Luke 19:10, “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost”
John 1:29, “… Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”
Ephesians 2:1, “You He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins”
1 John 1:7, “The blood of Jesus Christ [God’s] Son cleanses us from all sin”
Inside, music was playing. Outside the leaves were falling. Catching a gust of wind, one of the last leaves of autumn blew briefly upward as I heard the phrase, “He is risen!” However, by the end of the song the leaf had reached the ground. Gravity had overcome the breeze. Later, I overheard three middle-aged women discussing diets, exercise, face-lifts, and other age-defying efforts. However, like the leaf, they were trying to keep gravity from pulling them toward the inevitable.
As I began to think, the women’s conversation reminded me of the good works people try to do to save themselves from spiritual death. However, just as leaves cannot keep from falling to the ground; people cannot keep from aging. No one can work hard enough to avoid the consequences of sin, which is death (Romans 6:23).
Acts 16:31 says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.” I’m mindful of the Apostle Paul. He had a crisis encounter with the Savior on the road to Damascus that turned him from a persecutor into a preacher of the gospel (Acts 26). In contrast, Timothy was quietly nurtured in the Scriptures from early childhood, resulting in his salvation experience (2 Timothy 3:14-15). No two faith journeys are identical. However, each has the common element of turning to the Lord Jesus in faith to be saved from sin and to receive a new heart, which we all desperately need.
Saved! It’s a common word used among those who believe on Jesus Christ, as their Savior and Redeemer. Saved means rescued, delivered, reserved, restored, preserved, protected, and treasured. However, the Bible, God’s Eternal Word, uses many other different words to describe our being rescued from sin and death. Each of the words that portray salvation also points out the condition from which we are rescued, as well as the means that brought this rescue to pass. So, let’s look at some of these special words and the wonderful riches of “so great salvation” we have received in Christ Jesus. Thus, God’s Eternal Word tells us that:
(1) Man is a law-breaker. God is JUST …
God’s justice must be satisfied and the demands of His broken law be fully met. God’s forgiveness never operates apart from or contrary to His justice. Therefore, we have God’s saving work of PROPITIATION. God Himself if fully satisfying His own justice and the demands of His own law for us. Leviticus 16:1-34; Hebrews 9:1-26; Hebrews 10:12-23; 1 John 1:8-2:2.
(2) Man is a rebel. God is PERFECT …
Since man is an incorrigible rebel with neither the inclination nor ability to seek God, it is God who seeks lost man. God’s character and standards are unchangeably perfect, and man is unchangeably evil and opposed to God. It is God Who, through the death and resurrection of His perfect Son and the power of the gospel and the Holy Spirit’s regenerating work, draws man to Himself in repentance and faith. This is God’s saving work of RECONCILIATION. God has removed the obstacle of sin and welcomes man back into a relationship with Himself, securing it by His own work on man’s behalf. Genesis 3:1-21; Ephesians 2:1-3; Colossians 1:20-22; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21.
(3) Man is spiritually dead. God is LIFE …
Since man is dead in sins, it takes a miracle of sovereign grace to bring this dead sinner to spiritual life. This is God’s saving work of REGENERATION. By means of the gospel accompanied by the Holy Spirit’s application of it to the heart, a dead sinner is made alive in Christ, and is enabled to exercise repentance and faith as fruits of this new life. Ephesians 2:1-3; 1 Peter 1:23; Romans 5:12-21; 8:1-11; Colossians 2:13; 3:1-10; 1 Corinthians 2:11-16.
(4) Man is unrighteous. God is HOLY …
Since man has no righteousness, cannot make his own righteousness, yet must have perfect righteousness to be accepted by a holy God, then God must provide this righteousness to man as a gift. This is God’s saving work of JUSTIFICATION. It is both the removing of man’s sin (cleansing) and the imputing (crediting) of God’s own perfect righteousness (justifying) to the man who believes in Jesus Christ. We have no righteousness of our own, but we have the absolute and perfect righteousness of God clothing us. Isaiah 61:10; Matthew 22:11-14; Romans 3:9-26; Acts 13:38, 39; Isaiah 53:11; Romans 4;5.
(5) Man is a slave to sin. God is a RESTORER …
Since man is completely a captive to sin and completely helpless to escape sin’s power and consequences, God must step in and set man free. This is God’s saving work of REDEMPTION. Man owes a debt of perfect obedience to God that he is incapable of meeting. Therefore, God sent His own perfectly obedient Son to live that perfect and sinless life of obedience on our behalf. Having satisfied God’s demands of obedience, He then laid His life down as the perfect, substitutionary sacrifice for us and for our sin. My brethren, this is God’s saving work of REDEMPTION. We owed a debt we could not pay, He paid the debt He did not owe, and by receiving God’s redemption we are freed from the debt and bondage of sin. Exodus 6:6-8; Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 1:18, 19; 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20; Book of Ruth
Thus, man is a citizen of darkness. God conquers our old king or nature and changes our citizenship. Man is under the dominion of the Prince of Darkness. Man is a willing accomplice to the rebellion against God Almighty, yet lives in misery and fear under the ruthless tyranny of the Evil One (Satan). The only hope for man is that God would somehow rise up and defeat the forces of darkness, yet spare man, who deserves the same fate of destruction as a co-conspirator of evil. This is God’s saving work of TRANSFORMATION. God defeats and destroys the Old Serpent yet chooses to spare us, releasing us from the old tyrant and making us citizens of the kingdom of life and light. Colossians 1:12, 13; Philippians 3:18-21; Ephesians 2:11, 12. The simplicity of all this is that we have been saved:
(1) BY God.
(2) FROM God.
(3) FOR God.
(4) By His GRACE.
(5) From His WRATH.
(6) For His FELLOWSHIP, forevermore!
In Luke 7 you can read the dramatic story of what happened when Jesus encountered a large funeral procession. A widow was on her way to the cemetery to bury her only son. With a heart full of compassion, Jesus spoke to the woman, touched the coffin, and with a command brought her son back to life. My brethren, what happened to that young man is an illustration of what happens to a person who is saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s lamb for our salvation? Until you and I come in contact with the Savior, we are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). We are on our way to the cemetery of what the Bible calls the second death (Revelation 20:6).
The Bible talks about sin in Romans 3:23, where the apostle Paul declared, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” No one is capable of bridging the gap between God and ourselves by our own efforts, but the Savior came to do just that on our behalf. Jesus Christ perfectly fulfilled God’s standards, then gave His life on the cross to pay for our failure and wrongdoing. Where we could only fall short, Christ’s work, offered in love, accomplished all that we needed.
Our future hope resides in these wonderful words of celebration found in 1 Corinthians 15:55, 57, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”. Thus, our only response is to trust Him (Jesus Christ) and receive this matchless gift of salvation.
There is no other name on earth
By whom salvation’s given
Save Jesus Christ the Lamb of God,
God’s precious gift from heaven. – Stairs
The cross of Christ reveals God’s love at its best and man’s sin at its worst.