(9a) What is the only way to be saved according to the Bible ?
|Book 14 LESSON ONE * PART II |
Now for this lesson we will digress for a little bit, and go over the plan of salvation. We have been talking so much about the future of the believer, and the coming of the Kingdom and our opportunities and responsibilities in it, but we want to make sure that everybody understands how to become a part and parcel of this great salvation. So let's deal with the plan of salvation and make it as simple as we can. It is so simple and plain and yet so complex that I maintain we will never understand all of it until we get to glory. And yet it is so simple that a six-year-old can comprehend it.
We must begin with the very first law that God gave to the human race, and it was a law. And we pick it up when Eve is confronted by Satan back in Genesis Chapter 3:
"And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said (this is the first law for the human race, and of course she is quoting it, and not getting it 100% right, but mostly, and she says), `Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye (God didn't say the next word) touch it, lest ye die.'" In other words, sin would immediately bring about death. Go to the Book of Ezekiel Chapter 18. This is basically saying the same thing. This is the Lord God speaking:
"Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die." Let's see what the Apostle Paul says. Turn with me to Romans Chapter 3:
"For all have sinned (we already have), and come short of the glory of God;"
Now I maintain that salvation is only by faith. And faith is taking God at His Word. So the first thing we have to believe is what God says about us. And the first thing that I must believe is that regardless of how good I may be, or how good a family I may have come from. God says, "I'm a sinner." I've already sinned. And to me that is the very first step in the plan of salvation. Remember, salvation is an event. And the Christian life, or sanctification or growth aspect, is a process that takes place as we mature. But we must begin as new babes in Christ. There has to be that "New Birth" and that can't happen until we recognize a need. Jesus used the illustration that well people don't need a physician. But who does? The sick! It's the same way in salvation. The person who thinks he is good enough for Heaven will never be saved. There are so many good people; you can't take that away from them. But they are so good, they never see their need of salvation. Therefore, they are headed for an eternal doom. Just as much as the most evil person that has ever lived. And the reason they are headed for eternal doom is that they don't believe that God has said that they are sinners.
Adam was created with a body, soul, and spirit. And as such, he was in fellowship with God. His soul which made up his personality was the mind, will, and emotion. And it was all in perfect agreement with the Creator. And then in the area of his spirit, he had fellowship with the Creator. He walked with Him in the Garden of Eden and so forth. Now with all of this under the perfect control of the Creator, naturally, the body was without sin as well. It had never had the opportunity. But when Adam sinned, then immediately, this whole personality of him became what the Apostle Paul refers to as a "sin nature." It's just bent to sinning. And immediately the spirit died, and when the spirit died it lost that fellowship and communication with God. And it became then dormant. I think the spark is still there, but it needs charging to come back to life.
I have used the analogy of your car battery. If you leave your lights on over-night and try to start your car the next morning, your battery will be dead. You can go out there with a pan of soap and water and clean that old battery, make it look like new, then get back in the car and try to start it and what happens? Nothing, because it's still dead. You've cleaned it up and made it look good on the outside, but it's still dead until you bring in some outside power. That's exactly what salvation is. You and I cannot clean up our life. And how many people think they can do that. I've had so many tell me, "When I get my act together, and my life cleaned up, then I'll become a Christian." That's not the way it works. God takes us just exactly like we are, as sinners. And He is the one that has to infuse that divine life and power which comes with salvation.
Let's back up a bit. When the person who is now only body and soul with the sin nature ruling supreme, then for the most part he's not in control of all that he does. I guess the words I'm looking for are "he's in bondage" to the sin nature and of course to Satan. Many people today don't like to give credit to Satan, but I give him full credit. He is powerful, he is only controlled by the more powerful Sovereign God. But never underestimate the power of Satan. The world tonight is operating under the influence of Satan. Now Paul explains in Romans Chapter 1 and verse 16:
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it (The Gospel) is the power of God unto (what?) salvation (Go back a moment to that dead battery. As soon as you put an outside power on it you have life. And here Paul makes it so plain that the Gospel is that generating power) to every one that (it doesn't say he that joins the church, gets baptized, takes communion, tithes, does good works. None of those things are in here. They are all okay in their rightful places but they have nothing to do with our salvation. But the power of God is imputed to the person that) believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."
I'm not an easy believeism teacher. I do not ascribe to someone casually saying, "I believe Christ died for me." I don't buy that. When I talk about believing, I'm talking about totally entrusting our eternal destiny to the Word of God, to the power of the Gospel. Let's turn quickly to I Corinthians Chapter 15 and look at the Gospel. I have a fellow down in McAlester, Oklahoma who often tells me, "Les, you haven't shown anybody regarding the Gospel, in I Corinthians Chapter 15, in quite a while and it's about time." And I'm glad he does, because it is so easy to get a little lax sometime on this subject. But here in I Corinthians Chapter 15, the first four verses, you have the Gospel in the clearest definition that you can find in Scripture. I maintain it puts John 3:16 in the shade, because John 3:16 doesn't tell you everything. You have to read a lot in between the lines. But here it tells you everything:
I Corinthians 15:1,2
"MOREOVER, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel (do you see that, and it's the same Gospel that he is referring to in Romans 1:16) which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;" Positionally. We aren't driven about with every wind of doctrine. We are solid in this Gospel.
"By which also ye are saved (do you see that? A lot of people don't like that word, but it denotes salvation), if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain." In other words, you must know what you have believed. And here in verse 3 & 4 is the Gospel.
I Corinthians 15:3
"For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received,..."
Paul is constantly referring in his letter to the fact that he received this whole truth of the Grace of God from the risen Lord, and from him, (Paul) it went out to others. Unless you understand that, you will miss the point. Paul several times tells us he was the first to whom God revealed that the work of the Cross was not just Israel rejecting her King and Messiah and putting Him to death, but it was the fulfilling of the eternal purposes of God. That by that Crucifixion the whole human race would now have access to God's Plan of Salvation. It was culminated in His Resurrection as He came forth in power. And in a moment we will see that in verse 4:
I corinthians 15:3b,4a
"... how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again..."
Now that's the Gospel. That Christ died for my sins, He was literally dead, three days and three nights in the tomb, and He arose from the dead. That's the Gospel! And you can't shortcut it, and you can't do anything with it but believe it or reject it. And that is where faith comes in.
Let's go to the Book of Hebrews for a moment to look at a couple of Scriptures. The first one will be in Chapter 9.
"... without shedding of blood is no remission."
So that is where the death of Christ comes into play. He fulfilled that demand of God that blood had to be shed for the soul that sinneth. Don't forget that first law, "The soul that sinneth shall surely die." That cannot be compromised. Turn to Chapter 11 and verse 6. I always call these two verses, the absolutes; that you can't do anything with them but face them head-on. You will either believe them or reject them. And the other one is this.
"But without faith it is impossible to please him (do you see that?): for he that cometh to God (for salvation) must believe (and that is what faith is. Faith is believing) that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
On our way back to the Book of Romans let's stop again in I Corinthians, this time in Chapter 1. One thing that Paul is constantly reminding us of, through out all of his letters, is this work of the Cross. How that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again from the dead. What I say doesn't count. But what The Book says means everything. Verse 17:
I Corinthians 1:17
"For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
In other words, Paul says, "I can't let anything detract from that finished work of the Cross." Nothing that the Church does, not even the rites of baptism or anything else dare detract from the Gospel, and that is the finished work of the Cross. Now verse 18:
I Corinthians 1:18
"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness (to the lost person); but unto us which are saved it (the preaching of the Cross) is the power of God."
When the Holy Spirit begins to work on this dormant dead spirit with which we have been born (and when we get old enough to understand these things), the Spirit begins to convict us that indeed, we are sinners, and we have broken that law that the soul that sinneth will surely die. But you see God has given us a tremendous loophole, if I may call it that. And that loophole is, that yes, I have to die because I have sinned, but God has provided Someone who has died that death in my place. That's where understanding the Gospel comes in. That Christ died for me. He died for you. And as the Holy Spirit enlightens our understanding, and regenerates that old dead spirit, then this dead spirit suddenly realizes that I have died; the ego, the I, the Old Adam, was crucified; it was placed on the Cross in the mind of God, because God did it on our behalf. And as soon as we do that, He regenerates our spirit by that outside power, the fellowship is restored, and then He comes in and dwells in the person of the Holy Spirit. This old sin nature then become a new divine nature. This part of us that has been generated is now in concert with the eternal God. It begins to have its effect on the body and that begins our Christian walk. Then we come to the place of growing in Grace and knowledge.
Now, let's look at Romans Chapter 6. Here, Paul makes this so plain that we have to identify with what Christ accomplished on our behalf on the Cross. And it was through what He did. He fulfilled the demand of God that the soul that sinneth must surely die. He died my death. Now do you see that? And as He died my death and took that away, He also imparted eternal life in the area of the Spirit - this new Divine nature. And that is the part of us that will be one day ushered into His presence. And then we will pick up that new body that we talked about in the last lesson when the calling out of the Body of Christ, or the Rapture occurs. As such, then we become active in the overall plan of God in the Kingdom that is yet to come. In Romans Chapter 6, beginning with verse 5, where the Apostle uses plain English, Paul talks about something being planted. Now when you plant something, what do you do with it? You put it in the soil. That's planting it. And when that seed goes into the soil and the moisture, and sunlight began to work, what happens to that seed? It dies! Now out of that death of the seed comes new growth. Now look what Paul says in verse 5:
"For if we have been planted (in other words, if our Old Adam has died, it has to be crucified) together in the likeness of his death (If we have been identified in His death then), we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Do you see that? Oh, it's so beautiful. Let's turn to John's Gospel and then we'll come right back to Romans and finish this lesson. Last night, as I was teaching, going through so many Scripture verses, one lady said, "I'm going to wear out my Bible in one night." And there is nothing I like better.
Here in the Book of John are the events just before the Crucifixion. All the preparations are beginning for the last Passover. Some Gentiles wanted to see Jesus in verses 20 and 21. He didn't invite them, because He was still dealing only with the Jew (with few exceptions) as the Abrahamic Covenant was still operating. Here He responds to Andrew and Philip by saying:
"And Jesus answered them, saying, `The hour is come (He's ready to go to the Cross), that the Son of man should be glorified, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn (grain) of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.'"
So what is Jesus talking about? His own death, burial and Resurrection. That He had to die, and through that death He could then come forth in Resurrection power and impart that Resurrection life to those who would believe. Now to Romans Chapter 10 (a tremendous Chapter on salvation). Again, it's by faith and faith alone! For your salvation you can only believe that Christ died for you, was buried, and rose again. You claim that by faith, and immediately you are baptized by the Holy Spirit, you are sealed and you are placed in the Body of Christ. Don't ever try to add anything else to your salvation, because if you do, Paul tells us in the Book of Galatians Chapter 5 that when we do that, then Christ shall profit you nothing. So remember it's faith + nothing. Otherwise you are telling God, He didn't quite finish the work.
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
"For whosoever (there is no one left out) shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." That's faith, but we have to put that faith into action by asking Him to save us - the sinners.Les Feldick
Note: After the rapture a person must be saved by believing the Gospel of the Kingdom, not the Gospel of Grace. See question 15c.