Salvation Salvation From an Untoward Generation
Salvation From Ignorance Salvation From a Condemning Heart
Salvation From Sin's Bondage Salvation From Death of Fellowship
Salvation From Sin's Corruption Salvation From Sin's Condemnation
Providential Salvation  


This is the first in a series of essays on the subject of salvation.  The word, save, means "to deliver, to make or keep safe, to preserve."  In all but a couple of times in the new testament the word is used as a verb or a preposition.

To understand the subject of salvation there are a few rules we must follow:

1. First, we must know what we are being delivered from or what we are being delivered to. For instance, if I say, "I am saved." That statement begs the question, "What am I saved from?" or "What am I saved to?" Without knowing the "from" or "to" the statement loses meaning.

2. Second, we must know the context in which it is used. Most often the context defines the meaning and application of words.

3. Third, we need to know what brings about the salvation. For instance is the salvation brought about by my actions or works, or is the salvation brought about solely by the actions or works of God and we are the recipients of that salvation by the grace of God? To illustrate the above, someone cried out "Lord, save me." Without any more information we don't know if the person was concerned with the condition of his soul or if he was concerned with the immediate surrounding conditions. As it turns out, Peter was walking on water to go to Jesus. When he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. Peter was concerned with the immediate surrounding conditions and was crying out for the Lord to save him from drowning. He was not at that time occupied with thoughts of where he would spend eternity.

There are two categories of salvation taught in the scriptures. There is the category that deals with our eternal salvation, i.e., our salvation from the condemning effects of sin, our salvation from being dead in trespasses and sins, and our salvation into heaven's glory world. All aspects of our eternal salvation we find is brought about by God's grace and is not by the works or actions of man.

The second category deals with the many timely deliverances God's people can and do experience in our timely stay upon earth. Included in this category are deliverances from ignorance, from vain worship, from the pitfalls of life, from going about to establish our own righteousness, from this untoward generation, etc. In this category certain works or actions are generally required by the child of God to bring about the deliverance.

2 Tim. 2:10 illustrates these two categories of salvation: "Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory." The verse indicates with the words, "also" and "with," that these are two categories of salvation taught in the scripture.

One category as we have discussed pertains to eternal glory. The elect in this verse already have eternal glory due to the work and actions of God and by his grace. The second category of salvation is conditioned on the elect performing some work or action in order to obtain the timely salvation. This is a conditional salvation. The elect may or may not obtain this salvation based on whether or not they fulfill the conditions prescribed. The eternal glory is an unconditional salvation. God has and will perform every thing necessary for the elect to obtain eternal glory.

Next one must already have been saved from the condemnation of sin and from being dead in trespasses and sins before he can experience the timely category of salvation. Phil. 2:12, 13 illustrates this principle: "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of his own good pleasure." Thus we see that before we can work out our timely salvation God must first have performed a work in us that gives us both a desire (to will) toward God and his service and an ability (to do) to perform the service of God."   Therefore, we have to be saved eternally in order that we might experience timely salvation.

Salvation From an Untoward Generation

In this essay we continue a study of timely deliverance (salvation) as  we look at the exhortation in Acts 2:40, "And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation." It is only those who have been called of God that can save themselves from this "untoward generation." According to Rom. 3:17 the unregenerate (those not born again) know not the way of peace. Likewise in Eph. 2:2, 3 we are told that before we are born again we "walked according to the course of this world" and "had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of our flesh and mind." It is only after the miracle of the new birth that we can "save ourselves from this untoward generation."

The Greek word for untoward is "skolios" meaning crooked or curved in contrast to that which is straight. John describes for us this "untoward generation" in the admonition of I John 2:15, 16, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." James says in James 4:4, "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." Thus we conclude that the course of this world is to satiate self with the fleshly lusts. That is to live a lifestyle seeking to satisfy the fleshly desires.

There are two ways that are set forth for us that we can choose to travel in this life. There is the broad way that most people travel and there is the narrow way of discipleship that a few travel. Matt. 7:13, 14 describes these ways for us thusly: "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate and narrow is the way, which leadeth to life, and few there be which find it." For a child of God to travel the road of life living a lifestyle to satisfy the fleshly lust is to travel the road that leads to destruction.

Destruction can come in many forms a few of which are:

1. Broken marriages, broken relationships, broken fellowship, and broken promises.
2. A lifetime of despair, despondency, and depression.
3. A lifetime of dependency brought on by addiction to drugs and alcohol and other addictive substances and practices.
4. Loneliness.
5. Bondage to the false ideas and false teachings of false prophets.
6. Lives, ours and others, destroyed by lustful action.
7. Wasted opportunities to worship and serve God with the talents God has given us.
8. Guilt ridden lives often coupled with mental illness.

Those who travel the broad way of destruction usually do so because of  the promises of fleshly gratification (lust of flesh, lust of eyes, pride of life) only to find out later in life how "empty" those promises really were.

The other way set forth for us to travel is the "narrow" way of discipleship or "way of peace also known as the "highway of holiness." We are admonished in Rom. 12:1, 2, "I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service, And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." The travelers along the "highway of holiness" find that they experience a life of inner peace, rest, comfort, fellowship with God, true spiritual joy, friendship with God and God's obedient people, help in time of trouble, growth in the knowledge of God's word, strength during the time of adversity, consolation in time of loss, etc. Thus this way leads unto the deep, full spiritual life in God's kingdom.

We save ourselves by initially and continually committing ourselves to the worship and service of God in his kingdom church and to being disciples of Jesus Christ by studying his word and by being doers of his word and by mortifying the deeds of the flesh through purging out the old fleshly ways and replacing them with the way of holiness and godliness.

Thus we should all strive to enter in at the strait gate and walk the narrow way which leads to this rich spiritual kingdom life.

Salvation From Ignorance

In our previous essays we have considered how God has saved us from the condemnation of sin, from the bondage of sin, and from the corruption of sin. These make up our eternal salvation which according to the scriptures are by the grace of God and not by the works of the creature. In this essay we will begin to look at our timely salvation. That there are two types of salvation taught in the scriptures is plainly set forth in II Tim. 2:10, "Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory." Thus "the elect" already have "eternal glory" and Paul desired they would have another salvation, for which he endured "all things" for their sake.

One aspect of timely salvation is deliverance from ignorance and working to "get right" with God. Paul prayed for a people in Romans chapter 10 who were ignorant of God's righteousness and going about trying to establish their own righteousness. In other words, they were trying thru their efforts to "get right" with God. That such effort is futile is evidenced by the fact that salvation from sin is by the grace of God. They, however, according to their ignorance thought they could do something that would put them in judicial favor with a just and holy God.

Please note that no one tries to get right with God who hasn't first felt the conviction of sin in his heart. A person who wants to get right with God does so, because he has been convicted in his heart of sin. Next, no one has felt conviction of sin in his heart until God has first written his laws in his heart. Without law there can be no conviction of sin. God writes his laws in our heart when we are born again (born spiritually). Jesus died and redeemed all, who are born again, from the condemnation of sin. The born again person being convicted by the laws of God written in his heart will try to alleviate his heartfelt conviction of sin by trying to get right with God. At this point in time he is ignorant of the "righteousness of God," i.e., that Christ thru his sufferings and death on the cross redeemed him and made him right with God. He in his ignorance goes about trying to do
something to get right with God.

In Matt. 11:28 the Lord said, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heave laden, and I will give you rest." The born again but convicted child of God labors trying to establish his own righteousness all the while he is heavy laden with a burden of sin guiltiness. What can save this individual from the predicament he is in? Well the answer is "coming to Jesus" to see that he is "the end (fulfillment) of the law for righteousness." When we see that Jesus has made us righteous before  God then we will stop all our efforts in trying to get right with God.  The true gospel brings this knowledge to the laboring sin burdened child of God. II Tim. 1:10 declares the gospel purpose as follows: "But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." The gospel brings life and immortality to light! It declares what Jesus has done for us and how we are made righteous thru his sacrificial atonement.

The gospel does not give life, but it brings that life that God has already given us (of which we were before ignorant) to light or knowledge. Therefore when the born again child of God who is burdened with sin guiltiness and trying to get right with God hears and believes that Jesus died to deliver him from his sins and that he is thus made right with God, he is then saved from his ignorance and from his fruitless attempts to get right with God. Many of God's born again people are today still in their ignorance trying to get right with God.

Let us have the same concern and prayer for them that Paul expressed in Rom. 10:1, "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved." Isaiah 40:1,2 illustrates the purpose of the gospel in saving God's people from ignorance and effort in trying to get right with God: "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished; that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins." Many of God's people today are fighting a warfare in trying to get right with God when the war is already won for them by the Lord, they just don't know it. The gospel, however, brings this knowledge to them.  It is indeed a great comfort and load removed from our heart when wecome to believe that Jesus has redeemed us from our sins by his sacrificial atonement and by the grace of God. It removes the load of sin guiltiness from our heart and delivers us from a fruitless effort of trying to get right with God.

Salvation From a Condemning Heart

In this essay we will continue to look at our timely salvation. That there are two types of salvation taught in the scriptures is plainly set forth in II Tim. 2:10, "Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory." Thus "the elect" already have "eternal glory" and Paul desired they would have another salvation, for which he endured "all things" for their sake. We will now consider how the elect are saved from a condemning heart and into the service of God.

When we are born again God writes his laws in our heart and mind (Heb. 8:10; II Cor. 3:3; Heb. 10:16; Rom. 2:15), sprinkles our heart from an evil conscience (Heb. 10:22), and sets up a courtroom in our heart and mind (Rom. 2:15; 1 John 3:21, 22). In this courtroom we are convicted in our hearts as sinners under the wrathful judgment of God as the following examples illustrate:

1. Isa. 6:5 "Then said I, Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts."

2. Luke 18:13 "And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner."

3. Rom. 7:24 "O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"

Thus, as the above scriptures illustrate, when we see ourselves in light of God's laws and the justice and holiness of God, that we then begin to see ourselves as poor ruined sinners worthy of God's wrath being executed upon us. The question before us is "How are we delivered (saved) from our condemning heart?" The answer is given to us in Mk.16:15, 16, "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." Thus, without doubt, there is a salvation in the preaching of the gospel, believing the gospel, and being baptized."

I Pet. 3:21 describes this salvation to us as follows: "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ."

Peter points out to us that the salvation in baptism is "not" the putting away of the filth of the flesh. The filth of the flesh is sin. Sin is not put away by water baptism. Sin is put away by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Baptism is a figure of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Peter also points out to us that the salvation in water baptism is "the answer of a good conscience toward God." I have always been taught that if you have an answer then you must have first had a question. The question is a two part question. First, do you as a sinner, believe that Jesus died on the cross to deliver you from your sins and that when he arose that proved you are justified? The second part of this question is that since Jesus died to redeem you from your sins are you going to serve him as his disciple and enter into that service thru water baptism?

Thus belief of the gospel message and being "baptized in water serves to deliver (save) you from a condemning heart. The gospel message assures you that Jesus delivered you from the wrathful judgment of God and thus assuages the condemning heart. Likewise, water baptism assuages the heart that would condemn us if/when we turn away from the service of God.

The above principles are illustrated for us in Isa. 6:6 8. As you will recall from above that Isaiah in v.5 had seen himself in a state of condemnation and woe. Verses 6 and 7 tell us how that God had taken care of the problem that plagued Isaiah's heart: "Then flew one of the seraphim unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from off the altar: and he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged." In the typical language above, if in place of the "seraphim" we inserted the gospel preacher and in place of the "live coal" we inserted Jesus' suffering and death on the cross, then we have the gospel message that brings such comfort to a sin plagued heart. Next, in v.8 we see the call to service and response of Isaiah: "Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me." This is typical of the call to service in the gospel and ones response to that call by being baptized in water. Thus it is the answer of a good conscience towards God.

Thus the salvation from a condemning heart requires the preaching of the gospel; belief of the gospel; repentance; i.e., turning from any false belief system or evil works in our lives; and baptism. This salvation requires us as born again children of God to perform the above works if we are to experience this salvation from a condemning conscience and salvation into the service of God in his kingdom. Unlike our eternal salvation which is by grace and without our works, this timely salvation is brought about in part by the works God has given us to maintain.

Salvation From Death of Fellowship

In this essay we will consider another aspect of our timely salvation which is deliverance from being dead to fellowship with God. One of the chief joys of a child of God is to have fellowship with God. Fellowship is defined as "sharing in common." Amos brings to our attention the requirement for fellowship when he asked the question in Amos 3:3, "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" The answer is implied that we must be agreed together in order to have fellowship one with another. In order for us to have fellowship with God we must agree with God. This agreement is on God's terms and not on ours. God does not change (nor does truth) in order that we may have fellowship with him. Anytime that change is required, it is required of us! This requirement for fellowship is further set forth in 1 John 1:5 7, "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." Thus to have fellowship with God and to have true Christian fellowship with one another we must walk in the light of God's revealed truth.

Only God's born again children can have fellowship with God. According to Rom. 8:7, 8, "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." A person who has not been born spiritually is "in the flesh" and thus has only a carnal (fleshy) mind. This type of individual cannot please God and thus can have no fellowship with God. Also this type of person cannot understand spiritual things (Rom. 3:11; 1 Cor. 2:14), or seek after God (Rom. 3:11), or do good (Rom. 3:12, or know the way of peace (Rom. 3:17), or fear God (Rom. 3:18). Thus he is incapable of walking with God. It is only after we are born spiritually that we can understand spiritual things, do good, seek after God, know the way of peace, and fear God. Thus, we who are born again are the only ones capable of having fellowship with God.

Many times God's born again children do not have fellowship with him. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave, this was not only typical of the resurrection, but it was also typical of the new birth when we are quickened from being dead in trespasses and sins. When Lazarus came forth from the grave he had grave clothes on. Jesus commanded to loose him and let him go. When we are born of the Spirit we are still possessors of grave clothes, i.e., our habits and lifestyle. These must be changed if we are to have fellowship with God. Thus repentance is required for God's children to have fellowship with God.

With many of God's children, they experience fellowship with God and then die to that fellowship. In James 5:19, 20 we are told, "Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." James refers to brethren erring from the truth and if they continue in that error they would die. This is a death to fellowship.

Luke 15:11 32 addresses dying to the fellowship of God and being saved from that death. In this passage the younger of the two sons had requested that his Father divide the inheritance. Upon receiving his portion the younger son took his journey into a far country and wasted his substance with riotous living. That youngest son when he was in a far country wasting his substance with riotous living was dead to the fellowship of his Father and to his elder brother. After he had repented and come back he was restored to fellowship with his Father. His relationship with his Father never changed. He was his Father's son before he left, after he left, and when he returned. Likewise our relationship with God does not change. We are his children regardless of our status of fellowship. When the younger son had returned the Father declared, "For this my son was dead; and is alive again, he was lost, and is found." Later he explained to the elder brother, "for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found." The essential requirement for the younger son who was dead to the fellowship of his Father and elder brother was to repent. While the providential hand of God was present in leading him to repent, yet "he" had to repent to be saved from death to fellowship.

How we live our lives and what we believe are essentials in having fellowship with God. II Cor. 6:14 18 declares to us, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hat he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hat the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."

In conclusion repentance saves us from the death of fellowship with God. Living godly lives and believing the truth brings us into fellowship with God.

Salvation From Sin's Bondage Salvation From Death of Fellowship
Salvation From Sin's Corruption Salvation From Sin's Condemnation
Providential Salvation