment from the God they previously hated (Rom 1:30).
God the Father (Yahweh) specifically chose each person before the foundation of the world to be the object of His mercy (Rom 9:23; 11:5). God the Son (Jesus) performed the perfect work of redemption by suffering and dying in the place of these elect sinners. Christ died for us…His beloved church whom He loved…and loves with a love that endures forever (Rom 5:8; 1 Jn 4:19).
It is God the Spirit who gives life to God’s elect (1 Cor 15:45; Eph 2:5; Col 2:13), redeemed people whom He causes to be born again (1 Pet 1:3). He finds every lost person belonging to Christ and performs a spiritual heart transplant (Ezek 36:26). This is the biblical doctrine of regeneration. It is spiritual life from the dead, manifested by the baptism and indwelling Spirit of Christ, who now lives in every believer granted repentance and faith by the gracious work of God (Acts 5:31; 11:18).
Salvation is sure because God performs every task required for sinners to be transformed into saints. The Lord knows those who are His (2 Tim 2:19), and He assures us that He will not lose even one of His own (Jn 10:28–29). This is the Gospel of our salvation which rests firmly on the foundation of God and His purpose to be glorified in this most gracious work. Rest assured, dear saint, God is greatly glorified in saving you from what you truly deserve. He is glorified, and you are saved, and that is good news.
March 22, 2023