God's work in salvation is so vast, it is so comprehensive, there was such a divine genius of a plan put in place that it links eternity past with eternity future and all points in between. As Christians, we're all familiar with the word salvation, but do we fully understand its meaning and implications? On this edition of the Truth Pulpit, Pastor Don Green delves fully into the question, what is salvation, as he continues the series, Key Questions Answered.
Hello, I'm Bill Wright, and Don's with us in studio right now to get things started. And Don, what can we expect in your upcoming message? We are going to dive deep into scripture to see what God has done for us in Christ to deliver us from our sins. It spans from eternity past to eternity future, and we'll see that God has imparted to you every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. It will bring you to wonder, love, and praise for our great God as we study together on the Truth Pulpit. Thanks Don.
Well, friend, have your Bible open as Don continues to teach God's people God's word from the Truth Pulpit. What is salvation? That's the question that we want to answer today. What is salvation?
How did it happen? How did it come to pass that we were transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light? How was it that you and I as Christians went from a destiny that had only hell in its future to a destiny that now ends in glory and heavenly light? To answer that question is to answer, what is salvation? Let me give you a definition here. What is salvation?
Here's an answer to that question that we'll take and expand on. Salvation is the divine deliverance of sinners to a position of righteousness and blessing in this life and the life to come which is accomplished only through the person and work of Jesus Christ. Beloved, above all else, salvation is a deliverance. It is a rescue from that dark position and that dark realm of sin in which we dwelled. And because there are supernatural forces, because there is a supernatural blindness that is at work in the lives of the human race, and there was a supernatural darkness, scales as it were, that were over our eyes, a supernatural hardness of heart against the things of the gospel, because as men in sin, because as men under the domination of the devil, we were not able to do anything to deliver ourselves from that.
We were hopelessly lost. And so, when we talk about salvation, we realize that it has to be divine, it has to come from God, because a slave can't release himself from his own chains. And to talk about being delivered from that state into a state of blessing is to realize that we have been delivered. We have been rescued.
We have been saved. And so when we talk about salvation, we are saying that salvation is a divine deliverance of sinners. To state it in more colloquial language, we're saying that God has acted to save us. Now, many have been conditioned to define salvation as the moment in which they believed.
They look back at a particular moment in time when they supposedly prayed to receive Christ for their salvation. And there is a certain level of merit in seeing salvation from that, but oh, beloved, that is a woefully incomplete way of thinking about salvation. To look back at a past moment in time, to understand biblical salvation is to realize that God's work in salvation is so vast, it is so comprehensive, there was such a divine genius of a plan put in place that it links eternity past with eternity future at all points in between. To talk about the divine deliverance that God has done for his people is to realize that there is a comprehensive plan that has been in place that thoroughly transcends any single moment in time that could ever be. I want to help you think about salvation from that perspective.
There's a lot of different ways that we could handle this subject. Think about salvation in a somewhat chronological sense from the perspective of God. A chronological perspective on salvation to the extent that you can use the word chronology, a statement of time, to talk about eternity, I think you'll see what I mean. But we need to think about salvation from the perspective of God, and we need to realize that from God's perspective, salvation is something that began, that is rooted in something that he did before time began, and that it won't be finished until time ends and carries on into eternity future. Beloved, this is remarkably, wonderfully ennobling as we contemplate what God has done for us.
This takes us out of the realm of the here and now. This takes us out of the realm of what's happening in life today or tomorrow or what's going to happen in my lifetime. A proper biblical view of salvation lifts our minds into a realm of divine glory, of divine purpose, of divine mercy, of divine love that glorifies God, that glorifies Christ, and helps us recognize as Christians that we are on the receiving end of unspeakable, great, magnificent, inexpressible grace and glory and love. From the hand of the God who could have judged us, from the hand of the God who could have righteously delivered the blow of the executioner upon our soul, came instead a hand to deliver us of love and grace and mercy that we could never have deserved, and now that we've received it, we'll never be withdrawn from our lives. I want to give you five aspects of salvation to consider as we talk about the work of God to save sinners.
And if you're here today, beloved, what we're talking about, what you're getting a front row seat on, is the work of God to save your soul. And what should happen in your heart as you're listening to these points from Scripture, which we'll cover a whole too briefly, what should happen in your heart, the way that you should be processing what we're about to see, is a sense that this is so magnificent, and it should be so humbling to realize what God has done to secure the eternal well-being of your soul. You cannot look at these things as a Christian without being lost in wonder, love, and praise. You can't look at these things as a Christian without magnifying the God of your salvation and saying with the more contemporary song, who am I, that the God of all the earth should look upon my soul like this, with this level of favor.
Five aspects, beginning in eternity past and going forward to eternity future. There hasn't been a time, there hasn't been a moment in the divine unfolding of history where God was not working out all of providence, all of history, to secure your salvation by name. That is how great the grace is that's been bestowed upon us as believers.
When we teach the Bible, either in a formal setting like this, or just as individuals sharing Christ with those around us, don't you see that it's a privilege to have received this kind of grace, but then to be further privileged to be able to speak it, to declare it, to be bearers of good news to a lost world around us. Lost in wonder, glory, and praise, our Father. Lost in the magnitude of what has been given to us. First of all, first point, number one, what is salvation? To understand it, we've got to understand point number one, God's work in eternity past. And so we're just trying to look at the broad sweep. I want you to see, as it were, standing as it were on a mountaintop, and looking out at an entire mountain range, and just trying to look at the sweep of it. Rather than focusing in on one particular detail, as right and worthy as that would be, I want you to walk away with just a sense of the divine sweep of salvation, the magnitude of the plan of God, the work of God.
And that's what we're going to do. First of all, God's work in eternity past. The Bible clearly teaches that God sovereignly chose those people whom he would save before he even created the world. Before time began, God had already settled, and the counsels of the Godhead, he had settled the certainty of your salvation. Ephesians chapter 1 verse 3, the Apostle Paul, as he starts this letter, starts it on a note of praise. He says in verse 3, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now stop right there. Right there, beloved, frames the entire way that you should be thinking about everything that we're going to talk about here today. As we are explaining and unfolding from Scripture the reality of God's work for your salvation, your mindset should be one of praise and glory and honor to God, ascribing gratitude and thanks and worth and worship to him. Blessed be God. That is the entirety of the spirit in which we look at these things together here today. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Everything that Paul says in Ephesians is framed by an attitude of praise. We are not embarking on a purely academic exercise here today.
We're not simply trying to gather information. We are looking at what a holy and righteous and loving and merciful God has done on behalf of his people, and we as his people look at this and respond, Oh God, blessed be your holy name. God's work in eternity past. Verse 3, blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as he chose us in him when before the foundation of the world that we would be holy and blameless before him. He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world. He settled the certainty of your salvation before Genesis 1-1.
There was never a moment in the unfolding of human time where there was any doubt about the certainty of your salvation if you're in Christ. It was guaranteed to be accomplished because God, out of his free sovereign grace, determined that he would save you before time began. Everything after that, in a sense, was just an outworking of the inevitable. It was inevitable.
When I was born, it was already inevitable. If you're a Christian, before you were born, it was inevitable. It was predetermined that God was going to so work in your life and heart that he would bring you to the salvation that he determined to happen before the foundation of the world.
This is the scriptural doctrine of election. God, before the foundation of the world, chose certain individuals by name to receive salvation. When we contemplate salvation, beloved, we understand that Scripture teaches us that salvation is ultimately rooted in the free choice of God apart from any merit of man. Before you were born, before you had done anything good or bad, God had chosen you for salvation, which tells you that salvation is about the purposes of God, not about the merit of man. God had his purposes before time began. And even though you and I were unworthy, as Christians now we can look back and say, he chose us to be a part of his eternal redemptive plan, and it couldn't have been about my merit.
I didn't bring any merit to the table. It couldn't have been about my merit because it was before time began. This is all about the work of God, the choice of God. This is what God wanted to happen, fellow believer in Christ. God, before time began, determined he wanted to have ultimate mercy on you.
And throughout the whole sweep of his governance of the universe, throughout the whole sweep of human time, in his omnipotent, omniscient mind which sees the end from the beginning, there was never a moment in time where he lost sight of you because he had already chosen you by name. We are on the receiving end of eternal grace, of such a great magnitude that words can't properly describe it. And we'll spend all of eternity returning praise to God for that original choice that he made, and eternity won't be long enough to say thank you.
Eternity won't be long enough to give the proper thanks that he deserves. God did a work in his own electing choice in eternity past, and that was the originating source of your salvation. Now secondly, we're just going to kind of step through time. We step back before eternity began, and now we step forward into time and we're going to look at it this way. God's work 2,000 years ago.
That's point number two. God's work 2,000 years ago. God had chosen us for salvation, but sin stood in the way. The fact is as the race had fallen and judgment was required, and how could God bestow that grace upon people who had to be judged? Sin had to be addressed.
How could that ever happen? How can that tension of God's purposes be reconciled with the condemnation that our sin deserved? How could that dilemma be resolved? Beloved, God had to take the initiative. It had to be something that God could work to resolve because we couldn't do it on our own. God had to take the initiative, and you know what? He did!
Praise be to his marvelous name, he did! Luke 19, verse 10. The Son of Man, Jesus speaking, describing himself says, The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. 2,000 years ago, roughly speaking, Jesus Christ came from heaven into earth, took on human flesh.
Why? To seek and to save that which was lost. There's your statement of mercy. There's your statement of God's saving intentions. And in Mark chapter 10, verse 45, Christ, again speaking of himself, said, The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many. 2,000 years ago, before generations of your ancestors were even thought about, Christ appeared, Christ came to earth, and he came on a saving mission, came with the intention to do what was necessary to execute the plan of God determined before the foundation of the world.
And Jesus Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, lived a sinless life, died as a criminal on the Roman cross for the sake of securing your salvation 2,000 years before you were born. And in Ephesians, the Bible interprets the significance of the cross of Christ for us. Look at Ephesians chapter 1, verse 7.
Ephesians chapter 1, verse 7 says that in him that is in Christ. In Christ, we have redemption through his blood. Where was that blood shed? At Calvary. When was it shed?
2,000 years ago, as we stand here today. We have redemption. The price of salvation was paid through his blood. Verse 7, the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of his grace. God did a work at Calvary. God did a work through the sinless life of our Lord Jesus Christ. And in his life, in his death, and in his resurrection, the price was paid 2,000 years ago. This was a work of God, not a work of man. And the resurrection of Christ stamped the divine approval upon Christ, upon his work, and it established his authority to bring salvation to his people. Look at verse 18 of chapter 1 of Ephesians.
Paul is praying now for his readers. And he says, I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of his calling, what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of his might, which, watch this, he brought about in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come. The resurrection of Christ established the divine approval of his work. It showed that Christ had the power to deliver his people, that Christ had the authority to bring salvation to his people. The resurrection showed that the price of our salvation had been fully paid and accepted and received 2,000 years ago, a work of God. And so Christ stepped into time, took on human flesh. These are such magnificent holy themes of which we speak. The eternal Son of God stepped into time, taking on human flesh, with the express intention of going to the cross to voluntarily lay down his life as a sacrifice which would turn away the wrath of God from your sin and mine.
He did that. He shed his blood for our redemption. He was put in a tomb and God raised him from the dead, and now he is ascended to right high where he rules and prevails over all at the right hand of God. What is salvation? It's a divine deliverance.
How was it affected? How did this come into being? God chose us before the foundation of the world, knowing that our sin would one day need to be paid. Christ, 2,000 years ago, stepped in and by the magnificent holiness and glory of his own perfect life, shed his blood so that your sins could be paid for. This was a work of God. And so, beloved, as you're seeing this unfold, as we're looking at the broad sweep of salvation, understand that there has been an unfolding, a progress of history from the very beginning of time where God was most certainly fulfilling his intentions to save his people and by his grace, by his goodness, by undeserved favor upon you and me, he included us in that plan. He didn't include everybody. From equally undeserving people, he chose to save some and to give them favor. And if you're here today as a Christian, he had favor on you that he didn't show to everybody else. As Pastor Don Green has shared with us today here on The Truth Pulpit, the biblical definition of salvation is multifaceted and profound. Don will provide three more aspects of it on our next program, and we hope you'll plan now to be with us as we continue our series, Key Questions Answered.
But right now, Don's back in studio with a few closing comments. You've perhaps read the Bible or gone to church, but you've never really turned your life to Christ in repentance and saving faith. I was like that. I know what it's like to be self-deceived.
I just encourage you, if you've just viewed Christianity as something kind of casual and not all that important, my friend, examine yourself, see if you're truly born again, and let that work of God in your heart lead you to truth, lead you to the Scriptures so that you would enter into the profound life that belongs only to those who are true Christians. Thanks, Don. And friend, we invite you to visit thetruthpulpit.com. There you'll find information about free CDs of any of Don's teaching and also a link to Don's Facebook page. Once more, that's thetruthpulpit.com. And now for Don Green, I'm Bill Wright. We'll see you again next time as Don continues to teach God's people God's Word from The Truth Pulpit.
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