Trusting in Christ
I felt it would be good to provide a study on the subject of salvation by setting forth why no person can be saved by anything they can do in their own efforts. Until this truth is realized, the struggle over salvation will always be there. Let's talk about it.
This is Bible Study DU005 - Trusting in Christ.
The subject title is the seed truth. It is the very essence of Biblical salvation. Being saved has nothing to do with anything we can offer to God. What can a sinful race offer to a holy God? Everything we touch is enbued with sin. Our unsaved hearts are hearts of sinners. The human race is charged with sin, infected by sin, directed by sin, and corrupted by sin. What can our sinful hands offer to God what would not be an offering of sin? Nothing at all. We are bankrupt of any righteousness.
So, what can we offer God with a view to salvation? What do we sinful creatures have that would be good enough for God to accept us? Again the answer is nothing. We can't clean ourselves up. There is nothing on our part that we can do to be accepted by God. Until we recognize this basic truth, we will never understand what salvation is all about.
Let's press this further. Nobody prays through to salvation. Speaking in tongues has never been an issue of salvation. Fasting and prayer are not issues of salvation. Having uncut hair does not get God's attention. Whether you drink or smoke has nothing to do with salvation. Going to movies or not going to movies is not a thing of salvation. No matter what we may think about these things, they have no relationship to salvation itself. No person can get good enough to get saved.
So let me repeat -- We are powerless in ourselves to think that anything good can come from us. Salvation can only come from God Himself. He alone is righteous and without sin.
Stop and think about what John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus, and the apostles all taught on the issue of salvation. They were addressing a Jewish audience. The Jews hung their hats about being saved on the merits of Abraham. Without quoting a lot of Scripture, let me simply share what Paul said concerning both Jews and Gentiles:
"There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one." Paul is quoting from the Psalms.
His point was that until the Jews realized that they were just as lost as the pagans, they themselves could not be saved. Why is that? Because salvation can only come from God Himself. And the sinful state of Adam had casts its shadow across the whole of mankind. In fact all unsaved people are under the power and authority of a spiritual being beside God. Satan is actually called the god of this world.
Paul brings this out in Ephesians 2, where he says, "And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest."
Have we nailed this issue down firm enough? Once again, until a person realizes that they cannot be saved by any effort of their own, they will remain stupefied in how to be saved. What then is the answer? The answer never changes. Salvation is trusting wholly in Christ and in His Lordship. Reading a bit further in Ephesians 2, we hear Paul say this:
"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them."
Now for the argument. It goes this way, 'But, that is too easy. Anyone can say they trust in Christ. Where is their experience? Where is their holiness? Where is their witness of speaking in tongues? Where is their separation from the world? Where is their...where is their...where is their...?'
Do you see the problem with the argument of 'Where is?' All these responses continue to miss the message of salvation. What then is the central message of salvation? John 3:16-17 sums it up; "For God so loved the world, that He gave His own begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the he world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him."
Did you catch it? Salvation is through the Son alone. The Son took the place of the human race. The Son took to Himself our separation from God. The Son died in our place. The Son was judged with our judgment. The Son was declared sin so that we could be declared right before God. The Son resurrected from the dead as a sign that judgment had been met. The Son entered back into heaven. And the Son is now Lord of all. He is above all. He has all authority in heaven and on earth.
So how then are we saved? We are saved by appealing to the Son. This is why the prophet said, and, by the way, was quoted by both Peter and Paul, "And it shall be, that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Cf. Acts 2:21; Rom 10:13)
Out of the cross came the eternal law of salvation. It is the one law that Satan hopes no person ever sees clearly. This is why he keeps adding religious ritual to religious ritual, condition upon condition, law upon law, tradition upon tradition, and anything else he can throw into the mix. He knows that any person, who calls upon the Lord Jesus Christ by view of salvation, will be saved. It is as simple as that.
Satan knows it. We need to know it. We need to be able to preach this simply message of faith in Christ to the harlot, to the beggar, to the drunkard, to the sinner of the deepest cut. This is the one message that carries the authority of heaven in it. This is the true message of salvation.
Did you know that the apostle placed a curse upon anyone who would preach any message of salvation aside from calling upon the Lord? Every works-righteousness preacher likes to fire-blast the peoples with, "Though we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed." They do this to prop up their own distorted message of salvation. But these same preachers do not understand what they are saying.
Paul is saying that if a preacher adds one iota to the salvation message other than faith in Christ alone, that is, anything other than our calling upon the Lord Jesus, this preacher has mispreached the gospel message. And he has placed himself under a curse.
Let's take a moment to clarify this statement of 'Though we or an angel.' Listen again to Galatians 1:8, "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed." (Paul repeats himself in verse nine.)
The key statement is 'What we have preached to you.' I would challenge any person who is still struggling over the salvation message, to make a review of Acts to see what the apostles actually preached. They all preached the same message. Paul sets this message forth in Romans 10, by telling us what the apostles preached. Listen carefully:
"But what does it say? 'The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart' -- that is, the word of faith WHICH WE ARE PREACHING, that, if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation." (Rom 10:8-10. Caps for emphasis.)
Now listen to what Peter says at the council of Jerusalem in Acts 15; "After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, 'Why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are."
In bringing this part of the study to a close, let me offer an adage that places salvation where it belongs; the saying goes, "We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone." Add anything to that simple statement of salvation and we no longer have Biblical salvation.
Think about it.
"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission."
This study was originally shared on March 3, 2006. It was written by Pastor Buddy Martin, a former United Pentecostal Church minister, who founded and pastors Christian Challenge International. Writings are the copyright of Buddy Martin and reprinted on this site by permission.
Page added March 16, 2006
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