It Is Time to Start Listening to God (Part II)
In Part I of our study, we gave attention to the theology of today's religious world which attempts to explain away the reality of sin. We noted that even though some will confess they still believe man sins, they attempt to minimize the consequences of sin. However, the Apostle Paul's inspired message for man still testifies "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). Therefore, sin is a "real" thing with which we must deal. And, its eternal consequence to our souls should cause one and all to view it in the most sober manner possible.
PART II: YOU NEED TO BE SAVED
Because of the reality of sin, the subject of salvation becomes the most profound subject to occupy the mind of sinful man. The salvation contemplated is not that of money, personal property, or the physical being. It exceeds the realm of the material, carnal or physical, which is the present concern of every man. It pertains to the spiritual nature of man. It concerns that part of man which is made "in the image of God" (Genesis 1: 2 7). When the Holy Spirit treats the subject of salvation from sin, He speaks of the soul of man. We all possess an aspect of our being which is of more value than the whole world.
The value of the soul is expressed by Jesus in these words: "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matthew 16: 26). The wealth of this world, amassed together, would be staggering to the imagination of anyone. Yet, the Lord said one soul is of more value than the world's riches. His reference is to a soul like yours and mine.
A Strange Attitude
We have a peculiar sense of values. When the value of the soul is mentioned, we either deny its value or we minimize what the Scriptures say about the matter. Yet, honesty demands that we face reality. In one context we will face the truth; in another we will not.
A man and his wife will work day and night to acquire a measure of the goods of our affluent society. They finally own a beautiful home, a new car, a lakeside cottage, a cabin cruiser, a large life insurance policy, and many other such like things. But, if the child who has brought such joy into their lives is suddenly seriously ill, they will give all to save his life. They will become paupers if it will preserve the child's life. At the same time, they will deny the value of an eternal soul. That is a rather strange and inconsistent attitude, is it not? If we have the capacity to value a life so highly, why can we not value our souls similarly?
What Heaven Has Done
Jesus Christ, knowing the value of our souls, was willing to leave the portals of Heaven and come to the earth. Not only that, he became a sacrifice in our behalf to satisfy God's demand against us. He died to SAVE us! His great love wherewith He loved us was the motivation for his sacrificial service to mankind. "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). God and Christ acted together in establishing a way of salvation for you and for me. God is the architect of a plan which affords man the opportunity to be saved. At the time of his birth, Heaven declared: ". . . thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1: 2 1). What great joy and hope attends us because God does not require that we pay the price for our sins. Christ paid that price for us at Calvary.
But, Wait A Moment!
Some hastily conclude, "If Christ paid the debt of my sin, why should I be worried about the matter?" In fact, there is a religious doctrine taught that every man will be saved because Christ died for all men. It is known as "Universalism" or "Universal Salvation." However, it behooves us to ask, does the Bible teach that every man will be saved? If it does, all of us who are preaching can start doing something else. You good people who pay us can use your money on yourselves. But, not every man will be saved!
Who, Then, Will Be Saved?
The only way I know to answer that important question (and know that I am giving it the correct answer), is to appeal to the Scriptures. When I sin, I commit a trespass against God. God declared He would mete out mercy and not justice for my transgressions. Thus, He sent His Son to die in my stead, offering me a way to escape the damnation of Hell through His Son. Now note this carefully: (1) My sin is against God; (2) He decided He would offer me my salvation; but (3) He will save me on His own terms - not mine! Some of us indicate an interest in our salvation, but we seem intent on demanding that God save us on our terms. However, you can rest assured that will never happen. All that this thought suggests is that there are conditions of salvation.
Some Miss The Mark Again
I have seen several publications of prominent churches which propose to tell men how they can be saved. Great emphasis is given to "God's Part," as it should be! However, there is another part. That is "Man's Part," and here is where we find ourselves differing religiously. In unison we proclaim the grace and mercy of God in sending His Son to die for us. We thus extol the righteousness of God. We agree in this. But, then we come to "Man's Part" and we hear literally dozens of detailed explanations of what man must do to avail himself of the saving Blood of Christ. And, most of these answers are conflicting and contradictory.
An Appeal To God's Word
This is the final answer to all religious questions. So, what does God's word say about salvation? "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him" (Hebrews 5:8-9). Now, my friend, you answer the question. "Who will he saved?" Read that passage again. Who will be saved? Every honest man? Every sincere man? He who "feels" be is saved? No, not that at all. He will be saved who finds it in his heart to obey God!
Now, remember, we said that we sin against God. And that God will save us on His terms or conditions. Therefore, we are appealing to His Word to tell us how we can be saved. Already we have seen that God will save those who obey him. Let us confirm that truth, though it needs no confirmation.
Jesus said in the Sermon of the Mount, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 7:21). Let me remind you that it is your soul, and mine, under consideration in the context of this article. You will be the one who spends eternity in Hell if you fail to comply with God's terms of pardon.
Again, we ask, "Who will be saved?" What did Jesus say? The man who is honest and sincere? The one who "feels in his heart" that he is saved? The man who believes to the point he will confess Jesus as the Lord? Look at that passage again. He will be saved who does the will of the Father!
The conclusion from Hebrews 5:8-9 and Matthew 7:21 is too obvious to be denied. God will save those who obey Him or, those who do His will. Does this mean that a man who fails to obey or to do God's will is going to be lost? That is exactly what God's Word teaches.
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XV: 26, pp. 9-10