Why are You Neglecting so Great a Salvation?
Salvation belongs to the Lord (Ps 3:8; Jon 2:9; Rev 19:1). God has made Jesus Christ to be the one way for sinners to be reconciled to Himself (Jn 14:6; Rom 5:10). Therefore, it behooves all men everywhere to repent from lawlessness (1 Jn 3:4) and also the futile works to try and get right with God (Acts 17:30). The preacher begs you on behalf of Christ, to be reconciled to God (2 Cor 5:20).
The absurdity in salvation is that people hear about God’s way of reconciliation, then they reject God’s way in favor of their own ways. Obviously, God rejects their devised schemes, but this does not thwart the hardened unbeliever.
The preacher simply proclaims the Word of God, as a farmer plants seed. Despite the hard soils, the farmer plants, expectant his labors will be increased by the God of the harvest. The implanted Word will have its good effect (Jas 1:21).
The Word of God, ministered by the Spirit of God, will result in the salvation of many. In this, it is a perfectly sure salvation because God cannot fail to accomplish all His holy will (Eph 1:11), which is the revelation of His eternal purpose (Eph 3:11). Therefore, the apostles John and Paul assure their readers that it is God’s will for some to receive Jesus (Jn 1:12–13; Rom 9:18, 23).
Jesus Christ is our God and Savior (Tit 2:13) and being in union with Christ is our position of being saved. In other words, He saved us (Tit 3:5), that is, God gave us Christ’s right standing before Him (1 Cor 1:30). He also gave us the token of His bestowed love when He gave us the Holy Spirit as a gift (Acts 2:38; 10:45; 2 Cor 1:22; 5:5; Eph 1:13–14).
So, who exactly is neglecting this salvation that seems to be entirely of God’s planning, execution, and application? He is the fool who says there is no God (Ps 14:1; 53:1). He is the one who judges the revelation of God’s Word to be foolishness (1 Cor 1:18). This unbeliever is without hope and without God in the world (Eph 2:12).
If God’s Word teaches that God has a predetermined plan and foreknowledge of all things He will bring to pass, according to His sovereign will, then the one who is neglecting so great a salvation does not believe it. Or if the Bible teaches that God predestined some people to be adopted into His family before the foundation of the world, while reprobating others, then it is the man of neglect who does not believe in the doctrine of election.
The pattern of neglect is what we are establishing with these two examples. The unbeliever is consistent with the Bible’s revelation of the doctrine of unbelief. The unbeliever simply has no capacity, nothing in him that can believe the revelation of God. The unbeliever has no love for God and no place for God’s Word of truth in himself.
Because the unbeliever has no spiritual capacity for the spiritual things of God (1 Cor 2:14), only an unbeliever would press an unbeliever to generate faith on his own. Stated another way, when an unbelieving preacher of a man-centered gospel manipulates another person in making a decision or choosing Christ or asking Jesus into her heart, he or she is neglecting so great a salvation by not preaching the truth that the natural man is spiritually dead in trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1), rendering him unable to know the spiritual thoughts and spiritual words taught by the Spirit (Eph 2:13).
Those who neglect so great a salvation also neglect the doctrine of conversion which reveals, from the Bible, that grace is the catalyst unlocking the mysteries of the Gospel. Grace is the work of God that facilitates one’s salvation. In this way, every fact of one’s salvation is attributed to God, who alone is Savior.
For someone to sit and listen to a Gospel preacher, sent to him, is an act of God’s grace. To actually hear and believe, repenting of one’s unbelief, is the grace of repentance being granted by God. The sinner changes his mind about everything God’s Word says is true. He no longer agrees with the world and its contrived ways of salvation. He is no longer inclined to neglect so great a salvation.
The method is simply a preacher of God’s Word proclaiming the truth of who Jesus Christ is and what He has done. In truth, the entire application process is a work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is filling the preacher, delivering the Word to the good soil of an elect hearer. In the baptism of the Holy Spirit, God’s Word comes alive in the soul. This is the seed of faith.
Faith comes by hearing the Word preached (Rom 10:17); and the Word preached in the power of the Spirit is what gives one of God’s elect, redeemed, regenerated children the faith to believe the Word proclaimed. Truly, it is the Spirit and the Word that give life, new, abundant, and eternal (Jn 6:63).
In conclusion, it is the most observable neglect for the unbeliever to not believe. The preacher’s task is not to manipulate the unbeliever to make a decision for Jesus, but rather to assure the unbeliever that God has made a gracious choice to have mercy on a remnant group of both Jews and Gentiles, men and women, slave and free (Rom 11:5; Gal 3:28).
The believer will hear and know the truth that he did not work to make God’s salvation a reality for him (Rom 4:5). Rather, it is the believer’s testimony that it was God’s doing that positioned him in Christ, so he would no longer neglect so great a salvation.
Spokane Valley, Washington
April 9, 2021