|Volume 23 Number 1 January 2021
Two words for the purpose and context of this article must be defined – “God” and “salvation.” First, what does God say in self-revelation of Himself? There is a catalogue of passages. In Isaiah 43:10b–13 God declares, “‘Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the LORD, and besides Me there is no savior. I have declared and saved, I have proclaimed, and there was no foreign god among you; therefore, you are My witnesses,’ says the LORD, ‘that I am God.’” Psalm 90:2 declares, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting You are God.”
Second, what does “salvation” mean? According to Bible Words and Theological Terms Made Easy by Wayne Jackson, “Salvation” is the result of having been “saved.” “It could signify to deliver, to heal, to liberate, to preserve, etc., depending upon the context. Most prominently in the New Testament, salvation has to do with deliverance from the guilt and ultimate consequence (spiritual death) of sin. Ultimately, salvation is from God; no sinful creature has the ability to save himself (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:4-5).”
We must realize and be eternally grateful that our salvation is a divine achievement – not a human accomplishment. None of us can save ourselves no matter how remorseful we may be for our sins! No matter how long we would pray to be forgiven, without the sacrifice of Jesus our righteousness is like a filthy rag! Isaiah 64:5-6 says, “You meet him who rejoices and does righteousness, who remembers You in Your ways. You are indeed angry, for we have sinned – in these ways we continue; and we need to be saved. But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
The God of our salvation has provided for us the way to avoid His wrath. Psalm 118:14, 21 states, “The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation.” “I will praise You, for You have answered me, and have become my salvation.” Salvation is a gift – God’s most magnificent gift – but it must be unwrapped! It must be unwrapped and the directions followed, which are obedience to the Gospel and a life of faithfulness unto death! Even if it causes our death, we must remain faithful to God. A careful reading of Revelation 2:10 will show us this passage says, “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
Psalm 68:19-20 reads, “Blessed be the LORD, who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation. Our God is the God of our salvation and to God alone belong escapes from death.” Salvation is the deliverance from the guilt and ultimate consequence of sin, which is the second death. We will all succumb to the first death, which is physical. However, it is totally our choice to avoid the second death, which is spiritual. All people in Hell will be there because God simply honored their choice! Second Peter 3:9 tells us, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” This longsuffering is God’s ability to keep a forgiving, hopeful attitude toward us to keep from retaliating a wrong. Aren’t we thankful for that!
When Adam and Eve rebelled against God’s commandment not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is when sin entered the world (Genesis 3). Genesis 6:5 states, “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Wayne Jackson wrote in Fortify Your Faith; “God has an intense and sustained disposition towards evil and those who abandon themselves to it.”
We are living in an evil world and society; we are surrounded by hatred, violence, brutality and anarchy of every type imaginable! When this evil world and society begins to reap what it has sown, uprooting and dismantling our families and life as we know it, we may wonder when will our God step in to give all of us a reality check. It is at these times of stress and strain that we need to remember the more we know about God, the more we can and must trust Him. When He does just the opposite of for what we prayed, all we need to do is continue to trust and to obey Him. We must realize in all that God does, in all that He allows, He is always pursuing our salvation. We must trust God to a degree that we may have never trusted Him before. We must know that whatever happens, God always knows what He is doing. His redemptive purpose in the world will never be slowed down, obstructed and certainly not stopped, because sin entering the world cost His Son His life!
God says what He means and means what He says. He declared in Isaiah 46:11b, “…Indeed I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it.” When God has purposed “it,” whatever “it” is, that settles it! Even if everything appears to be falling apart, we must continue to have faith and trust in the God of our salvation!
In his book, Hear My Cry O Lord, Randy Becton made these observations. “With the authority of God, Jesus entered a world enslaved by Satan. His victories over the power of evil are not just isolated invasions of Satan’s realm. They are the manifestations of the beginning of the end for Satan and the dawn of salvation. Jesus announced the kingdom and revealed that the reign of God had begun — a time when His salvation comes personally to mankind. Salvation is here through the forgiveness of sins.”