#20 The Scope of Salvation
Our text for this morning is found in Romans 5:9-11 where we read; 9 “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”
How many times have you heard someone ask; “Are you saved?” Perhaps you have asked that question yourself. I remember when I was lost and someone asked if I was wanted to be saved, my response was “Saved from what?” The question didn’t make any sense because I didn’t know what they were talking about. I didn’t understand the things of the Spirit of God. They were foolishness to me. I believed in God and thought that was all I needed. And of course the ‘gospel’ that was being put forth was; “Jesus loves you and has a marvelous plan for your life.” Now that is good news. But what good is good news without the bad news which makes the good news so very good.
What are we saying to people when we tell them that they need to be saved? Specifically what do they need to be saved from? Is it salvation in their sins or salvation from their sins? In other words, are we suggesting that one can be saved and yet still practice sin? The message of modern evangelism tells sinners that Jesus loves them and has a marvelous plan for their lives. Is this true? They are so afraid they’ll see a “big one that got away,” that they’d rather rush someone into a shallow decision, and get the personal gratification of seeing someone “go down the aisle,” rather than take the time to fully explain the truth of the gospel, even if it takes long hours and nights of travailing prayer for his soul. We just don’t “have the time” to do things God’s way anymore.
When Jesus called a sinner to Himself, He didn’t water down His message in any way. He simply said “Follow Me! He didn’t follow sinners around or go door to door, looking for that fellow whom He healed the week before to share another parable or two. His attitude was, “If they want life, then they’ll have to come and follow Me.” But we, smart as we are, have decided to help God along. He doesn’t understand our generation as well as we do. The things Jesus emphasized in His preaching were all right for the Jews, but our generation needs a more gentle, loving tone. We shouldn’t scare the poor sinners by talking about hell or God’s Holy standard as seen in the law! No, that wouldn’t do. They’re just unfortunate, misguided souls so “Tell ’em about heaven!” And so we talk about heaven, about the “rewards of being born-again,” but we completely neglect the other side of the “two-edged sword.” (Heb. 4:12)
Keith Green said; “When the rich young ruler came to Jesus, he asked a very direct question: “Good Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Can you imagine what our preachers would answer him today? “Just admit you’re a sinner, accept Jesus as your Personal Savior, go to church, pay your tithes, try to be good, and you’re in!” But what was Jesus’ answer? “You know the commandments… if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” (Matt 19:17; Mark 10:19) The commandments?? Why they went out with Cecil B. DeMille! Isn’t this the “age of grace”!
Well, the truth is Jesus wasn’t preaching the commandments to him as the way of salvation, He was using the commandments to specifically convict him of his particular sin – greed. That rich boy loved the bucks, and Jesus knew just how to flush him out of the bushes – preach the Law! And that’s exactly what the Law is for- “For through the Law comes the knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:20).
That’s what Paul said. The Law must be preached – not as the way of salvation, but as a searchlight put on the sinner’s heart, so he can see how utterly rotten he is, compared to the way God requires him to be. Gal. 3:24) But today again, we are wiser than God. Our preaching isn’t filled with “dos and don’ts.” No, we don’t want to scare the “liberated generation” away. Why, if we said that fornication was wrong, or drugs, or abortion, or any other specific sin, people would feel all condemned and then how could they get saved?
But that’s just it, Jesus preached the Law to the rich young ruler so that, after feeling condemned about his greed, he could turn and obey Jesus and find true treasure in heaven. “Go and sell all you possess and give it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven, and come, follow Me.” (Mark 10:21) Unless people are truly convicted of sin, if they do not fully see that they are totally condemned by the requirements of God’s Law, then it is virtually impossible to show them the need for a savior. Why, what would they need to be saved from? Fun?
That is why our modern gospel must dwell on “all the good things God’ll do for you if you’d just accept Him!” We can’t convince a sinner that he needs a savior by just getting him to admit that, “Well, generally, yes, I am a sinner.” He must see how the Law of God totally condemns him as a sinner,9 and then the beauty of the Gospel, the glory of the cross, the marvelous power of Christ’s blood will be able to penetrate his anxious, waiting mind and heart. Only by the preaching of the Law can a man fully desire to be saved from his sin. For, “I would not have come to know sin except through the Law. “(Rom. 7:7)”
So we see that the Gospel message is that we must flee from the wrath to come. We must fall on our faces before the Holy God of the Universe and plead with Him to forgive us from our sins. We are law breakers and the penalty for our crimes is death. But Jesus fully paid for our sins with His precious blood and has set us free from the tyranny of the devil.
When we turn to Him for salvation He makes us new creations. The old life has passed away behold all things have become new. To those who say that you can ‘pray a prayer and get in the Jesus club without repenting of your sins, (turning away from our old life to serve the living God) they are declaring a false gospel. To such a doctrine Paul says; “God forbid” in Chapter 6. Look there with me for a moment. (Begin at verse 1 and read the whole chapter, explaining verse by verse)
John speaks of the necessity of a transformed life and the characteristics that will be a part of someone who has turned to Jesus, as well as the characteristics of false converts in his first epistle (1Jo 3:4-10) when he says; “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. 7 Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; 8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.
The writer of Hebrews gives us a glimpse into the scope of salvation when he says in (Heb 9:14) how much more will the blood of the Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to serve the living God? We were called out of the darkness of sin into the marvelous light of Jesus Christ.
Our lives have been transformed as God has given us a new heart and a new spirit and a new life. Our former life of sin is abandoned and we begin to live for the glory of God. All those things we used to do in order to gain points with God; to make Him happy and get us into heaven, these things are forsaken because now we know the truth. They were merely storing up wrath for the Day of Judgment when God will judge all who reject His Son! Having forsaken our old way of life we now walk a different path; the narrow road of grace that leads to life.
Note that we are called to serve the living God! I ask you; are you serving the Living God? Are you living for Him? Does your life reflect the light of the Son of God who dwells within you? And we are looking forward to our new heavenly home where we will be finally freed from the body of this death. Even now we can say with our brother Paul: “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” (Ro 11:33)
So let’s take a look at our text once again and look at each point to see the scope of our salvation. The points are:
- Justification by Christ’s Blood.
- Salvation from the Wrath of God.
- Reconciliation (Transformed from enemies to friends of God).
- The Meaning of the death of Christ.
- Salvation by His life.
- Exultation in God through Jesus.
So let us begin with the understanding of justification through the blood of Christ. Verse 9 says, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood… Let’s take up the passage there. Now we must first identify who Paul is speaking to. He is speaking to Christians, to those who have called upon the name of the Lord. This passage does not declare that everybody on the planet has been justified. Paul letters were addressed to Christians and here he was speaking to Christians living in Rome. To these born again believers in Jesus Christ he says that we have been justified by the blood of Jesus.
What does it mean to be justified? The word ‘Justification’ means God, by virtue of the shed blood of Jesus on the cross, has declared men to be free from the penalty and punishment due them because of their sin. Christians have been clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ and by virtue of His sacrifice on the cross, we are now declared to be righteous and therefore acceptable to him. Our slate has been wiped clean. In Colossians 2:13-14 he says that, “When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He (God the Father) made you alive together with Him, (Jesus Christ) having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”
My sin oh the bliss of this glorious thought,
my sin not in part but the whole,
was nailed to the cross and I bear it no more,
praise the Lord, Praise the Lord oh my soul.
Let me share with you from Pilgrim’s Progress titled; The Cross!
“Now I saw in my dream, that the highway up which CHRISTIAN was to go was fenced on either side with a wall; and that wall was called “Salvation” (Isa 26:1). Up this way, therefore, did burdened CHRISTIAN run; but not without great difficulty, because of the load on his back.
He ran thus till he came at a place somewhat ascending; and upon that place stood a Cross, and a little below, in the bottom, a sepulcher. So I saw in my dream, that just as CHRISTIAN came up to the cross, his burden loosed from off his shoulders, and fell from off his back, and began to tumble; and so continued to do till it came to the mouth of the sepulcher, where it fell in, and I saw it no more. Then was CHRISTIAN glad and lightsome, and said, with a merry heart,
“He hath given me rest by his sorrow,
And life by his death.”
When we came to the Cross of Christ and cried out to God for mercy, He saved us and we were made new creations in Christ Jesus. The Spirit of God moved over the dark void of our lives and said, Let there be light! We were called out of the grave of sin and self and raised to walk in newness of life. We were given a new life and our sins were cast away from us as far as the east is from the west. Greg Laurie says that our sins were cast into the sea of forgetfulness and a sign was posted “NO FISHING ALLOWED!
In this spiritual transformation from death to life our slate was wiped clean and it was as if we had never sinned. Justification; Just as if it never happened! We were made heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ and there is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. Not those who say “I believe that Jesus existed” but those who are IN HIM! We have been scrubbed clean beneath the crimson tide of the blood of Jesus and the next part of verse 9 says that “we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”
The wrath of God is not a popular subject and even Christian people don’t want to hear about it! The idea of any kind of punishment makes people uncomfortable. But if we are to reach their consciences we must declare the whole truth. The world says “I’m ok, you’re ok. But the scriptures tell us that we aren’t ok and God is mad! In Psalm 7:11 we read; “God is a righteous judge, and a God who has indignation every day. 12 If a man does not repent, He will sharpen His sword; He has bent His bow and made it ready. 13 He has also prepared for Himself deadly weapons; He makes His arrows fiery shafts. Calvin translates the passage; “God judges the righteous man, and him who despises God, daily.
The scriptures are full of passages that warn the wicked of the danger they are in. But God! God had mercy on His poor helpless creatures who wander around like sheep without a shepherd. And like Pilgrim, when God saves a sinner He not only sets him free from the tyranny of the devil but He removes that horrible load of sin that would sink him lower than the grave. The one who avails himself therefore of the salvation that is in Jesus Christ is free indeed!
Then there is the understanding that we are now friends of God! Do you understand this? Do you believe this? Remember the testimony of Abraham; he believed God; trusted God, and it was counted, reckoned, imputed, accounted to him as righteousness and he was called the friend of God! Do you believe in, trust in God? In other words, do you have the faith of Abraham? If so, you too are the friend of God. Now we were once enemies of God and under His wrath for we did not believe Him and whoever does not believe in Him is condemned already!
But God, the injured party had mercy foolish humanity who goes around boasting of great things and yet delivers nothing. Before He created anything, God looked down and saw the empty husks of fallen man and had mercy. And He called some of us with that holy calling and provided Himself a Lamb for the sacrifice and He took our sins and the ordinances that were against us and nailed them to the Cross. Consider these several passages.
2Co 5:19 “that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us.”
Ro 8:3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,
1Co 1:30-31 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”
And finally; Eph 2:4-7 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
Salvation from beginning to end is the work of God in Christ Jesus. Like the Hymn says;
“Jesus paid it all.
All to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain;
He washed it white as snow!
And so we come to our last point “Exultation in God through Jesus.” There is a song written by Larry Norman titled “Sweet, Sweet Song of Salvation!” I thing that this is a good title and if you can remember back to the day you were born again you will recall that you were singing such a song. Oh maybe not in words but your heart was alive for the first time in your entire life and you were filled with the Holy Spirit. And Jesus just oozed out of every pore. Do you remember this?
Now I’m going to ask you a hard question; why do we have to look back to a day in the past? Why isn’t this an ongoing reality? Let me ask it another way; is it your daily experience to exult in God through Jesus Christ? Are you overwhelmed in His presence each and every day or is your experience less than you would like? Well remember our bulletin cover: If God seems far away, who moved?
Remember that we are told in the bible to follow Jesus. We are to have our eyes fixed upon Him who is the Author and Finisher of our faith, really to the exclusion of all else! Remember what the all else is; wind and waves, winds of doctrine, troubles on the right hand and on the left. Now I’m not advocating an escape from reality. I’m not calling upon you to live in a dream world where nothing ever goes wrong. That would be stupid. But I am calling upon you to look to Jesus, to walk with Jesus, to strive to walk as close to Jesus as a pardoned sinner can.
It is interesting to me how the old timers; Brainerd and Edwards and Whitefield and McCheyne and others were of this mind. They knew that apart from Jesus they could do nothing. They knew that if they tried to live in this world apart from Jesus they would be destroyed. And so they fled the world and clung to Jesus. And He carried them through enormous difficulties so that, even though they were being tried by outward circumstances they were not blown away.
Indeed theirs was the testimony of Paul who said in 2Co 4:8-11 “we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” Can you echo these words? Or is it time for some self examination.
You see, it is my desire to be as close to Jesus as I can and I want for you to be there too! God said in Jas 4:8 “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…” will you seek to get as close to Jesus as you possibly can? Remember that He has saved us, justified us and reconciled us to Himself. He has saved us to walk in newness of life. He has adopted us to be sons and daughters, to be part of His forever family.
The scope of His salvation is too vast to be fully explained in this lifetime but suffice it to say that we have been born again to a living hope. The word hope in the bible means ‘a confident expectation.’ We have a confident expectation that He who has begun a good work in us will continue to perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.
And our comfort in life and in death is that we are not our own but belong body and soul in life and in death to our faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all of our sins with His precious blood and has set us free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven. In fact all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to Him, Christ, by His Holy Spirit assures me of salvation and makes be wholeheartedly willing and ready to live for Him.
I want to close with the lyrics of yet another song and I want you to consider the message that is being put forth to your hearts.
God cannot solve it.
There is no mountain too tall
He cannot move it.
There is not storm too dark
God cannot calm it.
There is no sorrow too deep
He cannot soothe it.If He carried the weight of the world upon His shoulders,
I know, my brother that He will carry you.
If He carried the weight of the world upon His shoulders,
I know, my sister that He will carry you.
And I will give you rest>