The purpose for which Jesus died was to deliver us out of this The real truth network.
deliverance. You've been rescued from spiritual death and eternal separation from God. To get a clearer picture of exactly what God has rescued you from, stay here as John MacArthur continues his study titled, Delivered by God. I have spoken to you on the subject of deliverance, the neglected doctrine. I have done this because I feel obligated before the Lord to give you an understanding of the current state of the evangelical church. I do it with some reluctance.
It doesn't make me happy to do this, it makes me sad. I don't like to have to point out many of the things that I've pointed out, but they are the truth and that is my responsibility before God. What I have been saying to you is that evangelicalism is in a desperate situation and that desperation is made manifest by its inability to distinguish who is a true Christian. We have abandoned any clear understanding of what it means to really be saved. We in the sense of broad evangelicalism. This kind of evangelicalism pervades today and it's being systematically developed and spread. And people are reluctant to call it what it is because you're viewed as unloving. Now I have to ask the question, is the gospel that unclear?
Is it that fuzzy? Is it that hard to understand the gospel? Is the New Testament not clear on the subject? Does it not give us enough light to know who is a Christian and what it means to be in the body of Christ and what is necessary to go to heaven? I mean, doesn't the Bible say go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature?
Doesn't the Bible say that if anybody doesn't love the Lord Jesus Christ, he's cursed? Doesn't the Bible say that salvation is by faith and faith comes by hearing the Word of God and hearing the Word about Christ? And how are they going to hear without a preacher and how are they going to have a preacher unless somebody goes? Are we really supposed to call all the missionaries home? Are we really supposed to stop evangelizing because anybody anywhere who thinks good thoughts about God and tries to be a little different than his society is going to be in heaven?
They're cutting the heart out of the church here and out of our ministry. If the New Testament, on the other hand, does settle the issue, then we have no right to ignore the New Testament. We have no right to redefine it on our own terms in order to be popular, in order to be accepted. True and historic Christianity has never been confused about what it means to be a Christian...never. True and historic Christianity has always known that the New Testament is crystal clear on this issue. The New Testament tells us everything we need to know so as to be unmistakably certain as to what it is that a person must believe to be saved.
There is no lack of information in order to discern. There is no lack of information, truth, in order to distinguish between true and false nominal and real Christians. And we have said that one very good way to understand who is a true Christian is to understand this great truth of deliverance. If you understand deliverance, you will understand this issue. You can know who a true Christian is because they've been delivered...they've been delivered.
And first of all, they've been delivered from error to what? The truth. Nobody is a Christian who doesn't believe the truth about Christ. Muslims don't believe the truth about Christ, Buddhists don't, non-believers don't, Mormons don't, pagans and tribes don't. If they have a heart that seeks God, if the Spirit is prompting their heart, believe me, God will deliver that truth about Christ to them so they can believe. But apart from that, there's no salvation. There isn't salvation in any other name, is there? Anybody who's a believer has come to know the truth, understand the truth, believe the truth, embrace the truth and love that truth and reject everything else as a means of salvation. One thing can be said about a Christian, he knows the truth, he loves the truth, he worships the God of truth, exalts the Christ of truth, is indwelt by the Spirit of truth and obeys the Word of truth. Truth is the heart and soul of the gospel that saves. Transformation begins with a transformation out of darkness into light.
Darkness is a metaphor in Colossians 1, 12 and 13 for error and light is the metaphor for truth. We have to go to the corners of the world, folks, and we have to tell people the truth, the only truth that saves. If all these people are already in the body of Christ and are already going to heaven, why are we sending all these people millions and millions and millions of dollars to go do this unnecessary thing? And you ask, what's gone wrong? What's gone wrong? What's gone wrong in evangelicalism?
I'll tell you what's gone wrong. Somebody might say, wow, it's sociological pressure, it's pressure from the world. No, it's not pressure from the world, it's not sociological pressure, it's not the culture that's doing this. It's not the unbelievers that are doing this to us.
It's not the outside that's doing this to us. The problem is there is within the confines of Christianity false teaching. Ian Murray is right when he wrote in his book, Evangelicalism Divided, and I quote, "'Spiritual decline is not a mystery which Scripture leaves unexplained. It is the result of the presence of falsehood where there should be truth,'" end quote.
That's it. The problem is we are imbibing lies. That's the problem. One thing you learn very rapidly when you study the Bible is God is a God of truth and Satan is a liar. And from the very beginning, from the first encounter in the Garden with Eve, Satan led the whole human race into sin by lies. And the Bible warns about false teachers from the front to the back, from the beginning to the end, from the top to the bottom, over and over and over and over, the Bible talks about deception, deception, deception, dumb dogs that can't bark, clouds without water. Dumb dogs that can't bark was Isaiah's phrase, Isaiah 56, 10. These people come along, Jeremiah 8, 11, and they say, peace, peace. They have the way of peace, the way of peace, but there's no peace. They offer you a way of peace with God, a way of reconciliation, but it's a lie, it's a deception. They are the prophets. Jeremiah 23 says that God didn't send.
They go, but God didn't send them. They speak, but not the Word of God. False teaching brings the church into impotence, into confusion, into heresy. The great Scottish preacher, Horatius Bonner, wrote of Satan and the gospel, these words. He comes as an angel of light to mislead yet pretending to lead, to blind yet professing to open the eye, to obscure and bewilder yet professing to illuminate and guide. He approaches us with fair words upon his lips, liberality, progress, culture, freedom, religion, elevation, benevolence. He seeks to make his own out of all these, to give the world as much of these as suits his purpose, as much as will make them content without God and without Christ and without the Holy Ghost. He sets himself against God and the things of God in every way. He can deny the gospel, or he can dilute the gospel, or he can obscure the gospel, or he can neutralize the gospel. He rages against the true God, sometimes openly and coarsely, at other times calmly and politely, making men believe he is the friend of the truth. You can tell a true Christian, a true Christian knows the truth, understands the truth, loves the truth, lives for the truth. Nobody is saved who doesn't. That's the truth about who God is, the Trinity, holy, the eternal sovereign of the universe, who Christ is. God incarnate in human flesh who lived a sinless life, died a substitutionary death though He was innocent of any sin, rose the third day in a physical resurrection, having conquered death, ascended to heaven from where He sent the Holy Spirit, now interceding for us someday to return and establish His eternal glory and kingdom. And to believe that salvation is by grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ alone apart from any works.
It doesn't matter that you're trying to be a little better than the people around you. That's the truth. And apart from that truth, nobody is saved. And if somebody is a Christian, they know that truth, they understand that truth, they believe that truth, they embrace that truth. Secondly, Christians have not only been delivered from error to truth, but from sin to righteousness.
Remember in Romans 6, go back there for a moment, Romans 6, 17 and 18 is a very critical verse because it captures the essence of this deliverance doctrine. Romans 6, 17, middle of the verse, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were delivered, is what the Greek says. You became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching, that body of doctrine, that body of truth to which you were delivered. That was your salvation. You went out of the darkness into the light, out of error into truth. You from the depth of your heart obeyed that doctrine, that body of teaching regarding Jesus Christ and the gospel.
You believed that. You were delivered into that. Now go back to the beginning of the verse. So thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, drop down to verse 18, you have been freed from sin, become slaves of righteousness, the second thing from which you were delivered, not just from error to truth, but from sin to righteousness. You can tell a Christian, they practice righteousness. They've been delivered from sin to righteousness. We looked at 1 John chapter 3, tremendous portion of Scripture, starting in verse 4 going all the way down to verse 10 of 1 John 3. We saw how that the one who is born of God does not practice sin. The one who abides in God does not continue in a pattern of sin.
If you are a true Christian, you obey God's Word as a pattern of life, you practice righteousness. Verse 7 of 1 John 3, little children, don't let anybody deceive you. That's what people do. They deceive you.
They lie to you. It's this clear. The one who practices righteousness is righteous.
How clear is that? And what is righteousness? Righteousness is defined as God's holy standard. If you practice righteousness, you're righteous. That is, you have been delivered from sin to righteousness. You're a Christian. Verse 8, the one who practices sin is of the devil.
It's that simple. It doesn't mean that Christians never sin. It means that that's not the pattern of their life. That's not their practice. We say a medical doctor has a practice.
What we mean is he has a pattern, a professional fulfillment. You have a practice, too, as a Christian and it's a practice of righteousness. And if it isn't that, then you're not a Christian. There are the children of God and there are the children of the devil.
Verse 10 says, by this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious. Who is a Christian? Somebody who practices righteousness. I'll never forget getting into this debate when I wrote the book on the gospel according to Jesus and I said that people who are true Christians live a righteous life. And people started saying, wait a minute, a person can be a Christian and have no righteousness. They can even be an unbelieving believer. They can even reject God, curse God and live a life of sin and still be a Christian.
What? That's what they...that's part of this evangelicalism of today. It's an event.
There's some walking forward, raising a hand, signing a card, praying a prayer, having an emotional event. That's the salvation and it has nothing to do with what you are the rest of your life. Not so.
The children of God and the children of the devil are obvious by their practice. James says in James 2, 14 to 26, you can say you have faith, but faith without what? Is what? It's dead. It doesn't exist.
It's a non-existing thing. If there's not a pattern of evidence that you have a new life, you were literally the old life died, new life came, you died with Christ, you rose to walk in newness of life, you are a new creation and that new creation manifests itself in a practice of righteousness and if the practice of righteousness isn't there, you're the devil's child, not God's. And a practice of righteousness simply means you are from the heart, not only obedient to the form of doctrine, but from the heart you are obedient to its righteous standards so that true Christians believe the right thing and behave the right way. And when we do sin, it is a grief to us because we love righteousness.
There's another element of deliverance. The Christian has been delivered from the temporal world to the eternal kingdom. The Christian has been delivered from the temporal world to the eternal kingdom. Listen to Galatians 1, verse 3, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
By the way, I stole the name of our radio program from Paul, grace to you. Verse 4, who gave Himself for our sins. Here it comes, that He might deliver us out of this present evil age according to the will of our God and Father to whom be the glory forevermore, amen.
That's a great...that's a great doxology, isn't it? We have been delivered out of this present evil age into the eternal kingdom. By the way, this is what we call a Greek subjunctive which indicates purpose. The purpose for which Jesus died was to deliver us out of this present evil ion. That's what is inherent in His salvation. The very purpose of our salvation was to deliver us out of this present evil age.
What's He saying? He's saying is that if you've been saved, you have been rescued from this evil world system. It just doesn't hold any charm for you. It just doesn't hold any attraction for you. I'm telling you, you need to go and vote for those that most approximate a righteous standard because God would be honored when you do that.
But for us, sometimes it's hard to do that because there's really nothing in the system ultimately that compels us. Jesus' death was, for all who believe, a rescue effort. And you can tell a Christian, a real Christian by their disinterest in the present world system. The word deliver here, just a note about that, is ekkireo, ekkireo. It means to rescue. It is used just a few times in the New Testament. It's used in the seventh chapter of Acts where Stephen was preaching his sermon before the Sanhedrin for which he was stoned, you remember, to death. And he was describing how God delivered Joseph and his children, the children of Israel, from Egyptian affliction, about the tenth verse of Acts 7, and again I think it's repeated in the thirty-fourth verse. And it's the word rescue, to deliver, to rescue the children of Israel and Joseph from Egyptian affliction. Peter used the word to describe God's deliverance of him from prison in Acts chapter 12, verse 11. And the Roman commander, Claudius Lysias, used it of the rescue of Paul from that angry mob in Jerusalem in Acts 23, verse 27.
So it's a word that talks about rescuing someone out of a very dangerous situation. So those four times that it's used, it's used in a physical sense. Only once is it used in a metaphorical sense and that's here.
And it's used here to refer to the cross, the death of Christ who gave Himself for our sins that He might rescue us out of this deadly and dangerous present evil age. It's evil in that it's characterized by evil. It's dominated by evil.
The word age is aion. It doesn't refer to time, but it refers to a system, an era. And the present evil age started at the fall and it will go on until Jesus comes back and establishes His kingdom of righteousness. In between the fall and the establishment of the kingdom of Christ is this present evil age. It is characterized by lies. It is characterized by deception. It is characterized by Satan's agenda.
It is characterized by what is temporal, what is for time only, what is physical, what is passing, what ultimately will be destroyed. And the Lord rescued us from that. Another way to say it is over in the sixth chapter of Galatians. Look at that, 6 verse 14, He's sort of talking here about how the Pharisees boasted in their works, were proud about their self-righteousness, and Paul is not like the circumcised who boast about their fastidious attention to the Law. Verse 14, he says, may it never be that I should boast. I'm not going to boast about anything in me, I don't have anything worthy in me.
But if I do boast, I will boast in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. And what did that cross accomplish? Through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world. What does it mean to be crucified?
To be dead. It's just a dramatic way to express the thought of death. Paul says Jesus Christ went to the cross and through His work on the cross, the world is dead to me and I am dead to the world.
What does it mean? It simply means that the world has no relation to the believer and the believer has no real relation to the world. And what we mean by world here is not food and sunshine and just the normal matters of life which God has given us, but he's talking here about ideas and ideologies and thought patterns and values and honors and achievements and accomplishments and all the stuff that everybody is into, the pleasures, the treasures, the honors, the values, the ideas. If you go back to 2 Corinthians 10, 5, a very important passage, he talks about the ideologies, the logismos, Paul says we are destroying ideologies and then he further describes them as every lofty thing lifted up or exalted against the knowledge of God.
Any anti-God idea, any anti-God idea. I want to do my duty to take care of my yard so that it reflects the beauty of God's creation, but I can't get into this environmental thing of save the planet, save the planet, save the planet. This is a disposable planet. It's the way it was designed. Sin is catapulting this planet toward destruction and as I've said before, if you think we're messing up the planet, wait until you see what Jesus does to it. This is a passing world. All this action, all this fury, all this media attention for all of this stuff has nothing to do with anybody's eternal soul.
People go to colleges and universities and get PhDs to rearrange these deck chairs. It's all stuff that's raised up against the knowledge of God. And Paul says, when I came to Christ, I died to it and it to me, it has no part with me.
I have no part with it. This is Grace to You with John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University and Seminary. He is titled our current series, Delivered by God. John, back to a point you made early in the lesson. You said that the New Testament gives enough light to know who is a Christian, but I can imagine someone wondering, well, doesn't the Bible teach that God alone knows what's in a person's heart?
So what about that, John? Can you ever completely know whether a person who professes faith in Christ is truly saved? Well, yeah, you don't want to get confused between omniscience and the recognition of true spiritual conversion. I can just go to the Bible and say, by their fruits, you shall know them. I mean, that's what Jesus said.
Right. He said it in the Sermon on the Mount, and it's plain and simple, that salvation is manifest. If anyone is in Christ, there's a new creation, old things have passed away and new things have come. There's a real transformation, and that transformation shows up in love, first of all, loving God, loving Christ, loving the Word of God, loving the people of God, loving the church, loving others. Then it shows up in, I think, obedience, the longing of the heart to obey, because if you love me, you keep my commandments, Jesus said, in many, many ways, John's Gospel especially.
And thirdly, I think a mark is the simple reality of humility. In true believers, there's a supernatural humbling of the soul before Christ, and that comes out in confessing him as Lord and me as his slave. So yes, you can know someone is a believer, but that's a long way from being omniscient. When the Bible says God alone knows the thoughts of a person, that means he knows all of them.
He knows every thought of every human being all the time, nothing escapes him. So yes, I believe that God wants us to know that we're saved. When people doubt that, when they worry about that, I think the best answer is this. Peter said, when you go through trials, that's when you find whether your faith is the real thing. If it survives with gratitude and joy and intact and you're trusting the Lord and leaning on him in that trial, that's the evidence that this isn't some temporary kind of human faith. This is a gift from God. And the illustration of that that just dominates the Old Testament, towers over every other illustration of salvation, is Job. I mean, he loses everything.
And what does he say? Though he slay me, yet will I trust him. He was so totally confident in God that this was a demonstration of supernatural faith. So yes, we not only can know we're saved, God wants us to know we're saved, and he uses trials to affirm that. Thank you, John and friend, for some very helpful reading on the marks of genuine salvation. Pick up John's book titled Saved Without a Doubt.
It can help you know for certain whether you're a child of God, and it'll help you also explain to others what it means to follow Christ. To order a copy, contact us today. You can call our toll-free number, 855-GRACE, or go to the website gty.org.
Saved Without a Doubt provides biblical answers for putting away worries about salvation, and it shows you how to have genuine assurance. To pick up a copy or a few to give away, call 855-GRACE, or go to gty.org. And when you get in touch, let us know how John's verse-by-verse teaching is helping you learn God's word, how it's equipping you to tell others about Christ. Or if someone you know has come to faith in Christ after hearing this broadcast, let us know. And let us know how you hear Grace to You.
It helps us to know how you're accessing these lessons, whether it's online or through the Grace to You app or on your local radio station. You can email us at letters at gty.org. That's our email address, again, letters at gty.org. Or write us by regular mail. You can write to Grace to You, Box 4000, Panorama City, California, 91412. Now for John MacArthur and the entire Grace to You staff, I'm Phil Johnson, reminding you to watch Grace to You television on Sunday and be here next week when John continues his series, Delivered by God, with another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time, on Grace to You.
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