"SALVATION": A SOVEREIGN SACRIFICE AND SURETY
Scripture Text: Romans 5:8,9, "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him."
Many years ago, the word "SALVATION" was defined in Webster's Dictionary as follows: "The saving of man from the spiritual consequences of sin; especially deliverance from sin and eternal damnation through the atonement of Christ." Well friend, I can't think of a better definition, but certain people and organizations objected so much to this definition that it was removed, and was replaced with words that are more socially-acceptable, but lacking in any Scriptural characterization.
In the Scripture verses that we're using as our text for today's message, we have two of the most wonderful verses in the entire word of God. And when I say that, I don't mean to infer that some of the Bible is any more important than the rest, but nevertheless, there seems to be certain Scriptures which thrill the heart and soul of those who are "saved", "born again", and "children of God". Yes, here in Romans 5:8,9, we have seven basic and fundamental factors relative to the soul's salvation.
First of all, I want you to notice the CONCEPTION of salvation. Where did it begin? Well, our text tells us in the second word. In verse 8 we read, "But GOD". Yes, "salvation is of the Lord," God in Heaven. Sinner friend, the Sovereign God loved you and me long before the foundations of the earth were laid. And back in Genesis chapter 3, we read how God provided the blood-shed covering for our first parents, Adam and Eve, who had sinned against God by partaking of the forbidden fruit. They then sought to hide from God amongst the trees in the Garden of Eden. But God found them, and we're told in verse 21, "unto Adam and also to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skin, and clothed them." And it was then that God set forth the pattern, principle, and precept to be followed throughout the entire word of God, which is, "without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sin."
Friend, God is the Author of salvation. He CONCEIVED it ! It was also His idea, to provide the ark of safety for the antediluvians in Noah's day. It was His idea, for the "passover" to deliver the Israelites from their bondage in Egypt. And thank God, it was His idea, to send His Son from Heaven to die on the cross for our sins. God declares in Isaiah 43:11, "I, even I, am the Lord; and beside Me there is no Saviour." Yes, God CONCEIVED the great plan of salvation, available for us today, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; Who suffered, bled, and died for our sins at Calvary.
That leads us to the second characteristic of God's salvation, and that is the fact that God not only CONCEIVED it, but He also COMMENDED it to you, me, and everyone else. Our text says, "But God COMMENDETH His love toward us." The Apostle John reiterates this act in I John 4:10, "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." Again in verse 19 of that same chapter, we're told that "We love Him, because He first loved us." Then the Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:4, "God, Who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us." Oh, how I thank God today for the fact that He loved me so much, that He was willing to send His only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, down to this sin-cursed earth to die on the old rugged cross for my sin. Yes, and I rejoice today, when I think of what the Lord Jesus Christ declared in the best-known verse in the Bible, John 3:16, "FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD, THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH, BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE."
Friend, as you read these words in the comfort of your home, institution, or work place, have you ever given one moment's thought of God's love; or are you like most people these days, and just take God's love for granted ? Yes, most people today are basking in the sunshine of God's love, and yet they refuse to respond to that love, by showing their appreciation for it. And they are trampling underfoot the love, mercy, and grace of God, which was manifested in the sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary's cross. Sinner friend, the substitutionary death of God's Son was the manifestation of God's great heart of love, and that's what makes it such a terrible response, when the hearts of mankind have been turned away from that love.
The third thing I want you to notice about our text, is the CAUSE of God's salvation. WHY is salvation necessary? Well, our text says that "God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners." Ah yes, my friend, there's the underlying CAUSE for the entire plan of salvation. It was absolutely necessary in order to save sinners, and we're all sinners. In Romans 3:23 we read, "For ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." No, I'm no better than you, and you're no better than me. But isn't it nice to know that in I Timothy 1:15, we read that "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." Again, in Luke 5:32, the Lord said "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Then later, in Luke 19:10, God's Son, said that He came "to seek and to save that which was lost."
So that's it friend, the only people who can be saved; the only people who will respond favorably to the love of God; are spiritually-lost sinners. Sinners who realize that they ARE SINNERS, and who want to escape "the wages of sin", or eternal death and damnation. I've met quite a few people down through the years who claim to be saved, yet they never recall ever being spiritually lost, and subject to the condemnational wrath of a Holy God. Friend, I don't care how good a home you "were brought up in". I don't care how religious your background, environment, or heritage may be; you, as an individual sinner in God's sight, must be "saved", or "born again", if you ever expect to be in God's Heaven. No, my friend, your eternal destiny is not determined by how you were "brought up", but rather by how you were "brought down". Friend, if you have never humbled yourself before God, and acknowledged your sinnership in His sight, then you're still unsaved, and even now, today, you are under the condemnational wrath of a Holy God. Yes, and according to John 3:17,18, you're "condemned already".
Thus far, our text has revealed to us that SALVATION was CONCEIVED and COMMENDED by GOD; and was CAUSED by SIN. Then our text tells us about the fourth aspect, or the CHANNEL of salvation: "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, CHRIST died for us." Friend, without CHRIST, there would be no salvation for the soul; there would be no Gospel; there would be no day of Grace; BUT, we can thank God that we're told in Romans 5:20 , "But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." And so God provided His only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ; the One that John the Baptist, in John 1:29, tells us to "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."
And furthermore, God's Son didn't need our help to provide our soul's salvation; no, He did it all by Himself. In Hebrews 1:3, we read that the Lord Jesus Christ, "by HIMSELF, purged our sins and sat down at the right hand of God." We're also told by the Lord Jesus Christ, in John 10:9, "I am the door: by ME if any man enter in, he shall be saved." Later on, in John 14:6, He declares, "I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH, THE LIFE, no man cometh unto the Father BUT BY ME." Now friend, that makes it very clear that God's only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and ONLY the Lord Jesus Christ, is the means of entering into God's Heaven; and it is utterly impossible for anyone to reach Heaven, apart from having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Acts 4:12, the Apostle Peter declares, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." And friend, that's the reason I've been a radio evangelist since March 4,1956. Furthermore, I've never deviated from preaching the God-given fact that faith in the crucifixion, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ is the ONLY WAY into the glories of Heaven. No, and I'm not here to exalt a preacher, a philosophy, a church denomination, or a religion; but rather, I'm here to exalt the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who was God manifest in flesh. And my motive for doing so, for all these years, with the imperative help of the Holy Spirit and word of God, is to present the claims of God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the ONLY SAVIOUR for sinful men, women, boys, and girls. Tell me, friend, is He your Saviour too? If not, why not ?
That leads us to the fifth significant aspect of salvation, as revealed in our text, and that is the COST of our salvation, "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Even in the prophecy of Isaiah, written over 700 years before Jesus Christ was born, we read in Chapter 53, verse 5, "He was wounded for OUR transgressions, He was bruised for OUR iniquities: the chastisement of OUR peace was upon Him; and with His stripes WE are healed." The Apostle Peter reminds us in I Peter 2:21, "Christ also suffered for US"; then 3 verses later on we read concerning God's Son, "Who His own self bare OUR sins in His own body on the tree." Again, in I Peter 3:18, we're told, "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the UNJUST, that He might bring US to God."
Friend, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who was God expressed in human form, was OUR Substitute, and OUR Sinless Sacrifice. Yes, and we're told in II Corinthians 5:21, that God hath made His Son, Who knew no sin, to be sin for US, so the WE might be made the righteousness of God in Him. And as I've often said, "The Lord Jesus Christ paid a debt He didn't owe, for US who owed a debt WE couldn't pay !" Furthermore, if I live to be 100 years old, I'll never be able to comprehend, with my mere finite mind, how God could love such a rebel creature like me, that He would send His well-beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for my sins. It's a marvel of sovereign grace, mercy, and divine love, for which I'll be forever grateful. Yes, and I can say like the Apostle Paul in II Corinthians 9:15, "THANKS be unto God for His unspeakable GIFT."
Much more could be written about the COST of our salvation, but let's look briefly at the sixth aspect of God's great salvation, and that is the CURE for our sinful condition, as mentioned in the second verse of our text, "Much more then, being now justified by His blood," Friend, the COST and the CURE go together, because when the Lord Jesus Christ "died for us", He was shedding His precious life's BLOOD, without which there can be no remission, or forgiveness, of our sins. And as I mentioned previously in this message, it was God Who CONCEIVED the COST of our soul's salvation. Furthermore, if it was man's decision to devise a means of salvation, he would likely suggest the adherence to certain "spiritual laws", observing certain religious rituals, practicing moral activities, or so-called "good works", but he would never suggest the shedding of innocent BLOOD. However, we have the promise of God, in I John 1:7, that "the BLOOD of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin."
Friend, the only thing I'm depending upon, to take me into God's Heaven, is the value and virtue of the precious blood that flowed from the body of the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary's cross. How about you ? What are you depending upon to get to Heaven? If it is anything, or anyone, apart from the BLOOD of the Lord Jesus Christ, then I warn you, in love for your soul, that you're on the broad and crowded road that inevitably leads to Hell, and the ultimate Lake of Fire.
In this portion of our text, which we're considering now, we notice that we are "JUSTIFIED BY HIS BLOOD." Now, that's what I call a CURE ! Why? Because the word "JUSTIFIED" means that, in God's sight, we are cleared of all guilt, as though we had never sinned at all. In Romans 4:25; 5:1, we read concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, "Who was delivered for OUR offences and was raised again for OUR JUSTIFICATION. Therefore being JUSTIFIED by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." I also like what the Apostle Paul declared in Acts 13:38,39, "Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by Him all that believe are JUSTIFIED from all things, from which ye could not be JUSTIFIED by the law of Moses." Again, in Galatians 3:24, we're reminded that we are "JUSTIFIED BY FAITH."
Now, let's look at the final words of promise, as found in the last portion of Romans 5:9, "we shall be saved from wrath through Him." Friend, the CONSEQUENCES of rejecting God's salvation, through faith in His Son, is to suffer God's WRATH for all eternity. But the Lord reminds us in John 3:17, "For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be SAVED." Again, in John 12:47, the Lord Jesus Christ declared, "I came not to judge the world, but to SAVE the world." And the Apostle Paul tells us in I Timothy 2:4, that God "would have all men to be SAVED, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." We also read these words in I Thessalonians 5:9, which further define the divine will of a loving God, "For God hath not appointed us to WRATH, but to obtain SALVATION by our Lord Jesus Christ." Friend, if you don't get SAVED, before you die, or before the Lord comes again, you'll have no one to blame but yourself, when you end up in the place that Jesus Christ called "HELL".
Now, I know that most people don't like to hear, or read, about the WRATH of GOD, but I must be faithful, and tell you that if you don't accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, then you'll have to suffer the CONSEQUENCES, which is the WRATH of GOD. Furthermore, everyone reading this message today is mentioned in a very solemn, yet definitive, verse of Scripture, John 3:36. There we read, "He that BELIEVETH on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that BELIEVETH NOT the Son shall not see life; BUT THE WRATH OF GOD ABIDETH ON HIM." Friend, in which part of that verse are you? Will you trust in the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved, and have EVERLASTING LIFE, or will you continue rejecting Him, remain unsaved, and be the recipient, or object, of EVERLASTING WRATH ?
Well friend, the decision is entirely up to you. God has done all that He can. The Lord Jesus Christ has done all that He can. The Holy Spirit, through God's Word, has done all that He can. And I've done all that I can. If I could save your soul, I would do so, because I don't want you to suffer the WRATH of God in the flames of Hell forever. However, whether you realize it or not, you are making a decision today that may be your last decision, FOR or AGAINST the Lord Jesus Christ. Which shall it be ?
Friend, with conditions as they are in the world today, it can't be long till the day of God's grace comes to an end, and the opportunity for you to be saved, will have ceased to exist. Every indication in the world today, points to the soon-return of the Lord Jesus Christ. And when He comes, if you're still unsaved, your soul will be doomed to eternal WRATH. Remember what we read in Joel 3:14, "Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision; for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision." In II Corinthians 6:2, we read, "Behold, NOW is the accepted time; Behold, NOW is the day of salvation." Yes, time is running out, and today's date may be on your tombstone as the date of your death. Friend, as far as salvation is concerned, please don't procrastinate, or "put it off" for a "more convenient season." I believe that there are millions, or perhaps billions, of souls in Hell today, who had expected to get saved "someday". Friend, please don't join them. No, trust in the Lord Jesus Christ NOW!
In closing, I plead with the reader of this Gospel Message, to do the following:
Finally, to those of you who are still unsaved, I plead with you, in love for your soul, and in view of eternity, to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your own and personal Saviour. And friend, if you do, according to God, Who cannot lie, you'll be SAVED, not only for time, but you'll be SAVED for all eternity. AND REMEMBER, MY FRIEND, THIS IS FOR ETERNITY!
Evangelist: Minor C. Hawk