So Great Salvation

The defining condition of a corpse is that it is unable to interact with its environment.  The dead body cannot hear, see, smell, feel, taste, think, respond, nor act.  Death destroys determination of those who die.  In the same way, sinners are unable to respond to God in any capacity.

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desire of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.  Ephesians 2:1-4

So sinners are dead to God through their evil fleshly desires and actions which are led by the devil and are in agreement with the natural course of a sinful world.  What in those verses in anyway says that the sinner has the power to do anything about his/her condition?  Just like it takes a miracle for a corpse to become reanimated, so it takes a miracle for a dead sinner to be reconciled to God and have eternal life.  If it wasn’t for the mercy and love of our Great God and Savior, we would wither without hope.

The first part of Ephesians 2:1 is further elaborated in the following verses in Ephesians chapter two.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.   Ephesians 2:4-10

Where do you see mention of what the sinner does in these verses?  Do you see that the sinner greatly desired God and sought after Him and found Him, and then God responded to the sinner?  No, even the faith that we have as believers is a gift from God so that we will believe and so no one should boast.   Even after salvation the works that we do are ordained of God for His glory.  Where is the boasting in living the life of faith?  Our salvation, standing and showing forth the glory of God all originate in God through His Son Jesus Christ and are for His praise through the ages!  If all of this originates with God, how can we lose our salvation?

But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works.  These things are good and profitable to men.   Titus 3:4-8

Where is the mention of the work of the sinner in salvation in these verses?  What have we done to gain eternal life?  We are the recipients of the grace and mercy of God through Jesus Christ because He loves us.  If Jesus Christ has accomplished all for us in salvation, are we going to be left to our own devices to ensure that we endure to the end?

Hebrews was written by Paul to the Jewish believers to exhort them to continue in their faith in Jesus Christ and not return to the Jewish temple worship as a means of justification.  This word of exhortation in Hebrews was to show the superiority of faith in Jesus Christ because of His superiority to the sacrificial system of the law of the Jews.  There are many verses that can be quoted that can encourage us that our salvation is not a fleeting possession dependent upon our effort

Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.  For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.  For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said:  “So I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest.” although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.  Hebrews 4:1-3

There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.  For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.  Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.  Hebrews 4: 9-11

Belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ gives entrance to the rest of God so that we do not labor for salvation, either entering into salvation or keeping salvation.

And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,… Hebrews 5:9

But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. Hebrews 6:9

And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, And inasmuch as He was not made priest without an oath (for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him:  “The Lord has sworn And will not relent, ‘You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek’”), by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant.  Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing.  But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood.  Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.  Hebrews 7:20-25

For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another-He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.  And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.  To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. Hebrews 9:24-28

By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.  And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices which can never take away sins.  But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.  For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.  Hebrews 10:10-14

Jesus Christ has taken care of our sin problem forever and is interceding for us at the right hand of God.  Since He is our High Priest before God Almighty, what is it that we can do to lose our salvation?  Will sin remove the eternal life that we possess as believers?  If so, then I suspect that we will not see David, or Abraham, or Jacob, or Isaac, or anyone else in heaven because all sinned as believers, including you and I.

My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin.  And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.   And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.  1 John  2:1-2

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses.  For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.  Romans 8:26-27

 Who is he who condemns?  It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.  Romans 8:34

But what does the divine response say to him?  “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”  Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.  And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace.  But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.  Romans 11:4-6

But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God-and righteousness and sanctification and redemption-that as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”  1 Corinthians 1:30-31

 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.  For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.  Galatians 5:4-5

To then God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles:  which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.  Colossians 1:27

 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.  For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.   Colossians 2:8-10

What do we lack?  These verses give witness to the exceedingly great and precious promises of the resources that are ours, that we have as believers, through Jesus Christ so that we will walk in faith by the power of the Spirit, obeying Christ by believing and obeying His Word.  As those who have been genuinely born again by the power of the Holy Spirit we cannot lose our salvation.

Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:  Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all thing that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.  2 Peter 1:1-3

 Since our salvation is dependent upon another and not upon ourselves we can serve God with joy and thanksgiving, bearing fruit for His glory, giving evidence that we are indeed the redeemed of the Lord.  Thank God for His goodness to us through Jesus Christ our Lord who died in our place and rose from the dead that we may be partakers of so great salvation!

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5 Responses to So Great Salvation

  1. NB says:

    Nice article.

    Like

  2. Eliza says:

    Thank you and God bless you.

    Like

  3. Dear Eliza,

    It seems you advocate the idea that sinners are comparable to a dead and inanimate corpse, when that is not the express meaning of Paul’s comparisons. Paul is saying that until we come to faith and obedience to the gospel, we are “as good as dead”. Paul never implies that we cannot do anything to help ourselves. Indeed, he says that 1. we must believe, and 2. that this comes about only as the result of either hearing, or being told in some fashion about, the gospel ( Romans 10:13-17). True, God’s Holy Spirit is the acting force through God’s Word, because he is here to “convince the world of truth and convict sinners of their sinfulness” (John 16:8). BUT, one cannot convince a dead man of anything, nor can a truly dead man hear the gospel. So, the idea that we are helpless seems quite contrary to what the scriptures teach. Otherwise, Peter is speaking an untruth when he says, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!” (Acts 2:40)

    In the scriptures you quote you surely cannot miss the expression, “He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him”, can you? It is of paramount importance that we stress God expects and requires us to obey the gospel, not just in faith, repentance and baptism, but in continuing to persevere in doing good (Romans 2:6-7) and to “try to find what is pleasing to Him” (Ephesians 5:6). It is not by our effort alone, but we must allow God to work in us and through us. It still comes down to choosing right over wrong on a continuing basis.

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  4. Eliza says:

    Hi dear Prodigal Knot,
    We always have to keep in mind the context of the passage quoted, and twice in Ephesians 2:1-10 Paul makes the clear statement that we are dead in trespasses and sins, but God makes us alive. He goes on to say, in that passage, that faith is a gift from God, and that even the works that we do to please Him, He has ordained. We see God doing what we are incapable of doing. We are commanded to repent and believe the gospel. How come so many never believe? Is it their “choice” or has God not opened their eyes? We must remember that passage in Isaiah that is quoted by Jesus Christ in the Gospels, quoted by John in his gospel and quoted by Paul in Acts: Acts 28:26-27 ‘Go to this people and say: “Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; And seeing you will see, and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn so that I should heal them.” John 12:37-41 But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again: “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, Lest they should see with their eyes, Lest the should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.” Matthew 13:13-16 “Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them, the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear;” Matthew 11:25 “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.” We are commanded by God Almighty to repent and believe, but when we do so, He gets all of the glory and none goes to ourselves for without His sovereign intervention none of us would believe, and we continue in the faith because of His divine work in our hearts turning us from error and conforming us to the truth. God bless you.

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  5. Pingback: The Doctrine of Salvation | End Times Prophecy Report

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